For best results with mobile SEO, it’s important to understand how and why people search on mobile. According to a 2012 study, many of the most popular search terms involve either social media or location-based businesses. Mobile searches are usually timely and specific – requiring a quick solution to a question or a query. In 2013, I expect to see a continued shift towards social SEO due to Google’s latest search algorithm updates and Facebook’s recent introduction of Graph Search. In addition to local and task-specific searches, people look to their mobile devices for entertainment, oftentimes through social media channels.
In this article, I will examine 5 important things to concider for your mobile SEO strategy to help you keep your brand or business ranking well in mobile search results.
Social Media on Mobile
Social media use on mobile devices has increased considerably in the past year. Neilsen’s Q3 2012 study shows that overall social media usage in the US has increased 37% since 2011, and that mobile devices account for 67% of this growth. People spend more time on social media on their mobile devices, and social media posts, especially those that are liked and shared, receive higher visibility in Google’s search results.
This means that businesses should provide mobile-friendly versions of pages and posts shared on social media. Keep in mind that people look to social media apps on mobile for entertainment, so mobile-friendly content that is entertaining, useful, or engaging is likely to draw the most social media traffic.
Incorporating Like and Share Buttons
It’s helpful to include like and share buttons on your pages and posts – this makes it easy for visitors to your mobile site to connect with you. Shared and liked pages also earn better search results and can be considered a form of ‘link earning’. As far as mobile site design, sites and campaigns that are optimised for mobile devices receive 11.5% higher click through rates. One key aspect of mobile site optimization is creating easy to read and push buttons for touch screen devices. ‘Like’ and ‘share’ buttons on a mobile site should be simple to find and use on a mobile device.
On the topic of mobile site optimization, there are a few important things to keep in mind for your mobile site architecture. Content should be brief, direct, and CTA oriented. If a user finds your site with the purpose of acheiving a specific goal, you want to make it as easy as possible for them – whether it’s finding their way to your business, making an online purchase, or simply finding content.
By understanding what mobile users hope to acheive with your site, you can design a much better mobile experience geared towards these goals. Try to include secondary CTA’s such as social media connects or requesting a review/rating in places where it makes sense for the user on your site – that might not be until after the user has found content or acheived their goal.
Provide Location Information around the Web
Location is a big part of mobile search – especially for smartphone users. A brick and mortar business should make sure their information is correct on major mobile search pages such as Google Places, Yelp, Foursquare, and Facebook to ensure that local users can easily find them on their devices.
If your business is not location based, it’s still a good idea to provide contact information such as a phone number on these pages. This information is considered an address citation, and the more quality citations you can establish, the easier you will be to reach via search engines.
Encourage Further Engagement On-Site
Encourage check-ins, reviews, ratings and likes on location sites to increase your search engine visibility. If you run a brick and mortar business, you can put up signs or notices to remind users to check in. Sites like Foursquare and Yelp have ways to provide coupons and rewards, which can not only entice customers through the door, but can also encourage customers to check in and share your business. Both number of ratings and their value factor into search algorithms.
Even if your business does not take walk-in customers, it’s still a good idea to encourage reviews and ratings. For whatever product or service you provide, the more people rate and review your company’s product, the higher it will rank for mobile searches.
When Facebook’s Graph Search gets unleashed to the public, Facebook likes are going to be even more important for SEO. The new search engine will allow users to find pages and businesses through their friends’ likes and check-ins.
The Keys to Mobile SEO in 2013 – Think Local and Think Social
Social and location-based approaches are going to be instrumental in Mobile SEO this year. You want to make sure your business is easy to find for mobile users on-the-go. Once they find you, provide them with a mobile platform that is easy to use to improve your mobile bounce rate – the longer you can keep a user engaged, the more likely they are to rate and review your site, providing another valuable earned link.
By understanding why mobile users would search for you, you can create a strong CTA that makes it easy for them to acheive their goals – and for you to earn their business.
What have you done to cater to mobile users? Are you working to improve your local listings?