SEO Considerations for the Onslaught of Mobile Web

As the mobile web is snatching visitors from its desktop counterpart, SEO has been steadily losing uniformity.

All through 2015, SEO has been anything but uniform. I have come across several brands with two sets of strategies – one set for the desktop version and another for the mobile version.

Is this the future of SEO? Or will we get to see some integration in 2016? What will be the role of mobile apps in this? In this article, I search for all the answers. Stay attentive if these questions have popped up in your mind as well.

Grown, not growing

Contrary to what the majority of marketers think, mobile web is not growing but has already grown; this is my observation, based on the following factors:

  • The traffic: Mobile web is already getting more traffic than desktop web, which implies the former has grown into adulthood. It was 2014, when mobile traffic exceeded the desktop traffic.
  • The distribution: Quite similar to desktop web, the mobile web is getting diverse traffic. Different people accessing different mobile sites amount to a noticeable distribution.
  • Media time: Mobile media time outruns desktop and other media times by miles. Below you can see how users have been spending time with digital media on handheld devices:

Mobile Marketing Insights

Source: http://www.smartinsights.com

Since mobile web is now fully grown, it’s justified on the part of digital marketers to show a readiness in crafting best marketing strategies for it. I am in complete agreement with them over this. The only thing that bugs me is their

Faulty approach

What marketers fail to understand is the difference between mobile web and the desktop web is currently on surface levels.

How do we do a search on the desktop web? Visit a search engine, type a query in the search box, and then press enter.

Now, how do we search something on the mobile web? The same way.

There are differences, though. But such differences are superficial. The desktop screen is larger than the mobile screen. The mobile interface is more fluidic in comparison with the desktop interface, and it rests on users tapping on icons unlike desktop icons, which are being clicked by users.

Mobile SEO Considerations

The differences are only peripheral. So should be a marketer’s approach. He only needs to take care of the following areas:

  • Loading time: Mobile sites load a bit slow. Since users access those sites on-the-go, patience is the last thing you can expect from them. The result? They skip the slow loading sites. This article published on KissMetrics provide all the stats you need to know.
  • Screen-resolution: Mobile screens are of low resolution, which accounts for an abortive user experience, and thereby hinders a site from getting scores of visitors.
  • Mobile typography: I’ll discuss it with more details some other time. For now, all you need to know is typography is way more important for mobile devices than desktop devices.

Are that all? In a way, yes. When the differences are only on the surface, simple tweaks are enough. As most marketers address mobile marketing with a wrong approach, they end up wasting money. They go for AdMob and other expensive workarounds, which don’t do them any good.

Mobile app marketing

The similarities between mobile and the desktop web disappear as soon as we enter the mobile app world. The similarities between the mobile web and mobile apps are hard to spot, and between the desktop web and mobile apps, there’s none. On his Whiteboard Friday, SEO guru Rand Fishkin has listed down some unique characteristics of mobile apps, which are not shared by the mobile web.

Referring to stat sheets issued by Comscore and Forrester, Fishkin pointed out the intrinsic qualities of apps. Users don’t follow referrals; they directly tap app icons. Link builders shouldn’t bank on them because they don’t send much traffic to other sites – maybe because the screen being low-contrast and small impedes users from spotting the hyperlinked areas – Fishkin didn’t delve deeper.

The most significant observation is only the top twenty-five to fifty apps account for the majority (80-90%) of mobile traffic. A run of the mill app cannot cater to the needs of a distributed audiences. You can hire high-paid app developers and have exciting apps developed by them. But you’ll never know whether or not users will like those apps. If they don’t like them, you couldn’t do marketing around them.

Integration on the cards?

Two separate platforms merged into one can save digital marketers money and efforts. It can also give them access to what they desperately seek for- traffic. 

Google has been working on mobile searching for a long time. Among all the rumored features, one will take mobile searchers to mobile apps. For example, someone searching “CFL Lamps” on this mobile device will get to see a business app of a company, which manufactures CFL lamps.

Simply put, mobile searches will be app-driven.

Google hasn’t officially admitted this, so we can’t take this speculation any further, but even if a feature such as this arrives, a mobile marketer still needs to get his app coming in top search engine ranking, for which he’d have to work on his app a lot.

As it turns out

For now, you need to proceed with three sets of strategies – one for the desktop web, one for the mobile web, and one for mobile apps, and all the while, wait for new features, which will connect all the three of them and help you to streamline your marketing activities.

What do you think of the mobile marketing workarounds for better SEO? Do you want to add anything? Let us know in the comment section.

About Supriyo Das

Supriyo Das is a thinker and a doer, he writes on several areas including online marketing, internet of things, cloud computing, etc. When not working, he plays shootout games. To connect to him, add him on Google+ and on LinkedIn

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