Mobile SEO: Considering your Mobile Web Strategy
Mobile web access is growing by leaps and bounds each year. If you are not paying attention to your mobile web traffic, you probably should be. Mobile web visitors tend to be the most motivated and dedicated shoppers, searchers and brand evangelists.
There are a lot of different ways to create a mobile-friendly user experience on your website, but there are five basic options:
- Do nothing – Some sites work well on mobile phones without much work
- Create mobile/traditional hybrid pages (Option 1 below)– Add a ‘handheld’ mobile stylesheet to re-format the existing pages to display better on mobile phones
- Create mobile-specific pages- (Option 2 below)These are separate pages that are designed specifically for viewing on a mobile device
- Dynamic content delivery – Use a device aware content management system that detects and adapts the content it serves based on the device accessing it.
The method that you choose for creating your mobile site will depend on the type of content that you are serving and the development resources that you have available. In the mobile world, the advantage you get in from spending more time and money generally yields a more predictable and adaptable user experience across a higher number of phones. The problem is that there are a so many phones available that it can be hard to predict, test or know that your site will work well across all of them. When you add in the possibility of different mobile browsers, carriers and phone settings, it becomes almost impossible.
With mobile development, there is always a point of diminishing returns. If you are being purely pragmatic, and ROI driven, there is always a point where you can spend more and more time and money, improving the user experience to perfection, but the improvements become so specific and niche that they have only a minor impact on the ability of the site to drive revenue.
That said, you must remember that most mobile visitors will not understand how complex this can actually be to build a mobile site that works well on all phones, and they will have no sympathy. Believe it or not, many visitors to your mobile site will not know the difference between a mobile website and a mobile application. As more and more companies start to replicate their websites in app-form, you can start to understand why. The blurring of this distinction is actually changing the expectations of mobile users, when it comes to mobile sites; users actually expect mobile websites to look and behave like apps. This can be a mixed blessing for your web development team.