The race for domination of the mobile eye-ball is on, and its picking up pace. The question is are you leading this race, or are you unaware it’s even begun?
More and more, we as consumers of data (the internet, social media and online shopping) are spending much more time on our mobile devices than ever before. Although tablets form part of this mobile mix of devices, they only make up for a small fraction. The mobile devices I’m referring to are our mobile phones or smartphones. Be it an Android device, an iOS device or a Windows device, we spend more time on these things than we do on a desktop.
Recent results out by Google shows that nearly 60% of all Google searches are done from a mobile device (smartphone). When we spend time on Social Media, we do so from a mobile device, and when we do our shopping online, it’s now being done more and more from a mobile device.
What does this mean and why does it matter?
Well on the one hand we as users of mobile devices need to understand how we are behaving and how brands are having to shift and rethink more strategically about how they reach us, what our behaviours are and how they better target us. But as Marketers, we need to be aware of how our users are changing their online browsing habits and how we need to realign our marketing activities if we ever hope to remain relevant to our consumers as their mobile journey evolves.
What do we need to know about Mobile SEO and how do we optimise for the smartphone user?
To be relevant to the mobile user today, we need to understand the journey this user is taking. Firstly, we need to understand that search is only part of the activity that users are engaging on their mobile device. Remember there is still social media activity and shopping to contend with. But let’s focus on Search for now.
In order to be relevant to this search mobile user, first off we need to appear in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) to be found – either organically or in the paid results.
But just being visible in the SERPs is no longer sufficient.
1.Relevance is key
We need to be relevant to the query that the user has put into the search engine. This query is no longer just a typed query; it’s also no longer just a series of mindless keywords stuffed into the search box on Google. Google has reported that, as much as 20% of all searches done these days from a mobile device are voice searches, and contain mostly questions. This means, that your attempt to appear in the SERPs needs to be more relevant to answering these queries, and to a large extent needs to include the questions the user is asking Google. You need to be the best possible answer to their question.
2.Compel the user
Next your results in the SERPs need to be enticing enough to compel the user to click through your listing (again either organic or paid). How are you promising to address their immediate need? And why should they pick you?
3.Consistency will keep your user engaged
Once the user has clicked through, it’s all about the continuation of the journey. Is what they see when they land on this page (the result of what they expected before they clicked on the result in Google) in alignment with their expectation, or is it vastly different. How is it displayed? How is the content and information laid out? Does the information address their needs, and if so, how quickly?
4.Simplicity leads to conversions
Have you made the journey for the user simple enough to figure out? Have you preempted their next move? Are there simple calls to action (CTAs) guiding them along a journey path? Or have you just sent them to a ‘brag’ sheet boasting how wonderful you are?
Has the website and its various web pages been designed for mobile, or is it just a desktop site that’s been ‘forced’ and ‘squeezed’ into a phone with no actual thought given to the mobile user experience? If so, you are bound to lose the user before they complete the task you’ve set out for them. Mobile optimization is crucial if you are going to retain the mobile user. Merely having a desktop site built with a responsive theme is no longer sufficient. Consider what content to exclude from the mobile experience. Lengthy navigations that are supplied on desktop sites don’t necessarily need to be copied across to the mobile version.
Is mobile optimisation a different strategy?
As the world of digital evolves more towards mobile browsing, careful consideration needs to be given to your digital marketing strategy. It’s no longer a ‘one size fits all’ approach between your desktop and mobile activities and channels. Although you don’t need two different websites to address both the mobile and desktop user, you do however need to cleverly craft a different user journey between the two alternatives, thereby ensuring the required objectives are met across the various platforms, and that both the desktop and mobile experience are optimized accordingly.
Consider the mental models (users preconditioned expectation) and the various need states that your user might be in as they embark on an online exploration via their mobile device. Consider their needs, their objectives, and how best to serve them. Work out which content to present them with, and what information might no longer be relevant, or might in fact be overwhelming, and leave that for them to find on your desktop site.
Mobile is advancing, and so are your users. As they become more au fait with this technology, make sure you and your brand don’t get left out of the mobile race. Make sure you’ve optimized your mobile site for the best possible user experience, so that when they find you through a search query they stay around long enough to engage with your brand, and hopefully convert into a customer.
Should you require any assistance with your Mobile SEO Strategy, feel free to reach out to us, and I’d be more than happy to consult with you as your mobile journey unfolds on firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Ceri G. James, CIO, BlueMagnet
Google Searches on Mobile & Voice Search Stats – Search Engine Land