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Thread: Mobile SEO

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    GaryTheScubaGuy's Avatar
    GaryTheScubaGuy is offline In Memorium, 1966-2018
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    Default Mobile SEO

    I wrote this yesterday for a company releasing it in an Affiliate Guide at an upcoming conference but thought I'd post it here for anyone curious about the Mobile market;
    I remember back in September of 2006 when they first released the .mobi domain extension (referred to as a TLD or top level domain). I even went and bought dozens of them after listening to the industry experts about how big it was going to be by 2008. So here we are almost half way through 2009 and it’s still low on most radars, and non-existent on regular search results. Although mobile searches and multimedia search engines report a triple growth year in 2007, and have penned 2009 as “the year of mobile search”, I still haven’t seen anything of significance. Neither have my clients...even the big ones that you would think would see an influx of new traffic to their mobile web compliant version like After all, there are three types of mobile users;

    The Need-It-Now Shopper – Whether pizza, ring tones or concert tickets these users need it so bad they can’t possibly wait to get to a PC or they may not even have one. These types epitomise the 21st century shopper.

    The Researcher – Taxi’s, restaurants, post boxes, weather, stocks, or the latest news, the Researcher looks at their mobile phone more than their own family. They use a mobile like most of us use a normal PC; to feed their information hunger.

    The Killing-Time User – Twitter, Facebook, online radios and music downloads, the hottest new topics, YouTube, television programs and other media are the strongest growth area in mobile phone usage. These types of users are on a train, at lunch or waiting for something to happen.
    Figuring out where you stand amongst these user-types could be your key to being very successful in the mobile world of online marketing. The fact is, the most recent figures cannot be ignored.
    According to the experts (in this case, there will be 844.9 worldwide mobile-search users in 2011, up from 219.2 million 2006. Mobile search ad revenue is projected to grow to 2.4 billion in 2008, up from 6.8 million in 2006.

    On the reverse side of the argument another factor to consider is that with the release of iPhone, G-Phone and 200+ other web-ready phones that do not require anything other than a normal website, do you actually need a mobile version of your site?
    My feeling is that with that kind of potential revenue, or even half that, as Affiliates we need to resource the limited time and money that it takes to become mobile web present and compliant.

    Mobile Search Optimisation?
    As there are ways to integrate various elements into your normal website that can increase your search engine ranking position, injecting SEO into your mobile site are available as well. The thing about mobile search and SEO is that optimisation is taken back to the late 90’s, when simple things like titles and meta tags worked like gold, and when there wasn’t much competition that knew what they were doing. Just following the basics can prove to be successful for many markets that have yet to embrace this new marketing opportunity.

    Unlike a normal website, the list of SEO techniques is short for the mobile landscape, so I’m going to break this into two sections; Technical and SEO elements of mobile websites.

    TLD – Don’t worry about using a .mobi, any TLD will do fine. (.com, .net, .de, .nl, etc.)
    Coding – It must be W3C compliant and must be 100% valid XHTML 1.0 code. ( This works with Google’s interface that delivers 6 results rather than 2 or 3 you would normally see displayed, but will also function on a cheap mobile phone interface. If you were ambitious you could make the site in valid XHTML (compatibility test at W3C), cHTML, imode, WML (compatibility test at and normal mark-up. Depending on your market you could show up multiple times in the same query. (there is no duplicate content penalty)

    Site Size - Keep the site down to as few pages as possible, like 3-6, of which one needs to be an engineered landing page for future endeavours like PPC or conversion testing

    Content – Unfortunately, the content needs to be 63 characters (give-or-take). Create linked snippets on each page if you need to get more that this into one page.

    Markup – Sorry no iFrames, no Flash, no redirects, no auto-refresh, no popups, no spacing graphics, no tables, no scrollbars (or minimum 1 if you must), no embedded objects or scripts. Use external css and if possible have your programmer load your mobile content from a database on the fly with device recognition. (Like a normal webpage delivering browser-compatible content to whatever phone the end-user is using) And lastly, provide caching information in HTTP responses.

    Metatxt – The new standard in mobile SEO that helps search engines find your site and classify it. This is similar to the description and keyword tags on a normal website.

    Mobi Testing - There are some pretty good sites that will turn your site into a mobile site;,,,, and perform a browser compatibility test.


    OnPage – This works the same as regular sites. Title tags that represent a specific keyword or keywords, H1 Tags that mirror those keywords, and content that includes the keywords are heavily weighed attributes. Be sure to match them up with the metatxt content.

    Local Search – Use locations in your metatxt and title if possible. Most mobile apps have a “Search Nearby”, especially the iPhone with 100’s of apps that utilise GPS location.

    Universal Search – Yes Universal Search is a big part of Google’s mobile algorithm. One of the most common uses for mobile is news, YouTube, Google Reader, Wikipedia and many others. These dominate the top spots on mobile search. In most cases they show up before web results as well. Optimise for content only available on mobile search; RSS feeds, images, video and news feeds (press releases) are the hot target right now.

    Local Search – If you are a brick-and-mortar business, get on Google Local, Yahoo! Local, Ask City, Live Search Maps, Yelp, Yellow, White Pages and any other directory, location or mapping service. These are already widely used on G-Phone, I-Phone and are sure to become a standard feature in the next-gen line of phones.

    Sitemaps – Create and submit separate xml sitemaps to Google and Yahoo just as you do for your normal website. Break them into sections; images, videos, PDF’s, etc.

    Internal Link Building – This works the same as a regular site. You can PR sculpt the important pages and emphasise keywords with internal anchor text (the linked words) that link to the important pages within your site, and that are optimised for those keywords.

    External Inbound Links – Think global or international when building links to your website. When optimising a normal website, SEO’s build links from similar domain extensions. So if you had, you would build links from other .es domains and Spanish language websites. In the mobile world any link is significant and can rapidly earn you top spots. Back links in mobile SEO help regardless of the domain extension.

    Optimising for iPhone
    iPhone’s only account for 1% of the overall sales in the mobile market, reporting just under 10 million units sold in 2008. Although this is a minute figure, I think that the compatibility standards set by Apple will soon become the norm, as they are cross-compatible with standard mobile phone as well as NextGen mobile phones. With that in mind here are a few tips for iPhones;

    ·Max. 10MB html size
    ·Limit Javascript to 5 seconds
    ·Limit Javascript allocations to 10MB
    ·Max. 8 documents due to page view limitations
    ·QuickTime is the preferred app for video and audio
    PPC – Pay Per Click
    PPC is probably one of the best tools the mobile marketer has, especially if you can participate in the Pay Per Call strategy offered by Google.
    This not only gets you to the top of Google’s mobile results page, (provided you have setup a mobile-only campaign in Google Adwords)it enables the end-user one-click access to call you and (with iPhone, G-phone and many others), get immediate directions to your business via Google Maps or a GPS enable app.

    Key factors;
    ·Be sure you have reduced your page terms down. Don’t use buffer terms like you would on normal web pages. Mispellings are more apparent in mobile because of tiny keyboards, big fingers and laziness than anywhere. Imagine typing on a tiny keyboard whilst on a train or walking. Reduce your titles and possible even build subpages for misspellings.

    ·Place CTA (call to action) pages one step from your landing page, or better yet make it the landing page. Navigation hurts when you’re mobile so the page that you want to show them should be the first page and no more than 1 extra click.
    ·Choose the right keywords. The more related they are to people on the move the better (e.g. casinos near [variable], hotels in [variable]). More importantly, the shorter the better. (casino [variable] and hotel [variable].

    ·USE IT! – If you spend the resources on building a mobile website, you need to spend a few quid/bucks/Euros on PPC. The cost is very minimal in most markets and you don’t need to be a whiz-kid. This will get you ranking high in many secondary mobile search engines as well and provide the traffic to determine if it’s worth investing additional resources.
    Although the mobile market hasn’t taken off, there are plenty of success stories out there that make you stop and wonder if this is something you should target more heavily. Just take a look at some of the hundreds of applications on iPhone. There are apps that locate and call the nearest cab, list the nearest restaurants or even give reviews on local hotels –all are based off of GPS location – now that’s cool!
    Twitter and other social networks (which are absolutely huge) have apps that show you who’s Twittering that has your interest and is located near you.

    With online dating becoming more acceptable every day, I can see a whole new method of 5-minute dating type sites springing up soon that are based on your location.

    Some retail stores have apps that allow you to input the bar code numbers to obtain prices, while grocery stores compile a running ‘tally’ while you shop so you can watch what you are spending (Watch out ladies!). Others are launching coupon schemes that allow you to display the coupon on-screen and effectively remit the coupon in store from your mobile (Watch out men!).

    If you are in real estate, think of the things that can be done with GPS and online apps; A potential buyer drives in a neighbourhood looking for homes and finds a few that look good from the outside. They go to your website from the information on the for sale sign, look at pictures or even a walk-through video and Shazam! - You have a prospect that was house shopping that Sunday you were off at the big game.

    I must admit, I am a gadget guy and the fact that mobile web didn’t take off was disappointing to say the least. But mark my words; it’s a hidden tiger getting ready to pounce.

    The current climate of the economy hasn’t done anything to help out our industry. In fact these days you have to work hard just to stand still. Taking advantage of every opportunity is important to remain successful.

    Take it from me; the researching-need-it-now SEO guy that’s killing time – on my iPhone.

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    sipka (25 April 2009)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryTheScubaGuy View Post

    Content – Unfortunately, the content needs to be 63 characters (give-or-take). Create linked snippets on each page if you need to get more that this into one page.
    Gary, many thanks for these tips, you rock
    I have a question about the sentence above: so on my page I can only have 63 characters? What are linked snippets? Are they like php includes or?

    (I am just thinking that 160 characters used to be sometimes few for SMS purposes - so 63 might be enough for the call-to-action sentence lol)

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    GaryTheScubaGuy's Avatar
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    Hi sipka,

    You are really better off looking at it in terms of the maximum size the page can be which is 20kb - including everything.

    If pages are too big they take too long to load. Mobile devices typically have restrictions on the largest page they can accommodate.

    On the other hand, if pages are too short then the user has too many required actions and navigation to find the information. This is irritating and may cause a higher bounce rate than normal.

    Devices with severe memory restrictions can only have small pages delivered to them and since the lionshare of the handsets out there aren't anywhere near the NexGen versions now being released, I would make it simple and sweet.

    The mobile market turns 360 degrees every 24 months so this may change as soon as the first manufacturer release a fully functional web based handset like the iPhone and the G1 amongst other current models.

    Snippets are the same idea as php includes. If I were to take the above sentence and use it on a webpage I would use :
    The mobile market turns 360 degrees every 2 years so this may change as soon as...

    Last edited by GaryTheScubaGuy; 25 April 2009 at 5:08 am.

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