Over the past year we have seen mobile search queries surpass those conducted on desktop environments.
In that time I have seen agency marketers, web designers and standalone webmasters all scramble to solve for a variety of challenges, including:
- Reliably displaying content to support full topical comprehension on smaller screens
- Capture and utilize device level analytics for improved content marketing initiatives
- Prioritize technical aspects of on-page and on-site optimization for improved organic search performance
- Utilize responsive design capabilities to promote mobile-specific calls to action and conversions
On Thursday, Twitter’s #SEOChat community got together at 1PM ET, rallied behind the host of the week’s forum, BloomReach Inc. (@bloomreachinc) – and jumped head first into the topics of mobile search engine optimization.
The following highlights are straight from the #SEOChat Twitter activity – and I’ve peppered in my own commentary along the way.
Pretty simple topic to get us started, but I was surprised by the number and variance of results provided during the chat. Scanning the hashtag in TweetDeck, a few of the #SEOChat leaders really jumped out at me:
And for me – right out of the gate – these responses proved that there are a number of unique perspectives on mobile search engine optimization.
I highlighted the above responses for a few reasons:
- As Jason White (@Sonray, Dragon Search) points out, mobile SEO’s objective is capture and serve the user irregardless of device. At d50 Media, our creative director preaches “right audience, right time, right screen…” and it’s stuck. I’m simply an advocate of this because I have seen first hand how incredibly important this is.
- Connecting the right person with the right content through requires what Kristi Kellogg (@KristiKellogg, Bruce Clay, Inc.) introduces: the science of technical optimization. With mobile devices criss-crossing from 3G to WiFi to 4G and public hotspots, connectivity is the only guarantee. When data speeds slow down, it’s up to you to deliver clean and efficient code in order to serve your audience before they tune out. If you can you need to have a website that loads fast, works with mobile services and leverages device location and content intent to truly serve folks at a hyperlocal level… you win.
- Tying the previous reasons together, Lisa Buyer (@lisabuyer, Social PR Secrets) suggests that this is a PR thing. If we’re to look at PR as true and simple public relations, know that I could not agree more. Lisa’s assertion is spot on and really wraps up the “right audience, right time…” argument succinctly. Success means that you’re actively engaged in mobile. If you’re not, you’re flirting with a PR disaster.
The second question of the afternoon really required the audience to focus in on the agency/vendor relationship. I would have liked to see more activity on this particular question, but fear that as it was asked – it may have been a turn off for those working in-house or even on their own websites.
Regardless, the quality responses continued…
And again, Lisa is on her game. Brands and organizations do not have a choice when it comes to mobile presence. They’re either there, or they’re not. There is no fence to ride on or middle ground to occupy.
While Lisa boiled it down for everyone, Jason and I both provided a response more aligned with Google’s technical initiatives:
While I cannot speak for Jason – I get the impression that he and I were really trying to reinforce the importance of what Google has done over the past year.
That is, innovate – and invest – in mobile search.
From Webmaster Tools inclusion of more search query details to Google Analytics shedding more light on the device use of your content, it’s clear – Google is treating “mobile” as a leading actor in it’s primetime show.
Making more and more appearances, webmasters and marketers are encountering this “mobile” character in many different places. I tend to see Webmaster Tools as being the de facto home for all things mobile SEO these days and have found the Mobile-Friendly Test and the ability to track mobile usability in Webmaster Tools as being jumping off points for many mobile SEO initiatives.
As the #SEOChat continued, the host then asked for a little more details around technical optimization efforts. The responses were mixed in with those from the previous answer, but I found the following exchange to be deserving of a callout:
Now, the embed feature doesn’t do Jason’s Tweet any justice. Click on through to the full details and just look at the replies Jason received on his initial response.
While there were all sorts of tangents, my absolute favorite was this:
…and it’s pretty clear that when you mash up Google’s Hummingbird, Siri, desktop voice search and all of these technical devices leveraging active listening technologies… well, that’s where we are going. Major kudos to Jason for not only being aware of the movement, but advocating for it too in this group setting. In years’ past, many SEOs would simply skirt the topic altogether with an inclination of using it as a competitive advantage.
Question five was a little light for me both in substance an response, but Jason’s agency – DragonSearch provided the following which I did think could be used for more conversations down the line:
We do in fact need to be careful to note that being “mobile friendly” is not strictly limited to appeasing a search engine’s criteria or recommendations. It’s about the user. It’s always about the user.
Thankfully, the next question latch onto those user needs.
I really loved watching the responses to this one come in. On one hand, I could spend hours talking about how content is consumed and how conversion requirements change on mobile devices. On the other hand, I really liked how the following users focused on the comprehensive experience of viewing mobile search results and using that as their basis for mobile SEO work:
….And all in all, this week’s #SEOChat ranks up there amongst my all time favorites. Thanks to everyone involved this week – it was great to see so many folks participating and providing their take!