Working SEO for Mobility
It’s tempting to think of mobility devices as just smaller versions of your desktop or laptop computers. You can access your email and the internet from them, so wouldn’t the SEO rules remain the same for mobility devices? This is definitely not the case, and there are a plethora of articles and advice out there on how to focus your SEO efforts specifically for mobility. Cindy Krum has written an article, “New Mobile SEO: What You Need to Know”, that gives some great tips.
Krum points out that at this point in time, mobile search engines place a heavy weight on bounce rate and she advises that “The best thing you can do to improve your mobile SEO is to ensure that the mobile crawlers and user agents determine that your content will render well and load quickly on any mobile phone.”
Basic Site Architecture – Basic SEO practices when it comes to site architecture will not steer you wrong in mobility either. Make sure your tagging is done correctly for your site, then create another style sheet for mobile devices, and call it handheld.css. “This will allow you to format your existing pages for viewing on a mobile phone without having to create separate mobile content.” Use this style sheet to block things from being rendered by using a display:none attribute to the style sheet.
iPhones are a bit of a different matter, although they can see traditional web pages, mobile pages are preferred by many iPhone users, so making another style sheet named iPhone.css covers that issue too. Be sure to include a mobile site map and link it in your robots.txt file.
Advanced Site Architecture – Sometimes your regular site will not be suitable for mobile browsing, including “Sites [that] don’t use external style sheets, have a large file size, sloppy code or lots of multi-media content that could have trouble rendering on mobile phones”. For some of these sites, the best option is to create mobile specific content on a mobile subdomain or subdirectory. If this is the case, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Move top navigation to the bottom of the page
- Jump links at the top of the page can be handy to have, especially for contact information
- Minimize the scrolling for handheld devices
- Work on linking your mobile site and your main, traditional site to each other
Mobile Platforms and Software – “Most mobile platforms simply take the existing content on your traditional page and remove all complex code and media, leaving simply text and a minimal amount of images.” Although taking this step seems like it would save time and energy, there are a couple problems you should note.
- Your content could be included as a subdomain of the platform’s name, rather than as a part of your own domain
- Often the file names these programs create are not optimized, so all of the SEO value from your site architecture and links may be lost
As you delve into the world of mobile SEO, remember that mobility does bring new challenges and is growing and changing rapidly, so keeping on top of the newest developments is key.