Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mobile SEO in 2014: What You Need to Know

Think about the last time you performed a Google search. Did you perform your search on a desktop or laptop? Or did you perform your search on a mobile phone?

As of 2013, mobile-obsessed Americans spent an average of two hours each day on their devices, and up to 25% of all searches were performed on a mobile device. These statistics and more were collated earlier this year by Search Engine Journal in its fascinating infographic, "The 2014 Mobile Landscape: 25 Statistics That Will Drive The Future of Mobile Marketing."

Among the many intriguing stats, Search Engine Journal also offered this tidbit:

"The mobile market will generate 35% more spending by 2015 compared to 2012: $400 billion versus $139 billion."

This growth is no surprise to the SEO industry, yet we believe mobile SEO might just upend conventional notions of traditional SEO. A key aspect of the recent algorithm update, for example, is Google's acknowledgment that more and more people are using voice command for search--a trend inspired, of course, by the mobile voice command systems like Siri.

Hummingbird will effect up to 90% of Google's results (source: Search Engine Watch), and was made to accommodate not only the recent increase of voice-based searches but more complex searches. As the USA Today noted in its article about the new algorithm:

"The change comes as people become more comfortable asking long, complex questions when they use Google to search the Web, rather than single words or simple phrases...Google is also making the change to ensure its search results work well with voice-based queries. When people speak, rather than type on a computer, they use more complex phrases..."

Although the algorithm update was meant to optimize mobile search, the emphasis on the evolving use of voice search and the increasing use of more complex questions will profoundly influence traditional search.

It's important to note, though, both of these trends were inspired by the mobile market. Most voice search occurs on mobile devices, and as the USA Today notes, "When people speak, rather than type on a computer, they use more complex phrases..."

So what does this mean for your SEO strategy? Well, hopefully you have a mobile SEO strategy distinct from your traditional SEO strategy. Although mobile SEO is in its infancy, it is certainly a distinctive discipline.

Last month Forbes published a helpful guide to mobile for SEO, "How to Master Mobile SEO in 2014." And recently,  mobiThinking published a very helpful article: "Mobile SEO Best Practices for 2014." Both articles will give you a helpful primer on mobile SEO.

Among Forbes' suggestions for optimizing your mobile SEO, a few can be enacted easily right now. Make sure you ensure "dependable, accurate pages," for example, by paying attention to the basics:
  • When embedding videos and images, check to ensure they play correctly on mobile devices. 
  •  Make sure your redirects go to the right mobile page (preferably the right page instead of just your home screen, which is annoying for any user). 
  •  Avoid having any type of mobile 404 or unavailable content. 
  •  Make sure no interstitial, click-to-leave ads appear on mobile sites, even if they appear on desktops.
Some of the other suggestions in the article, including "responsive design" and "dynamic serving"  might seem a bit esoteric to the SEO layperson, but they're no less important. To navigate the new rules of mobile SEO, you might just need to hire an SEO specialist.

We write the Organic SEO Blog to offer valuable information that can a) help you perform your own SEO, and b) help you find the best SEO specialist.

Read our articles. Empower yourself with knowledge!

Now, the web abounds with SEO specialists who can help you navigate the tricky maze of mobile search! The key is discovering an honest, ethical specialist who understands the evolving nature of SEO. Take heart, though. If you own a website, and you see the importance of mobile SEO, you do not need to feel overwhelmed by the evolving market.

Our suggestions? Do what you can on your own, and then call a professional, like Alex Stepman of Stepmans PC.

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