What's Different about Mobile Search (Part 2)

Okay, so after reading yesterday’s post, you’re still interested in learning more about Mobile SEO. That’s a smart decision, in my opinion. So, here are 3 more insights into the mobile space to get you started…

1. Duplicate Content is Good
This is contrary to everything we’ve been taught about increasing visibility in search engines, so it may take a while for most traditional SEOs to warm up to this idea. After all, if you build a mirror version of a page or a site in web search engines, you’re essentially splitting the link popularity for that page and making it twice as difficult to rank on competitive keywords. Nonetheless, as we pointed out last year in the Mobile Search Optimization White Paper, developing multiple versions of sites for different mobile languages can lead to increased visibility in mobile search engines, giving brands several listings in SERPs for relevant keywords. This may not last forever; but since it adds to the user experience by having content in the index that’s accessible to many devices, this phenomenon is not likely to go away any time soon.

2. Traditional Web Analytics Inadequate for Mobile
No doubt there are some who think that SEO is a one-time fix. For those of us who know better, web analytics is an essential part of search engine optimization. Benchmarking, conversion analysis, buzz research and regular reporting are impossible without traditional web analytics, and without these things, moving the SEO campaign forward is nearly an impossible task. Fortunately for desktop SEOs, many robust web analytics offerings exist to help them benchmark, track and optimize.

Unfortunately for Mobile SEOs, traditional web analytics don’t work well in the wireless world. Most web analytics packages get their data by tagging pages with JavaScript code that many mobile devices are unable to process. The mobile data that a traditional web analytics package presents is therefore incomplete by nature. There are several web analytics packages that get their data primarily from log files, which is preferable for mobile data, and there are even a few mobile analytics vendors; but if you’re using your JavaScript-based web analytics program to mine mobile data and optimize your mobile SEO campaign, you’re only getting part of the picture.

3. No Aaron Wall of the Mobile Web
Google does have a few mobile search guidelines in their webmaster guidelines, and there are a few of us out there who regularly give advice about optimizing for mobile devices, but if you’re looking for a Mobile SEOBook to explain to you the ins and outs of Mobile SEO in thirty minutes or less you may be looking for a while. With any emerging discipline it takes time and testing to truly understand what works, and at this point not many people have been optimizing mobile content for very long with much success. For this reason, Mobile SEO has been called the “wild west of SEO” on several occasions. That’s not to say that nothing is known, or that there are no mobile SEO experts. On the contrary, more than three years of optimizing for mobile has taught many of us a lot. It only means that finding good information is not nearly as easy as it is in traditional SEO.

There are others, including the fact that external linking has an entirely different value and there’s a lack of a clear leader in the mobile search space to optimize to, but these five things should be more than enough to convince most people that mobile SEO is not just SEO best practices applied to the mobile space. If you talk to a mobile SEO expert that insists that it is, you’re probably better off talking to someone else.

Posted by: Bryson Meunier, Product Champion, Natural Search


Dean Collins said...

Great post Bryson.

It's good to see people are finally starting to pay attention to Mobile Analytics (lol with 3 vendors announcing offerings just this week).

I've said for a long time, if someone visits your mobile site and you dont have any analytics and dont know anything about them or their visit.....does it count (as a homage to the saying "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear").

If you run a mobile web site check out Amethon's Mobile Analytics from www.Amethon.com.

One of the worlds first analytics applications specifically built for mobile browsers.

With no page tagging, artifacts or javascript we offer a real time analytics solution with no overhead or lag.

Or if you are in the USA give me a call in the New York offices.

Dean Collins

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