Common Mobile SEO Concerns and How to Overcome Them

By Chris Thoren, Product Specialist, Natural Search

With many clients beefing up their SEO efforts, they often ask us if they should optimize their mobile site or develop a site for mobile search. The short answer is yes and yes. However, despite the potential, some clients are still hesitant to branch out into mobile SEO. In this mobile SEO white paper, Bryson Meunier uncovers many optimization tactics that should address the naysayers.

Now, let’s uncover some of the popular arguments and their objections behind them.

Reason #1: People do not use search engines on mobile phones so it's not worth it.

Retort: According to this eMarketer article, 75 percent of folks who have a mobile subscription are engaging in mobile search. This is covered in more detail with the last point, but it backs up that most mobile users are actively pursuing something.

Reason #2: Mobile websites will not generate the same results as the web.

Retort: Statistically, sites that have mobile counterparts increase their overall reach 13% better than those that don't. You consider this percentage in conjunction with your current traffic numbers, and this may provide a significant increase in eyeballs hitting your site. Um, this is the name of the game, right?

Reason #3: Mobile users are unwilling or hesitant to purchase products via their handheld device.

Retort: Worldwide revenue is projected to grow to $2.4 billion by 2011, from $6.8 million in 2006. Given this worldwide perspective, one would consider the U.S. would have a percentage high enough to generate a good revenue stream.

Reason #4: Mobile websites would be too time intensive (read: expensive).

Retort: You need to ask yourself one question, do you feel lucky punk? Well…do ya? If you’re a small to medium sized business with limited budget and resources, this may be applicable to you. Don’t despair because you do have options. If you do have the budget, building a site from scratch is the ideal scenario. This will provide flexibility, software, and reporting to keep your mobile site up to date. If not, you will need to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty. Sites such as,, and provide online software to transform your site into a mobile wonder. In the end, that’s up to you, but you get the idea.

Reason #5: Fewer results in the SERP mean a more competitive landscape.

Retort: Maybe, maybe not. Now would be the time to test the waters since this is still an emerging market. Also, does your site currently rank well in Google for web results? Are you looking to win on more general mobile results or are you willing to optimize for tail terms that may rank better? If so, this may translate well to ranking for mobile. Better to start thinking about strategy now than 6 months or years from now when the market is more/highly saturated.

Reason #6: My business relies more on brick and mortar sales than online.

Retort: If this is the case, how are they finding your store? Most people these days looking for something, open their Yellow Pages book and let their fingers do the walking, right? This could be argued either way, but there is a definite shift from print to online. Given this transition and the on-the-go mindset of mobile users, it would stand to reason to also have an online presence. Along those same lines, search queries tend to be more geo-specific than web ones. Given these statements, the ‘Search nearby’ button is present to provide the user more local options, thus mitigating the need to show up for local results in order for your business to be found.


dgould said...

Great post Chris. It's amazing some people still make the arguement that peeps don't use search engines on mobiles. As a focus group of one, I can tell that peeps are. Not only are they searching, but mostly likely they are search differently than when they search on the web. Seems like it would be prudent biz to address that difference.

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