Apart from regular internet users, a new segment of users who prefer mobile device like smart phones and tablet PC are growing at a tremendous rate. The ratio between mobile users and desktop & laptop users have been reducing each year and selling of these devices is also reaching at new height each year. Your future marketing strategy must not ignore this quickly growing mobile audience for business promotion.
What is Mobile SEO?
Mobile SEO is a process to develop and optimize website with keeping in mind the mobile browsing attributes like type of device, screen size, screen resolution and mobile browser used. Mobile website optimized by keeping in mind different criteria for mobile audience performs better in in Google SERP Served for mobile audience in the mobile browsing environment
How Google Collects Data From Mobile Web?
Just like regular Google Bot which crawls data from the web, Google has an individual crawler for mobile websites which crawls the information on the mobile web. Optimizing your website for mobile browsing with prospect to this mobile crawler and mobile users is necessary for promoting your website efficiently among these audiences. Google has a separate algorithm for indexing and prioritizing websites for mobile browsing. So if you have an individual mobile website or a website which serves content in a different manner to a mobile audience, you must optimize your website properly as described below in brief.
Two Scenarios For Developing Mobile Compatible Website
The ultimate goal of having mobile website is to provide better user experience to mobile audience according to the mobile browsing environment in which they have been viewing your website as per their screen size and resolution. There are two different ways you can implement for serving content to mobile audience.
In this scenario, a web designer needs to develop a separate CSS and need to implement HTML coding which is specific to different mobile users. When someone visits your website, we need to detect the user Agent of that user and serve the CSS and HTML accordingly. So, if someone visits your website from mobile device, your website would be served with HTML and CSS which have been coded as per mobile screen resolution and if it’s the normal desktop or laptop users, desktop version of the website would be served .
Individually Hosted Mobile Website
Another form of developing a mobile website is to have a separate mobile website hosted on a sub domain like m.example.com or Wap.mobile.com. In this scenario, you consider to design a separate website compatible to the different mobile screen size and resolutions. The technique is the same, we need to detect the user agent and need to redirect the users to mobile website rather than serving website with different HTML and CSS as of responsive website.
Key Difference: Responsive VS Individual Mobile WebSite
In responsive website, we do not redirect users. Instead, present website with HTML and CSS built with keeping in mind the mobile environment. In case of the mobile website, we redirect users to the individual mobile website. So , with responsive website, time require for redirecting users can be eliminated which results in faster load time for mobile users.
Creating a responsive website is little more complicated and difficult as one has to think of single layout which needs to get adjusted with two different HTML and CSS version. Complexity grows as total no. of distinguished layout in website grows. Single layout would get served in various manners as per different screen size and resolution.
It is easier to develop an individual mobile website which is hosted on an individual sub-domain, as the designer needs to create a layout with keeping in mind the single scenario of the mobile audience.
As per size of website and different website template created for different web pages, time require for building responsive HTML or separate mobile website varies.
With mobile website, one has to need individual management of content and resources used in the website. With responsive, you don’t need to update content as it responds automatically as per the screen resolution.
With responsive website, you serve mobile optimized content with a same web page URL as of the desktop version, which is considered to be more user friendly.
In case of large websites, an individual mobile website is easier to manage compared to responsive as you can host images, files and other resources separately for mobile website.
With mobile websites, you can optimize the speed of the website at certain standards which is a little bit complicated with responsive websites.
With responsive website, you don’t need to optimize the website with different SEO factors like Title, Description and content, which you may need to implement separately for mobile website.
Things to Take Care With SEO Point of View
Either you adapt to have a responsive website or individual mobile website. The script or technique you integrate for detecting user agent must serve relevant content to appropriate Google Bot. HTML and CSS built for mobile website should serve to Google Mobile Bot only and desktop version should be served to Google bot for desktop browsing. The same is true for a mobile website, Google mobile bot must get redirected to a mobile website and vice versa.
If different versions has been served to different Google Bot, It may seem cloaking and your website may face negative impact for your website performance in SERP, as it is against Google Guideline.
Use REL Alternate tag
If you host individual mobile website, specify alternate tag pointing to the desktop web page URL on mobile page and vice versa.
Use Permanent Redirection
If you create an individual mobile website, use 301 redirection and redirect mobile users and Google Mobile Bot from the desktop website to a mobile website.
Use Light Resources for Mobile Version
In both cases, you can use different image files for the mobile version and desktop version of your website. Images intended to use for mobile version should be low in size and should be compressed property for serving quickly to mobile audiences. Using the same images for both versions would require more time to load for a mobile audience. One can also think to use Auto resize option which automatically adjusts the size of images as per different screen size.
Test User Experience
The main principle is to create better user experiences for mobile users, even after creating suitable layout for mobile browsing as per screen size and resolution, you should continuously evaluate the user behavior of mobile website and try to implement the better layout of which your mobile users most comfortable with. You can also use A/B testing and serve two different layouts to mobile audiences
Track Mobile Users Accurately
If you have hosted mobile websites on a subdomain, you need to configure your Google analytics code to track the visits from your sub domain as well. Later, either you can create an advanced segment or create filters to track the visitors’ behavior of mobile device. With responsive, make sure that your HTML for mobile versions have Google analytics tracking code installed.
Want to optimize your mobile website? Get a free consultant from SEO experts at KingsWebMedia.