Phones 4 U: Mobile site development & Optimisation
The rate at which we use our mobile devices for everyday tasks is consistently increasing day by day. Its not a new, hard-hitting revelation I know but I’m still amazed at how rapidly the hardware and software for this growing medium is developing. The other day I searched for and ordered a book from the Amazon mobile site in under 3 minutes on my IPad, at the same time I entered a brutal bidding war on EBay for a cool Washburn D10 Guitar on my Android Phone (Andy Allen assure me this is a cool guitar to start my music career with). I did all of this while watching TV and also talking to someone on that phone!
So in this generation of instant gratification from all of the devices and services available to us, I think it’s crucial we keep this constantly developing medium in mind when targeting advertising and conversion online.
Something I always do now as standard is monitor the mobile analytics of every client I work on, and specifically look at the bounce rate and devices that bring in the bulk of traffic – mostly IPads, then IPhones, then Android devices (the more superior, thinking man’s device ).
If that bounce rate is higher than usual I then look through the site to see if the subject matter, type of service, size of the website and user journey justifies us recommending a mobile site.
For example, if there’s a local garage that has a high number of mobile visits and a high bounce rate I may then think “are people mainly looking for the phone number and address”? Would most people come across a yell.com listing with a clickable phone number, ready for a one-click call conversion from a mobile? If that would suffice as a lead for the client then that’s all good, otherwise if we want to catch these enquiries through the site – just optimise it to give those calls to action and vital info straight away, make it all mobile clickable, work on the rankings then watch that badboy convert.
For the larger e-commerce sites this argument is a lot easier to make as they will convert very well anyway, so I guess the main thing to consider with a mobile shop is if we can get the loading speed fast, user journey smooth and quick for your larger IPad and smaller smart phones, and enable people to search and process orders quickly.
Google released a couple of posts on their recommendations for mobile SEO, available on http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.ch/2012/06/recommendations-for-building-smartphone.html and development support on https://developers.google.com/webmasters/smartphone-sites/.
In the first post the different types of mobile site optimisation is broken down into 3 variations:
- Have the same HTML as the desktop site and change the CSS to fit the devices – easier
- Have different HTML and CSS from the desktop version for mobiles – more fiddly
- Redirect the user to a different URL (subdomain like m.website.co.uk)
This is expanded on in detail in the post, but it’s clear Google are open to us utilising this medium to gain/transfer SEO benefits from the desktop sites and utilise this for mobile sites. As they do with desktop websites, I think they will appreciate it if we make our mobile sites easy for people and Google to read, display well and adhere to web standards and of course optimise them with the most relevant and useful content.
I am a nerd for this subject, and well generally, and I will be focussing on this and other nerdy things in my future posts, so for now I’ll sign off, thanks for reading and good luck on your mobile site development.