Mobile Website Optimization: Where to Start
Do you target a local audience? Then go and check how your site looks on mobile devices. If your site gives no value to mobile visitors, your business is dead for a great amount of prospects!
Nowadays to be local means to be mobile. In 2012 73% of US consumers used their mobile devices to search for local info. And 73% is a strong contingent.
Send your mobile visitors to your mobile version
First of all, consider what is the ultimate goal of your mobile website. You may want a website that will give your visitors full information about your business or a website where a purchase is performed. Once you have depicted your goal, you’ll be ready to achieve it.
Matt Cutts tells how to serve mobile websites to searchers. It’s rather surprising that he supports one of the most popular methods: creating a user-agent detection at the server level. We all remember that serving different versions of a website is normally considered a spammy technique called “cloaking.” Guess what? It’s legitimate for mobile versions.
Place the mobile version of your site on a subdomain such as m.domain.com (mobile.domain.com) and when a mobile searcher visits one of the pages of www.domain.com, a server-side 301 redirect will send them to the corresponding page at m.domain.com.
Tell search engines about your mobile website
If your mobile website is located on a separate TLD or a subdomain, verify it In Google and Bing Webmaster Tools.
As we’ve said below, search engines understand that the mobile-friendly versions of your web pages are just that and not duplicitous content that could penalize your brand’s search rankings. However, make sure search engines’ mobile crawlers are sent to the same mobile versions as your visitors.
Consider creating a mobile XML sitemap. A Mobile Sitemap uses the Sitemap protocol, along with a specific tag and an additional namespace requirement. Your Mobile Sitemap should look like this:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
A Mobile Sitemap can contain only URLs that serve mobile web content. Any URLs that serve only non-mobile web content will be ignored by the Google crawling mechanisms. If the <mobile:mobile/> tag is missing, your mobile URLs won’t be properly crawled. Once you have created your Sitemap, submit it to Google just like a regular Sitemap.
Focus on the functionality
Your visitors will want to be able to do everything they can do on your full site within your mobile environment and even more. As we have said previously, contact information is essential to convert a website visit into a sale. Use tel: and loc: codes for that. Most mobile devices will start a corresponding app and perform an action, such as starting a phone call or starting navigation. Often this is what your mobile visitors are looking for.