SEO for mobile websites


When building a mobile website it is important to adhere to certain SEO techniques that are slightly different to those search engine optimization techniques for your main website.

Firstly what to do with your domain? There are a few options; here are the best options in descending order in terms of SEO for the site www.example.com :

  1. www.example.com/mobile – adds additional traffic to your site which improves Google rankings and utilizes current inlinks and optimization for the main domain
  2. m.example.com – use subdomain to harness some of the optimization that your domain has
  3. www.example.mobi – is a known mobile site TDL and helps mobile web crawlers index your site and rank it highly on mobile search engines because it is optimized for mobile browsers

mobile phone websiteThe best and simplest way to redirect traffic from your current site if visitors arrive from a mobile phone is using mobile user agent detection code. This automatically directs the mobile user to the mobile site. There is free code in php and asp available all over the web.

Layout is another feature you need to consider when building a mobile site. Of course as a mobile screen is smaller, it is important to make clear buttons and navigation. Most mobile site navigation comes from the homepage hence the homepage should have all important elements on it and all internal pages should have an option to navigate back to the homepage. A trail with links on the top of the page can also help internal navigation and help users know where they are inside the mobile site. You also have the option of top bar navigation and bottom links (just no vertical side navigation).

Do not be concerned with proper optimized body text. I suggest having a properly optimized title tag, and H1 but no need for a lot of text and keyword repetition. Short is best when it comes to mobile text. Also be selective regarding which pages and features to include. Mobile websites should be smaller in terms of pages and options. Use your analytics data to determine which are the most important and visited pages of your website and then ensure they are included on your mobile site.

Think about including video content on your mobile site. Two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2015. Mobile video will more than double every year between 2010 and 2015. Mobile video has the highest growth rate of any application category. See this Cisco forecast report for all future mobile data trends.

SEO mobile phones

Inlinks do affect the search engine algorithm and where a site ranks on a search engine, but not as much as for normal websites. This is why I suggest making the mobile website in a sub-directory (or at the very least a sub domain) as opposed to on a totally new url. In this way, you can still receive the positive benefits of the link juice to your normal website domain.

It is important to remember as well to keep some consistency with the look and feel of your website so that visitors feel familiar with your online branding and know they have arrived at the right website (even though its on their mobile phone).

Ensure you promote your mobile site on your main site clearly to help communicate to current users that you have a mobile version available. Also make sure you include googlebot-mobile text allowing it to scrawl your mobile site. Lastly make sure you submit mobile sitemaps through your webmaster tools.

One little extra tip that is a fun idea is to advertise your site in print media or using billboard and use a QR code. This will allow people to easily navigate to your site and you will be able to track numbers and locations of who is using your mobile site. It also helps generate buzz and new users to your site.

tiny mobile phone

The last thing every mobile phone website builder wants to know is will my website work on all devices? There are a few rules such as not using flash (sorry but Steve Jobs and hence Apple are non compatible with flash) and other things like only using certain java script for your buttons. The best thing to do is to build and test. Of course your website should work over as many platforms as possible, but definitely cover your bases by ensuring your whole website works on iOS (for Apple devises), Android (using Google’s operating system) and Blackberry which are the top 3 and most used platforms. Then of course try to make your website compatible with Palm, Windows and others.

Paul Vesely has over 12 years experience in the dynamic online marketing environment instigating marketing solutions for a wide range of businesses to suit their goals. Through understanding a company's target market and aims, Paul has managed to launch a wide variety of online marketing campaigns to increase sales, generate leads, and increase bottom line profit. Paul Vesely's expertise lie in inbound marketing and focus on utilizing search engine optimization, PPC, PR, Social Media and online campaigns to accomplish the client's business goals through online means. The author's views expressed in this blog are his own and do not represent anyone or any other organization's views even if the author is associated with those organizations.