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Mobile search ranking factors

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Presentation I gave in Seattle at SMX Advanced Local University Advanced workshop on 6/7/2012 on mobile search ranking factors.

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Mobile search ranking factors

  1. MOBILE SEARCH RANKING FACTORSData-driven Mobile SEO for 2012Bryson MeunierDirector, Content SolutionsResolution Media@brysonmeunier+Bryson Meunier
  2. MOBILE SEARCH OPTIMIZATION CRITICAL • Differences in smartphone ranking • Differences in mobile search engagement: “A drop from first to fourth position on mobile phone can mean a CTR drop off of more than 90%.” Google, Winning the Zero Moment of Truth • Mobile Search Traffic to eclipse desktop search traffic in years, not decades 2
  3. MANY PATHS TO MOBILE OPTIMIZATION Smartphone Tablet One optimized? optimized? URL Mobile Content and Keywords? Mobile Site? Feature phone optimized? Mobile URL Site that works Same well on all Content and devices? Keywords? 3
  4. APPARENT DISAGREEMENTS WITHIN GOOGLE Matt Cutts recommends mobile URLs and says mobile sites don’t cause canonicalization issues in Februray 2011 Google Webmaster Team selects responsive design for “maintainability” in May 2012 blog post 4
  5. GOOGLE GIVES OFFICIAL RECOMMENDATION! • “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.” • “If responsive design is not the best option to serve your users, Google supports serving your content using different HTML. The different HTML can be on the same URL (a setup called dynamic serving) or on different URLs, and Googlebot can handle both setups appropriately if you follow our setup recommendations.” Full details at 5
  6. DATA TO THE RESCUE Mobile Mobile Smartphone Search Search Search Strategies of Queries Results Top SitesDownload the white paper at 6
  7. TRUE OR FALSE?: VALIDATION IS KEY “Use100% valid XHTML 1.0 code. […] Many optimizers on the traditional WWW do not consider using valid code as a best practice. Mobile search engines however may have more trouble digesting invalid code.” -Andy Hagans, (circa 2005) MobileSearchMarketing.com (#4 in Google for “mobile SEO”) FALSEDownload the white paper at 7
  8. TRUE OR FALSE?: MOBILE USABILITY/PAGE SPEED IS HELPFUL “MOBILE SEO RULE NUMBER ONE: if youre trying to attract a mobile audience, then youd better be good at it and youd better give them an elegant user experience! -DotMobi (circa 2008), Mobithinking.com (#1 in Google for “mobile SEO”) “Getting from needs to actions lightning fast is especially important on smaller devices like mobile phones, where screen size is limited and context really matters.” Larry Page, Google CEO in 2012 Letter to Investors FALSEDownload the white paper at 8
  9. TRUE OR FALSE?: LINKBUILDING IS UNNECESSARY “But right now, partly because of the relative lack of competition and partly because as I explained above, the link graph makes less sense for mobile sites and users, links are not needed for (at least some) mobile rankings. -Will Critchlow (circa 2008), SEOMoz.org FALSEDownload the white paper at 9
  10. TRUE OR FALSE?: DOTMOBI HELPS “The best way to build your mobile web site for SEO is by using the dotMobi domain” -DotMobi (circa 2008), Mobithinking.com (#1 in Google for “mobile SEO”) FALSEDownload the white paper at 10
  11. TRUE OR FALSE?: MOBILE SITES HELP RANKING “The best Mobile SEO strategy is to not have a mobile SEO strategy.” -Ryan Jones (circa 2011), SearchEngineJournal.com (#3 in Google for “mobile SEO”) “Having a mobile site is strongly correlated with top three rankings in Google smartphone search” -Bryson Meunier (circa 2012), SearchEngineLand.com TRUEDownload the white paper at 11
  12. 30 MOBILE SEARCH RANKING FACTORS 12
  13. 1 – VERY IMPORTANT • Presence of content that matches mobile searchers query Internet & Telecom Finance Dining and Nightlife • 77% of total • 88% of • 69% of [apps search searches for for android] volume for [restaurants], and 73% of [atm] and 97% of [download 99% of searches for ringtones] volume from [bars] and searches [atm 80% of come from locations] searches for mobile comes from [restaurants devices mobile near me] devices come from mobile devices 13
  14. 1 – VERY IMPORTANT • Proximity of business location to searcher device location • Presence of Google+ Local listing• 10 Web listings on desktop for [restaurants]• 3 Web listings from Restaurant icon on mobile browser homepage 14
  15. 1 – VERY IMPORTANT • Listing properly redirected to or reformatted for Googlebot mobile or smartphone Googlebot 15
  16. 2 – IMPORTANT • Mobile site blocked by robots.txt (negative) 16
  17. 2 – IMPORTANT • Presence of mobile site (responsive or dedicated) • Presence of mobile site in feature phone index 17
  18. 3 – MODERATELY IMPORTANT • Mobile sitemap exists (primarily important for feature phone users) 18
  19. 4 – OF LIMITED IMPORTANCE FOR MOBILE SEARCH • Logo indexed and appearing first for Google image search • Product label indexed and appearing first for Google image search product query 19
  20. 4 – OF LIMITED IMPORTANCE FOR MOBILE SEARCH • Presence of mobile app(s) in 1 1 Google Play 2 2 • Presence of mobile app(s) in 3 3 iTunes 4 • Use of keyword in 5 A app name 6 4 7 5 8 6 9 7 8 9 Incognito laptop Signed out iPhone 4 results for [chat app] results for [chat app] 20
  21. 4 – OF LIMITED IMPORTANCE FOR MOBILE SEARCH • Use of "mobile" somewhere in title tag 21
  22. 5 – UNPROVEN RANKING FACTORS • Aggregate data from Google reader indicating which content is viewed most often from mobile devices • Presence of keyword rich content in carrier store • Use of "mobile" somewhere on page • Use of m. subdomain for listed site • Use of same domain for desktop and mobile sites • Use of Metatxt standard 22
  23. 6 – HELPFUL FOR MOBILE MARKETING, NOT MOBILE SEARCH • Accessibility of site to multiple devices • Percent of navigational search volume with word "mobile" following • Percentage of navigational searches from mobile devices relative to whole • Presence of link to desktop site in footer • Use of mobile TLD (dotMobi) • Valid code 23
  24. 7 – EMERGING TRENDS BUT NOT CURRENTLY A FACTOR • Links from mobile social networks • Mobile Link Popularity: Quantity of quality links from mobile sites • Percentage of links that are from mobile sites • Visits from QR code scans 24
  25. DATA-DRIVEN MOBILE SEO BEST PRACTICES 1. Understand the differences between what your mobile user expects and what your desktop user expects and build your mobile site accordingly 2. Build a mobile home page at m.domain.com that addresses the mobile user’s goals with link to full site and responsive duplicate pages OR build a mobile first responsive design driven site if goals are same. 3. Do not block your mobile URLs with robots.txt. Use canonical tags for duplicate URLs and redirect smartphone URLs to smartphone Googlebot but make mobile homepage unique to appear for mobile navigational searches (i.e. [brand + “mobile site”]) 4. Market your mobile site externally in print and broadcast advertising and online. Links, authority and social shares still matter in mobile. 5. Don’t believe everything you read. Many consultants are applying traditional SEO best practices to mobile, which doesn’t always translate. Trust but verify. For 25 more visit 25
  26. THANK YOU! Bryson Meunier Director, Content Solutions Resolution Media bmeunier@resolutionmedia.com http://www.brysonmeunier.com http://www.resolutionmedia.com @brysonmeunier Scan to visit m.brysonmeunier.com

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