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September 2012

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Is Your Digital Presence Mobile Ready?


By Nick Yorchak and Greg Olson


The mobile revolution continues to escalate, fundamentally changing the way we search for and consume information. Decision makers and consumers are searching on mobile devices, yet most companies are unprepared.

Studies from Google found that search volume from mobile devices is up 5x in the past two years (Google study Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona and ThinkWithGoogle). In the U.S. alone, mobile's overall share of web traffic has increased to over 9%. Research firm IDC forecasted there will be more U.S. mobile web users than PC by 2015.

Despite this fact, less than 10% of the web is "mobile ready."

So, how can you ensure your digital presence is "mobile ready?"

The first step is developing mobile friendly communication. Remember, mobile search encompasses more than just one result type. Depending on whether the search query is from a feature phone, smartphone or tablet, a user will receive different results and presentation formats, and even different search results.

Use responsive design if you can, but if you can't, understand the trade-offs and pitfalls. Responsive design essentially makes your web presence fluid, adapting the layout of the page to the viewing environment. Users across a broad range of devices and browsers then have access to a sole source of content, styled and laid out so as to be the most usable.

Consider implementing a mobile landing page with contact information and your address as a start if you can't develop a mobile friendly website. Then, test it across a variety of devices and online mobile emulators to see the look and feel of your mobile presence. Make sure the text is to easy to read, and that the user can navigate with a minimum of resizing, panning, scrolling, etc.

Once your mobile presence exists in a user-friendly form, turn your attention to optimization. Remember to incorporate best practices of traditional SEO, properly naming web pages according to the content of the page.

Your mobile presence is more than just your own website. Optimize all of your digital assets including YouTube videos, images, news feeds and map listings for increased visibility in mobile search results. This will also pay dividends across other channels, not just mobile.

Integrate SEO into your mobile development process or involve an SEO expert to ensure your website follows best practices of “search engine friendly” coding and web development. Standard SEO ranking elements apply and are heavily determined by the desktop version of that webpage, as typically a mobile page is on the same URL as its desktop counterpart.

Accessibility is critical for mobile search and if you are hiding content from Google or Bing (intentionally or otherwise) you can incur penalties that will handcuff your online presence for years to come. Google already provides the most variety within search results for feature phones via Googlebot-Mobile, which crawls for specific device types. Google even went so far as to say that your pages may be filtered from those results if they don't render properly or declare an accurate mobile DocType. Enable user detection and minimize load time. Do your mobile due diligence; put the user experience and accessibility at the forefront of your mobile strategy.

Both Greg and I agree that the ROI on mobile advertising will increase as a result of what industry experts have called mobile's greatest advantage over other channels, the “relevance of proximity.”

In the next few years, industry standards will evolve and platforms will exist as mobile display becomes easier to manage. “Mobile Driven Spend” will emerge as a leading category that we'll all need to consider.

About Nick Yorchak
President :: Big Footprint
Nick is the President and Founder of Big Footprint, a search and content marketing consultancy. A seasoned organic search expert, Nick has attained top organic rankings for a variety of B2B and B2C companies ranging from Fortune 500 industry leaders to local startups and non-profits. As a member of SEMPO and BMA, Nick has spoken at industry events and panels on the topic of search engine optimization, and his unique career story was featured in the New York Times.

About Greg Olson
Founder: GROWL
Greg is a BMA Colorado past President and currently is on the BMA National Board of Directors. Founder of Growl: A branding and digital agency, helping clients connect to the digital world more effectively. Greg is an active speaker and author on combining technology and marketing to improve a company's ROI.

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