Everyone is Behind on Mobile SEO: Seize the Opportunity of the Mobile Revolution

By: Chris Birkholm

Mobile SEO was one of the hottest topics in the industry within the last year. Mobile marketing is mentioned by nearly every speaker at every conference worldwide. With all this emphasis on mobile, you would think you are behind. The reality is that you couldn’t be further from the truth. Everyone is behind.

The Reality
Despite the increasing importance and discussion on mobile, a recent study by Pure Oxygen Labs found that only six of the Top 100 Fortune 500 company websites completely comply with Google Mobile requirements. In fact, with the forthcoming mobile SEO changes, at least 66% of those sites risk “ranking downgrades for not serving mobile versions of indexed pages.”

The Opportunity
It’s not too late to catch up but you will want to move quickly. In late 2012, Comscore conducted a study titled Share of Digital Media Time Spent: Desktop Computer vs. Mobile. The study found that in the U.S. more than one in three minutes spent online was spent on a mobile device. Smartphones have surpassed the 50 percent market penetration rate in the U.S. and one in four smartphone users also owns a tablet.

Gartner predicts that, in terms of the basic and premium tablets sold in the US, the industry could increase by nearly 59% or more by 2017. In Europe, this number is expected to be nearly 150% and globally, it is forecast to increase nearly 135%.

The mobile revolution provides an opportunity to begin to pull ahead of your competition by implementing a basic best-practice strategy in regards to mobile. Here are a few best practices to think about:

  • If you do not have a smartphone friendly version of a URL, it is better to show the desktop version of the page than an error page.
  • The lighter the page the faster the performance. Page speed plays an important role in mobile SEO.
  • Refrain from re-directing a mobile user back to just the homepage. Whenever possible implement 1:1 page level re-directs from desktop to mobile versions of the page.”
  • If different URL’s are used for mobile and desktop versions always remember to canonicalize the mobile version to the desktop version and on the desktop version add the “rel=alternate” tag to reference the mobile URL.

By working with knowledgeable agencies and consultants, companies can build a mobile site that utilizes a best-practice approach to help prevent rankings from being negatively impacted by Google’s implementation of a new mobile SEO algorithm.

What are you doing to improve your mobile SEO? What do you want to know about mobile SEO?

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