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SES 2008 – Mobile SEO

  • By calcoastwebdesign
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  • 18 Aug 2008

Now I’m on to the Mobile SEO session, gotta get here early so I can find a seat by a plug. Can’t anyone invent an 8 hour laptop battery??? Or maybe 12, lol! I did meet a nice blogger Charlene Jaszewski, we shared the plug 🙂

Rebecca Lieb from ClickZ was our moderator

Donna was up first, cofounder of Yojo Mobile. She was discussing the death of .mobi. What is .mobi, anyway, for the non geeks in the room?? It is another domain extension that was specifically created for mobile phones so websites could be seen better on phones. .mobi is now OBSOLETE, we don’t need to do this anymore. Now that we have iphones and other advanced phones they can read browers just like computers – they are even in beginning stages to support ajax, flash, and other complicated web interfaces. In the US, 84.8 % of people use smart phones to access news and information, so there is a huge mobile market, and its constantly growing.

OMG crazy .mobi man just interjected our session and got so mean to the panelist, telling her all her stats were incorrect!!! Angry santa totally derailed MY train of thought and your stats, soooo sorry for you Donna 🙁

Ok Back on track. Mizpee.com (HUH?) is a cell phone based service that you can (get this!) use to find a clean bathroom near you. (don’t let me forget to tell Ang & Kristi lol) These little (or not so little) crazy sites are so perfect for mobile. So then the question came up how do you detect mobile phones? I totally thought this answer was long and complicated BUT, YAY, its not!

Use java 3 lines of code to detect! Once the presenters get the exact code up I’ll include it here.

http://www.yojomama.com/ is also an example of this web/mobile based sites. How did these sites become so successful and popular? They:

  • Find a need, and fill it
  • Embrace controversial coverage
  • Offer Contests
  • Encourage “Tell a friend”

Things to incorporate in SEO for mobile phones are the same as our normal organic – YAY again – stick to the normal .com marketing practices:

  • Use title tags
  • Use alt tags
  • Use relative content

Remember Strategic partnerships
Advertise on sites where you can define the device, platforms, etc. Donna mentioned how Pampers was all too happy to enter into a relationship with MizPee because they saw value in offering a diper coupon for a store that was within a block radius of where the woman was at that moment.

Donna warned us to make sure we are not just optimizing for mobile. Optimize normally first, and THEN people will start to come to you through mobile too.

Cindy Krum was up next with Blue Moon Works telling us about mobile site architecture options. First:

Why should you care about mobile? Why is it important?

  • Mass mobile convergence
  • Most personal marketing medium ever
  • More interactive marketing possibilities
  • On you at all times

Mobile is Different because….

Mobile bots

  • Mobile algorithms
  • Smaller screen
  • Simplified rendering
  • More sophisticated searchers
  • Immediate intent. I like that. Read it again. IMMEDIATE INTENT PEOPLE!!! They have their phone and their wallet, but do they find your store??
  • Many mobile searches are brand specific because of the above reason. Right now carriers are also offering flat rate data pricing, so this encourages more mobile searches. Statistics say that 75% of people are using iphones to browse, and only 5% of people in the country have an iphone. So, logically thinking, when we all can get the easy surfing experience the iphone offer, then 75% of the population will be searching on our phones. Its coming soon, so prepare your website for this!!

    Like Donna said, best practices for mobile are actually a combo of others:

    • Do your traditional SEO
    • Incorporate Blended search practices
    • Use Local search best practices

    Mobile search engine submission – don’t forget to do this – they don’t always crawl. Remember to:

    • Mobile research
    • understand predictive text (you know how the phone fills it in for you)
    • transcoding analysis (google.com/gwt/in)
    • emulation and testing (test on handsets and emulation sites out there.)
    • analytics (there are mobile specific ones too)
    • xhtml and accessibility (stay in compliance and you’ll rank well)
    • use external css
    • use browser detection or self selection

    4 options that don’t require too much work:

    Doing nothing: Look at mobile demand and traffic. Do people want my site to be mobile? Text with transcoding, without transcoding, on true browsing phone, on mobile browsing phone. If you have a .mobi, redirect it and stop updating it.

    Mobile only pages: tiny pages for tiny screens. Use a sub domain or a sub directory. Make pages geared just toward what mobile users want, take out some of the bells and whistles and give people exactly what they would want if they were on the street looking at or for your business.

    Hybrid pages: one set of content and multiple CSS. Screen for computers, and handheld for the mobile. If we download the presentation there are code samples for this. All you have to do is add one new stylesheet, and there are no duplicate content risks. You can even do device specific stylesheets but be careful because not all phones grab the right sheet.

    Dynamc Mobile Pages: mobile handset specifics database where you hire a fancy programmer to build out the pages for each specific mobile browser. Damn that’s a lot of work lol, we’ll suggest option #3.

    When should businesses get ready for mobile? Cindy thinks 2 years or less, so start getting your CSS together now and preparing so you can ride that wave when it caps 🙂

    Next up we had Brian Wool with Localeze brianwool@localeze.com

    Some of the top local phone searches: email, weather, IM, maps, news, local search, sports

    90% of businesses are small businesses, and the majority of advertising dollars across most channels come from this segment. 50% of these small businesses have a website. R U kidding me only 50%? Lol. .01% of these businesses have a .mobi, so everyone’s really behind the curve getting into mobile search. Obviously the iphone has changed all this!!

    Also mobile has started to go vertical. You’ll see increased fragmentation and continue to see the mobile search evolve and try to serve you better.

    A question was asked about Yahoo and MSN. How come none of the speakers really referenced them? Rose mentioned she has their search numbers in the download presentation and she also shared an important snippet with us and that is that Iphone google pings different results!!! Then Brian mentioned that some of the other search engines really do have market share in local search, and to watch for strategic alliances because all are important.

    Question time:

    What’s skyfire the browser? Its not really for the iphone its for windows mobile devises, and its in beta stages. You can download the beta at http://www.skyfire.com/ – its cool it has flash built in.

    How far away are we from flash in phones? Its clunky now but the panelists think that java, ajax, then flash will all be coming in the next 2 yrs to our phones.

    What’s the difficulty about the hybrid and the iphone taking the wrong stylesheet? Iphone took a stance not to slum it on the mobile and they refuse to take
    How should we tell people we have a simple mobile site? How should we pitch it?? Put it on the website! Ask visitors to enter cell phone number and carrier and then it sends the URL to the mobile phone.

    What if you sell really expensive high end stuff? Should you bother? Not if you don’t see a market for it. Make sure to optimize locally in case people are looking for your brick and mortar location.

    What happens after local? If the decision is quick then its good to be mobile. If it’s a long term decision then mobile may not be the way to go, but mobile will be huge for comparison shopping.

    Are there any tools to check your mobile rankings? Comscore acquired something, but there are not a lot of good tools. Check the Mobile Marketing Association for your research they suggest companies who use mobile best practices.

    What about .asp and other sites? Test test test, they may not work right.

    How can we do analytics on mobile phones? Server logs, AW stats (FREE), and google analytics (FREE). Also Brison Munier has a good list out there, google him to find the info.

    Where should you advertise your mobile promotions? Places were people are waiting to commute. Airport, subway, train station, places were people have their phones and time on their hands.

    Futurama Tip: OBOpay.com – coming up with ways to pay on mobile phones securely – its coming soon!! So stop thinking ecommerce, think Mcommerce!!!

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