Mobile SEO: How to proceed?

Mobile SEO: How to proceed?

Posted on 15. Oct, 2012 by in Digital Marketing

In the last few years, the mobile share or web traffic has increased significantly. Around the globe this share varies.

Mobile Traffic : Globally
2010 2012 % Increase
Africa 5.81% 14.85% 155.59%
Asia 6.1% 17.84% 192.46%
Europe 1.81% 5.13% 183.43%
North America 4.71% 7.96% 69.00%
Oceania 2.88% 7.55% 162.15%
South America 1.46% 2.86% 95.89%
Worldwide 3.81% 10.01% 162.73%

(source: Pingdom)

Why should I care?

Well, given that this trend is only set to continue then having a suitable mobile strategy in place is essential.

What Are My Options?

Essentially, there are 3 main options available:

  • Responsive Design
  • Dynamically serving different HTML content via the same URL
  • Using mobile specific URLs

Those of us involved in digital marketing or more specifically the SEO industry tend to have strong opinions. Too often ready to shoot down one method in favour of a preferred choice.

Responsive Design

Responsive design does have its advantages. Typically, it is easier to maintain the user experience for an ever expanding market of mobile devices with varying properties.

While responsive design has its appeal, this does not mean that the last two methods are redundant.

Dynamic Serving

A single URL approach does lead to a more concise marketing strategy. You need only ever worry about promoting that single URL via the plethora of marketing channels available.

Separate Mobile URLs

In the event of using separate URLs, suitable annotations are used to ensure the consolidation of multiple URLs as part of a single entity. The most appropriate URL will then be shown in search results courtesy of the skip redirect to reduce latency.


A Touch of Realism

Google supports all 3 methods, however it recommends responsive design.

Granted, Bing recommends a single URL approach that fits nicely with responsive design but let’s have some perspective.

Simply choosing a responsive design is not always the answer.

So where does it fall apart?

Often this leads to those in charge making decisions without careful consideration of what might be best in their particular scenario. Imagine you are the RAC  and need to make a decision on which approach to use.  Why not consider user intent? If you were a mobile user, would you want the same information from the existing domain regarding cover options etc. or would you be looking for break down assistance i.e. a number to dial?

If it is the latter then serving different HTML /separate URLs may be more suitable.

Google still controls a significant portion of search market share. Without a huge swing in preference to phones that come packaged with a shiny new Windows 8 OS, the quantity of users searching on Bing by default will always fall short.

Feature phones do not support CSS Media queries, meaning dynamic serving or separate URLs become a necessity. Of course, this depends on whether the market you intend to target is predominately filled with feature phone users or not.

So what is the best method?

The key take-away from this should be to choose the method that suits your particular scenario best, not simply the latest trend.

Providing you follow search engine guidelines effectively then it should be easy to make a success of your mobile user experience.

Let common sense prevail.