Mobile Search Engine OptimizationAs mobile Internet usage continues to grow the importance of Mobile Search Engine Optimization grows along side it. An effective mobile Search engine optimization strategy is essential to ensure the success of your mobile website

Google Bot Mobile and Mobile Annotations

On December 15, 2011 Google introduced Googlebot-mobile which included a smart phone user agent to specifically target content designed for mobile devices. In August of 2013 they updated their search algorithm to change the link target in search results to the mobile specific page if they discovered the correct annotations. What this means that if you configure your website and mobile website correctly you can have your mobile website displayed in search results when a user searches from their mobile phone. These annotations signal to Google that your Mobile website has similar content to your traditional site and they should be treated as one. If you do not add annotations , according to google both the desktop and mobile URL’s will be shown in search results which can lead to lower rankings.

 

How to set up Annotations

 On the desktop version of your website you need to add a link with a rel =”alternate” tag that points to the mobile location of your website.

	<link href="http://m.example.com/page-1" rel="alternate" media="only screen and (max-width: 640px)" />

On your mobile websites location add a link rel=”canonical” tag that points to the desktop location of your website.

	<link href="http://www.example.com/page-1" rel="canonical" />

Choosing A Mobile Search Engine  Friendly Location

The first step in creating a search engine optimized mobile website is deciding where to locate your mobile website. There are four different places you can locate your mobile website and all have different benefits and downfalls.  Take a look at the chart below to see the different locations and the amount of mobile search engine optimization benefit they offer.

 

 Location Subdomain Subdirectory Seperate URL (.MOBI) Responsive Design
Search Engine Benefits from TLD* Most Some No Full
Cost free free About $10 per year free
redirection required Yes Yes Yes No

*TLD = top level domain

Google recommends responsive web design as the best option when considering how to build your mobile website, so if you are looking for the most search engine friendly option then responsive design is your best bet. According  to Google with responsive web design a Googlebot user agent only needs to crawl your page once which can help google index more of your sites content. Outside of responsive web design Google does not ” favor any particular URL format”. Since no redirection is required for responsively designed websites your website will load faster on mobile phones which will also provide some Search Engine Optimization Benefits.

 Common Mobile Search Engine Optimization Errors

Faulty redirects

One of the most common errors is redirecting all of your mobile visitors to your mobile homepage reguardless of what page they were visitng on your website. For example
Bad
example.com/about ——> m.example.com

Good
example.com/services ——> m.example.com/services

People who are looking for a specific page on your website will not want to end up on a irrelevant page on your mobile website no matter how mobile friendly it is.

Flash errors

If you have a page that requires flash then your mobile users will encounter a problem when visiting the page since flash is not playable on mobile devices

Infinite loop

Google will recognize an error if you redirect smart phone users to a mobile version of your site which in turn redirects googlebot-mobile back to the desktop version and so forth.

App download errors

Many webmasters want to promote their app when a mobile user visits their website. Unfortunately sometimes these app promotions interfere with Google indexing your page. Google recommends a simple inline banner to promote your app in order to ensure their is no problems indexing your mobile website.

Hopefully you have come away with some ways to help build a search engine friendly mobile website. Feel free to comment below if you have questions about mobile Search Engine Optimization.