By: Keith Neubert – Bayshore Solutions Vice President

As leaders in the industry, Bayshore Solutions is attending the SMX Advanced Conference in Seattle, Washington. Vice President, Keith Neubert, is there on behalf of Bayshore Solutions and has shared some of the latest updates from Day 1.  He mentions there is a strong mobile theme this year.

Just announced  by Google and reinforced by Matt Cutts today: “To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.”

You’ll see there are two main issues they’re looking for – bad redirects and mobile errors.  If you’re redirecting traffic from a mobile device from a requested subpage to the mobile homepage, that is bad.

Why the mobile emphasis?  This comes as a result of the increasing mobile use (tablet + smartphone).  Here are some quick points taken from a variety of sessions and speakers today:

  • Search is the #1 smartphone browser activity 56% of activity in 2013 – 53% increase year over year
  • We have 1 year and 7 months before more searches come from mobile than desktop.  By 2014, mobile internet use should approach 20% and mobile search 33%, 1/3 of search will be mobile
  • 66% of users find mobile sites through a search engine but if they don’t like what they find… 79% of mobile searchers say they’re likely to go back to search and look elsewhere –  they’re 5 times more likely to abandon the task altogether
  • Mobiles + Tablets = 24% of online shopping on black Friday in 2012 (vs. 6% two years ago)
  • In 4th quarter there were 52.5 M tablets sold, of which 23 M were iPads
  • 207.7 M smart phones sold in 4th quarter
  • 2.5+ hours – the average a consumer spends on tablets and smartphones in a day
  • 88% of marketers say that mobile SEO is going to be more important in 2013
  • Only 30% of marketers will actually do mobile SEO in 2013
  • 48% of the fortune 50 do NOT have a mobile site

Specifically from Matt Cutts:

  • Smartphones – is happening much faster than anyone expected.
  • If you have all links redirect to mobile homepage – that is bad
  • If the Googlebot for mobile has issues getting to the site or does and the into infinite loop – this is bad
  • Google may start looking at mobile site speed, just like regular website and this may start affecting rankings
  • This is the first broader mobile update that affects rankings (the one announced above)
  • Ideally you mobile enable the whole site, having just the HP is better than nothing
  • Don’t panic but put thought into mobile

I know what you’re thinking, just do responsive design – and actually there are lots of folks here saying that the mdot (m.site.com) approach or dynamic serving approach are the better approaches because they allow marketers to take ‘intent’ into account.  An easy example they shared was the search term ‘bank’ – when performed on desktop the intent is more often things like general information, finance rates, services, versus that same search on mobile, the user’s intent is things like location, atms, etc.  With a responsive website you cannot address these different intentions, and risk serving the wrong content for the intent.  Further, Google knows the devices searching and they are tailoring those search results based on the device and assumed intent.  An easy way to see this in action is via the suggestive search feature results, the differences between mobile and desktop.  A quote today was: “Mobile SEO ends when responsive web design begins.”

However, the general consensus is that Google prefers responsive IF your users do.  Publishers are an easy example – Mashable – users search and consume content much the same way as they would on the desktop version, so responsive makes sense for them, but definitely not everyone.

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