The SEO landscape has been evolving for years, taking into account new technologies and user behaviour, so how has the dominance of mobile, influenced SEO and search marketing?
Search Marketers have been predicting the rise in mobile and mobile SEO for years, however, until last year it was always put on the backburner. 2016 saw search engines putting preference on mobile versions of websites for mobile search (which makes sense) and this came as the amount of internet traffic from mobile and smart phones surpassed that of desktops.
2016 saw a big push on websites going mobile friendly, but this only scrapes the surface of search marketing potential in mobile.
Smartphones have seen an exponential growth over the past 5 years, no longer a luxury smartphones are now considered more of an essential item with cheap data packages and apps allowing global connectivity for very little money. Smartphones are the leading type of mobile phone with 77% of mobile phone owners having a smartphone,
80% of internet users own a smartphone and when 50% of smartphone owners grab their mobile phone as soon as they wake up you have an engaged audience from the time they open their eyes to the second they close the. But not all mobile traffic is from smartphones, the combination of mobile devices such as tablets and ipads makes up a lot of traffic, with some interesting user behaviour.
Mobile friendly Search Engines
Search engines are adapting to mobile with Google embracing a mobile first design, the SERPs are much more mobile oriented towards search engines, even when viewed in desktop you can see the mobile influence.
Google has already been prioritising mobile optimised and mobile friendly sites in the search results and also allows mobile app indexing, where mobile apps can be displayed in the search engines.
The AMP project has also seen an increase in traffic to news sites that have integrated this technology, for pages that will be consumed on a mobile device and are useful to be indexed quickly web site owners can look into using AMP for their own websites to capture more mobile traffic and faster indexing by search engines.
Google is not the only search engine people are using on mobile, platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and even Amazon are also popular search engines and as all have their own mobile app they have customer loyalty and frequent visits as users download these apps for easy access. Search marketing for mobile looks at all areas of traffic that are relevant to your website and conversion goals.
Search engines are also adapting to the way people use them, many people are using the search engines for quick information and understand how to get better results, for example asking questions will often give you featured snippets or knowledge graph which allows a quick answer and solution or in the case of knowledge graph a more in-depth brand portfolio at your fingertips.
Mobile SEO was once just making sure your website is viewable and usable on a smartphone. Today and in the next 12 to 18 months we will see much more sophisticated mobile search marketing strategies.
Basic mobile SEO will consist of having a responsive website, a site that is easy to use and renders well across all mobile devices. Basic SEO hardly scratches the surfaces of the potential for mobile optimisation.
More advanced techniques or mobile SEO would be optimising the design to perform well for mobile users, remembering mobile users are less patient and more likely to want to see instant results as this is what they are used to.
Integrating other types of content and technology such as video and AMP pages, wording content to answer queries and also using schema markup where appropriate. Using other platforms to increase brand presence so you start the conversion process much earlier, with brand trust rather than having to convert just from search engines, using Google products (such as maps, knowledge graph etc), referring sites and social media to expand reach where appropriate.
If there is a good reason for it, you can create an app, this will increase brand loyalty for users that buy/visit on mobile on a regular basis.
As with any SEO and search marketing strategy, there is no one size fits all solution, you need to look at the user behaviour of your target demographic, which technology and platforms they regularly use and integrate this into a solution that will work well for you.
Emerging technologies in mobile search marketing
Technology is moving fast, this will continue to do so and a lot of this links into mobile. Mobile and voice search are linked so technologies such as voice search and products such as Siri or Amazon echo are all products we need to consider for a strategy.
User behaviour is linked to current technologies which feed into search marketing and conversions, however with new and emerging technologies you can interpret user behaviour and the technologies they use to completely bypass the search engines and still convert.