Mobile marketing is no longer a luxury. The proliferation of mobile devices that not only include smartphones and mobile handsets but also tablets, and even smartwatches, means that the savvy website owner will pay virtually as much attention to mobile traffic as to traffic from traditional desktop and laptop devices. What’s more, with the announcement that Google’s algorithm update, on 21st April 2015, will see mobile signals used to determine mobile search rankings, means that mobile optimisation and mobile marketing are set to become even more important.
The Advance Of Mobile Internet Access
The modern mobile marketer is blessed in many respects, because optimisation in 2015 is easier and yields greater results than it ever has before, if done well.
When the dedicated .mobi Top Level Domain (TLD) was introduced in 2005, the best-selling mobile phone was the Nokia 1110 with a screen that afforded the user a 96 x 68 pixel resolution monochrome display that was barely any larger than the end of your thumb.
Last year, in 2014, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were the most popular handsets with 4.7” and 5.5” displays offering a 326 or 441 ppi resolution density. Even the Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini included a 4.5” display.
Modern smartphones are not only capable of displaying web pages; many models are designed with web access and app access as their primary functions and 5” screens certainly facilitate that. It also means that marketers no longer have to limit mobile pages to two or three words and a small picture.
The traditional mobile optimisation rule book has been thrown out of the window.
Knowledge Is Power
It’s not only screen sizes that have risen over the years. In 2010, the bestselling handset was the iPhone 4 with the Apple A4 chip, clocked at 1GHz. The second most popular handset was the Samsung Galaxy S, which also offered a 1GHz processor.
In 2014, the iPhone 6 saw a moderate processor improvement to a 1.4GHz, but the dual-core processor was considerably more capable of browsing, offering multiple tabs, and running apps. The Samsung Galaxy S5 was the second bestselling handset, which had quad-core processors ranging from 1.3GHz to a massive 2.5GHz speed.
Mobile Marketing Increasingly Important
As performance and display have become better quality, users have become more reliant on their mobile devices. According to comScore figures, in fact, mobile usage overtook desktop usage for Internet access, in February 2014.
Simply put, marketers and site owners would be foolish to ignore the importance and potential impact of effective mobile marketing.
The fluid, responsive website of the modern era is much more in-keeping with Tim Berners Lee’s vision of the Internet. He criticised the introduction of the dedicated .mobi domain, worried that it meant segregation for different device types and a step away from device independence.
Although responsive design still differentiates between devices, it doesn’t require separate sites to be established for mobile and desktop presences. You are basically accessing the same site, in most cases, but it realigns and resizes itself so that you enjoy optimal viewing experience. The site may display with a different framework and the emphasis of a site may be shifted according to device type and screen size, but this is only to ensure that the user is able to quickly and easily access the content on the page.
Why Responsive Design Has Become So Important
The current market is dominated by PCs and smartphones, but an increasing number of people also use browsers on tablets, games consoles, and even smart massive 50” TV models. Smart watches, which are still an emerging technology but reduce screen size even further than with smartphones, are also going to become more popular, and who knows what devices will be the next big thing?
An effective, responsive design may cost a business more to establish in the first place, but will almost certainly cost less than having separate sites for mobile devices, PCs, and massive TVs.
Apps And App Search
In a release regarding its upcoming algorithm update, Google said that they “will begin to use information from indexed apps as a factor in ranking for signed-in users who have the app installed” and went on to say they “may now surface content from indexed apps more prominently in search”. There is, then, very good reason to have an Android app developed, and to promote it, too.
The first step to optimising your website, whether you want to be prepared for the Google update or you want to increase exposure to the burgeoning mobile Internet market, is to ensure that it displays properly.
Using Google Webmaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools provides a host of tools and applications that you can use. SearchEngineLand offers an excellent list of the mobile marketing steps to take, using Webmaster Tools, in order to do exactly that. The post also offerd some very, very useful tips on optimising for app search, and on other steps you can take to promote your mobile-ready website.
To see whether your site is being effectively crawled by Google’s mobile bots, and to find a list of steps to take in order to ensure that it is:
- Open your Webmaster Tools, access the Mobile Usability Report under Search Traffic and work through any issues that are displayed here.Keep working through the errors until Google tells you that there are no more issues. Clicking the Learn More link can help you troubleshoot some issues.
- Click Crawl Errors under Crawl and choose Smartphone for errors that Google Bots are seeing when they crawl your site as a mobile user.
- In order to see precisely what Google’s mobile bots see, click Fetch as Google and select Mobile Smartphone from the dropdown box before clicking Fetch and Render.
- If you’ve done a lot of work fixing errors, then you can resubmit your URL by clicking Submit to index.
- Use the Pagespeed Insights tool by clicking Other Resources and then Pagespeed Insights.After a brief period, while Google analyses your site, you will be presented with a score on what should be fixed, what could be fixed, and what doesn’t need fixing.
Finding Relevant Search Queries
Even if your site is mobile-friendly, you can take steps to further improve mobile results. Remember that, while smartphone screens are larger than they used to be, they are still smaller than desktop and laptop monitors. What’s more, a touch-screen keyboard limits input; not to mention the fact that people use their mobile browsers for different things than they would use Internet Explorer or Google Chrome on their desktop computer. This means that, unless you specifically target a mobile crowd, you are unlikely to see the best possible results.
If you are enjoying traffic from Google Mobile results already, you can look at the queries that mobile users are targeting when they search.
Look at the Search Queries tool in Webmaster Tools and choose the filter Mobile to see the list of keywords that have specifically been used by your mobile visitors.
SearchEngineLand also advises the use of a competitor analysis or SEO analysis tool, like SEMRush to help gather keywords from your main mobile competitors too.
Mobile Marketing In 2015
Mobile marketing should no longer be considered a peripheral concern when it comes to marketing. Ensure your site is mobile-friendly, research the keywords that are being used by your own visitors and the people that visit your competitor sites, and then incorporate these into your overall marketing strategy and your mobile marketing campaign. Consider have an app developed, optimise your app and app page content, too, and you could enjoy a considerable increase in your search engine traffic.