Optimizing your Website for Mobile Search Users

Development,Tools & Resources 1 Comment

Mobile searches make up a growing percentage of online traffic. This is especially true for local searches. If you want to take advantage of mobile website traffic, you need to start by preparing your site.

Search engine optimization for mobile search follows the same guidelines as SEO for normal websites. If your website is already optimized, a lot of the work is already done. You will, however, need to set up a second CSS file for mobile browsers. Most cell phones and mobile devices will automatically use this file over your regular CSS file. It is still recommended to have a link to the mobile version of your site near the top of your regular site, in case a user is not automatically redirected to the mobile edition.

Viewing a website on a phone or other mobile device is different from viewing the site on a traditional computer screen. You have a smaller area to work with, which means visitors need to know what your site is about, and what you offer, up front. Don’t hide the essential information beneath a big banner. Your new CSS file should have a smaller banner, simple, easy to read font, and simpler graphics and coding. This includes JAVA, Flash and any content that requires plug-in support. While some phones are capable of showing full-feature websites, many models still require a simpler format to show correctly.

Make your site accessible. Put links to the most important pages near the top. If your business has a physical location, this should include a map and directions to your business. Try to anticipate what mobile web users will be looking for, and make it easy on them.

If you want to double-check how your website looks on a mobile phone, there are several “tester browsers” you can use. Three of the most popular are the web developer extension for Firefox, iPhoney (to see your site through the iPhone browser), and Opera Mini Browser.

The most important step for optimizing your site for mobile browsing (and showing up in search engine results) is to join local search directories through Google and other leading search engines. You will also need to optimize your site for localized search terms. The easier your site is to find, the better your chances are of being found when mobile users are looking for you and your business.