The increasing importance of mobile search has attracted a great deal of attention from experts and other commentators. An enormous number of articles have been written about the need to adapt to the huge number of people using their smartphones to search. However, there has not been enough focus on the practicalities of mobile phone web design. This has led to commercial opportunities being missed. It is now time for consultancies to implement effective mobile web design as effectively as possible.
Why act now?
Google and Bing have both said that having a single URL is the best option out there. Responsive design has been given the thumbs up. This clarification means that it is time to get down to business. Responsive design might not be the only game in town, but it does appear to be the most effective one to play. However, simply using one URL and responsive design will not deliver maximum success unless further work is carried out.
A key point
Responsive design and a solitary URL is insufficient in as much as it fails to take into account an important point. Users of different devices often have very different needs. For example, a PC user may be looking widely for the best price for a product from a number of different companies. In contrast, a smartphone user might be searching for the nearest geographical spot at which a service can be provided to them. Such issues have implications for the appropriateness of particular designs.
Seeing what users want
Recent research from Hitwise suggests that more and more users are entering single keywords into search engines as they try to find what they are after more quickly. Although the report was based on the behaviour of Americans, it is safe to think that a similar trend in the UK can be observed. Many people are simply abandoning the long tail keywords of the past. Both design and site content may need to be tweaked so that the intentions of users are responded to properly.
Dynamic serving: one solution
Google has kindly provided details on how to use dynamic serving to good advantage. In this system, the server sends different material to users depending on their device. Properly set up, Googlebot-Mobile is told to go over the page by the use of a hint. This means that mobile content is spotted more easily than it would otherwise be.
Much more to do
Once the design of a site has been taken care of, there is still a lot more to do. This is because it is necessary to compete with the other sites which have been geared up to meet the mobile challenge. It is essential to go after higher rankings and make more sales, although such progress will not be possible without the design problems being ironed out first. As smartphone sales and use continue to rise, work on both design and optimisation will have to be stepped up significantly.
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