September 30, 2013 / Mobile, SEM Tools, SEO for Your Agency

You wake up to the alarm on your phone. Then you quickly check the weather forecast for the day from your weather app. While standing in line for the elevator at work, you get caught up on world news through Twitter. When it’s time for lunch, you don’t feel like walking down the street, so you order takeout from your favorite restaurant through their app. As you are about to leave work, you get an alert about a traffic accident. Now you know to take an alternate route. After a long day, you’re not sure what to eat for dinner, so you find a new recipe with a quick search. All in a day’s work for your mobile device.

If this is how you are using your mobile device, you better believe your customers are using it the same way.

Mobile is no longer an option; it is a way of life. According to StatCounter, mobile devices now drive almost 20% of all global internet traffic. Google recently confirmed that sites without optimized mobile experiences won’t rank as high in their search results. And if you want Google to like your business, you better start with some mobile initiatives.

Most consumers are not only using mobile devices for search but they are starting with mobile devices for search. 50% of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. This isn’t just when they don’t have access to a computer; this is when consumers are at home, on the couch, with friends, or travelling. To be straightforward, if you don’t have a mobile strategy, you are losing out.

Here are 4 tips to develop a robust mobile strategy:

1. Know Your Business and Know Your Consumers

It may seem like a no brainer, but the first step in developing a mobile strategy is starting with self-reflection. Determine the key aspects of your business and what consumers need from your brand. For instance, analyze the mobile visitor’s behavior on the current site. What pages are they requesting? Where are most of the mobile visitors dropping? Once you know what they need and what you want to get across, you can begin to cultivate a plan of action.

2. Create a Mobile Website

Consumers expect to easily be able to view a company website through their mobile device. One of the best options recommended by Google for a mobile-optimized website is responsive web design in which the website responds to the device your customer uses. This means one website with a layout that varies depending on whether your customer is on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone. Without a mobile-optimized website, customers can become frustrated and annoyed by the enlarging, scrolling, and unnecessary clicking they may have to do. A mobile-optimized website allows consumers to find the information they need quickly. Create a layout that highlights key points your consumers will want to find – location, phone number, hours, sales, or specials.

You will also want to optimize your mobile pages for organic search. Google recommends focusing on rendering above-the-fold content to users in one second or less while the rest of the page continues to load and render in the background. Web pages that render quickly will rank better than those that have a long load time. Another consideration for the web developer is to avoid common configuration mistakes that affect rankings in a Google search. These mistakes include unplayable videos, faulty redirects, and app download interstitials.

3. Understand and Develop PPC ads

Mobile PPC ads are based on four main factors:

Position –  Because screen sizes on smartphones are smaller than desktops, it is extremely important for advertisers to bid more aggressively for the first two positions on the search page results. If you don’t come up in the first 2 positions, your ads will be shown at the bottom of the first screen, or worst, pushed to the second page, increasing the chance of not being seen.

Keywords – Generally, mobile searches include more misspellings and shorter phrases than those performed on desktop computers. If budget allows, keep this in mind and bid on commonly misspelled brand and related terms.

Individuality – Write ads that are tailored specifically for mobile users. Potential customers performing searches on mobile devices want to find information quickly and be able to navigate the site easily as possible. Mobile accessible discounts, promotional codes, or sales alerts that are triggered by location encourage users to utilize a business’ mobile site or app.

Extensions – When possible, ads should take advantage of call extensions. If your business has a phone number, you can easily include a “Call” button in your ad or on your website that allows the searcher the option to call your business right then and there. Remember, 52% of users have called a business after searching.

4. Incorporate Social Media

Social media and a mobile strategy go together like peanut butter and jelly. This is where you can really engage your consumers to use all the mobile strategies you’ve been working on. Offer mobile-friendly coupons, start a loyalty program that requires customers to “check-in” to earn rewards, or go big and create an app designed precisely for the needs of your customers. Encourage your customers to continue to use the app/mobile device to drive engagement and build brand loyalty.

70% of mobile searches lead to action within an hour. Can you imagine what that number will be like in the next year? The next two years? Consumers expect a mobile strategy. However, don’t jump into creating it without a plan. It’s important to make your mobile strategy memorable and creative but most importantly useful. Don’t forget about the “real world” aspects and how mobile will be incorporated. Developing a strategy to serve your customers, creating a mobile-optimized website, utilizing mobile ads, and incorporating social media are four main ways to ensure your business will be ready for 2014 and most importantly, ready to serve your customers.

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