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Mobile & Best Practices Video From Google Mobile Team

It should be very clear to everyone that mobile web sites are a necessity now. Some will argue against spending resources and time on building mobile web sites because they don’t close sales or advertise to the mobile audience. I’ll argue that, even though it’s early, that is precisely the time to get a start in mobile if you want to outpace competitors. That is stated by Dai Pham and Sonja Lee, the Google presenters in the video below. This was offered by the Google Mobile Ads marketing team. Top take-aways are:

  • 150 Million Americans have web-capable smart phones
  • Spikes in mobile traffic are seen during Christmas shopping times
  • Best Practices include
    • Site Speed – load fast or you’ll lose them
    • Simplify Navigation
    • Be Thumb Friendly (large, easy to read navigation)
    • Make it work on ALL phones (no flash)
    • Clickable Phone #’s, simple, short forms
    • Redirect automatically to mobile version of site when mobile user agent is detected
    • Watch analytics for mobile traffic behavior and tailor site for those behaviors and users
  • I’ll add something they didn’t say – Include a mobile site map on your site and make pages crawlable (not javascript).

I attended the webinar below on Wednesday this week and asked via the Q&A form whether mobile sitemaps would get mobile results listed in mobile search results. They answered, but not directly – I’ll assume they didn’t understand the question, since it may be outside their expertise as product marketing managers. They said “There isn’t a separate index for mobile” and ignored another question asking whether they had any mobile sitemap advice.

I’ve insisted on crawlable mobile pages with all my clients and each of the three places I’ve worked in the past five years. Developers are quick to post javascript versions of a site, but don’t realize they won’t get indexed by search engines and can’t be seen by bots – javascript only renders in the mobile browser – but that textual content is not indexed unless it is non-javascript html.

Google recommends a mobile sitemap, but I’ve found it frustratingly difficult to get clear answers about how the mobile sitemap helps indexing and whether content from mobile sitemaps is given preference in mobile searches. Google webmaster tools often shows errors in those site maps and low percentage indexing of mobile sitemaps. (Even when their own guidelines are strictly followed). I know from traffic data on two very large sites that it helps bring traffic – but answers are lacking when it comes to more detailed data on mobile search traffic, mobile indexing percentages and mobile search results. Might that be coming Google?

Here’s the presentation video from Google – worth watching if you are considering a mobile version of your web site – and you are, aren’t you?

Mike Valentine