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How SEO applies to mobile

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  Jenn Webb's Photo
Posted Mar 23 2011 10:17 AM

<p>During my <a href="http://radar.oreilly.com/2011/03/stephan-spencer-seo-future-search.html">recent interview</a> with Stephan Spencer, co-author of "<a href="http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596518875">The Art of SEO</a>" and a speaker at <a href="http://www.web2expo.com/webexsf2011/public/schedule/speaker/62184?cmp=il-radar-wx11-spencer-futuresearch">Web 2.0 Expo</a>, he discussed the relationship between mobile browsing and search engine optimization. Below he outlines a few mobile best practices.</p>


<p>How does search engine optimization (SEO) apply on the mobile side?</p>

<p><a href="http://www.web2expo.com/webexsf2011/public/schedule/speaker/62184?cmp=il-radar-wx11-spencer-futuresearch"><img src="http://assets.en.oreilly.com/1/eventprovider/1/_@user_62184.jpg" border="0" alt="Stephan Spencer" style="float: right; margin: 3px 0 10px 10px;"></a><strong>Stephan Spencer:</strong> More and more, people are using their mobile devices to query the Internet as they're walking, driving, hiking, and so forth. But many of those searches are location specific, so this creates an amalgamation of two areas of SEO: one is mobile, and the other is local.</p>

<p>Local SEO involves optimizing for higher rankings in Google Places. Google recently made a fundamental shift in its algorithm to further integrate Google Places results into its regular results — beyond the traditional "<a href="http://searchengineland.com/how-to-get-around-google-locals-7-pack-without-breaking-a-sweat-52154">7 pack</a>" — to interspersing Places results throughout the organic results. This makes it much more important to rank well in the Google places algorithm. </p>

<p>Mobile SEO, on the other hand, really isn't that different from regular SEO. In both cases, you're trying to get higher rankings in the organic results. Most of the effort should be put into auto detecting mobile devices and then serving up mobile-optimized versions of your web pages.</p>

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<p>So the big difference between mobile and desktop is in the development of what is served up, not necessarily in how the SEO is managed?</p>

<p><strong>Stephan Spencer:</strong> Right. It used to be that people would tout having mobile-specific versions of their websites — it could be on a <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.mobi">.mobi domain</a> or it could be on a sub domain like <em>mobile.yourcompany.com</em>, for instance. That's not a good approach. From an SEO standpoint, that dilutes your link authority. You end up with a site that won't rank as well because not nearly as many links will come to <em>mobile.yourcompany.com</em> as <em>www.yourcompany.com</em>. So then you're competing with your regular non-mobile site in the search results, and your main website will always win. It's much better to do an auto detection and serve up a mobile-optimized version of <em>www.yourcompany.com</em> so you're not creating multiple URLs for Google to index. </p>

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