Ask any online publisher or blogger about tablet and mobile and you’re likely to hear this stock reaction; “Oh yeah, we are seeing more and more of our traffic coming from mobile devices.”
What are those online publishers doing about this massive trend that affects their business? For the vast majority of them, the answer is nothing yet.
And therein lies the problem for anyone looking to capitalize on mobile and tablet search engine optimization, or SEO.
Depending on the website and the category of content, mobile devices constitute anywhere from 25%-60% of overall audience traffic each month.
Mobile web Internet usage is ramping way faster than desktop Internet usage did. Just ask Morgan Stanley’s Mary Meeker, who calls this the 5th major technology cycle of the past half century; the so-called Era of the Mobile Internet.
As such, online publishers need to prepare now for the mobile explosion of traffic to their content. Not to mention, recent reports from comScore show that tablet and mobile device traffic can grow a publisher’s total overall traffic. So it’s very important for the business of digital publishing and media.
Most online publishers get a very large percentage of their visits and pageviews from search results. So how does this process change for tablet and mobile devices? It actually doesn’t change for the consumer, or for the refering search engine. Consumers are still discovering content via search on tablets and smartphones. It does, however, need to change for the online publisher.
Search engines and their search bots and algorithms are making constant changes to how they index and rank content for mobile searches. (Google’s SEO Guide is here) They view these searches as dramatically different than the typical “Desktop” search. This is extremely important to publishers.
(Tablets in MEDIA & MARKETING will be a key panel at the upcoming TabletBiz conference & expo in New York on November 13.)
Google’s grip on the SEO game
Online publishers now realize that their content needs to be formatted differently for the huge amount of visitors coming to it from tablet and mobile devices, and face a choice of how to do this. There are numerous vendors offering mobile publishing solutions. Like any emerging technology solution, it’s a quickly-changing marketplace.
That being said, it’s so important to the current and future of online content publishing that Google has actually weighed in, recently announcing changes to their SEO rank algorithm for mobile pages, and with their recommendations for online publishers.
According to Google, responsive web design has three defining configurations:
The site is found at one URL on all devices
The same HTML is served to all devices
So what does this mean for an online publisher or blogger who is attempting to take advantage of the mobile future? Simply this….
Your audiences are now or very soon will be demanding to have content delivered to them based on their mobile device of choice.
If you don’t provide this content experience to your audiences, someone else will (or already is).
If you rely on SEO for large amounts of your traffic, you need to have a tablet and mobile solution that works best for search engines.
Talk to experts in the market, your online publisher colleagues, and find a partner who can quickly and easily adapt your content for maximum mobile viewing.
Dan Meehan is the CEO of PadSquad, which makes tablet-focused marketing tools for publishers & advertisers. You can follow Dan on Twitter @meehandaniel.