Discovering Opportunities To Drive Your Mobile Web & App Optimization Strategy

With the steady rise of mobile search, SEO practitioners these days need to consider how to optimize both their websites and apps for mobile search visibility.
Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm update, released in April 2015, gave a boost in mobile search results to pages with good mobile user experiences. Along those lines, Google has sought to increase the visibility of app content within mobile search results through app indexing. Thus, it’s key to have a strategic approach to our mobile optimization efforts — both on our websites and apps.
The now more mature mobile web and app optimization tools make this analysis possible, and straightforward, too. For example, some of the tools that I use (which I’ll be discussing in this post) are as follows:

For cross-web-app mobile competitive analysis: SimilarWeb.
For mobile app analysis: Mobile Action, SearchMan, SensorTower and AppTweak.
For mobile web search analysis: SEMrush, SISTRIX, OnPage.org, SEOmonitor and URL Profiler.

Use the tools above (or your preferred alternatives) to answer the following mobile web and app search-related questions — doing so will help you identify more opportunities and potential, as well as establish an effective optimization strategy:
1. Which Are Your Industry’s

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Research Reveals What It Takes To Rank In Mobile Search Results

Image Credit: Denys Prykhodov / Shutterstock.com
While most marketers and business owners now understand the importance of having a mobile-friendly site, many aren’t aware of the differences between desktop and mobile search ranking factors.
They take a one-size-fits-all approach to optimizing both their mobile and desktop content — and then often only track desktop rankings. For marketers and business owners looking to rank for mobile search queries, this is a dangerous strategy.
According to Google, we have now passed the tipping point for mobile search queries. In May 2015, the company confirmed that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” Then, earlier this month, Google noted that mobile searches now exceed desktop searches worldwide.
With this in mind, should marketers be following a separate strategy to help their pages rank for mobile search? In a word, yes, according to a new report (registration required) released by Searchmetrics which provides important insights into which strategies and techniques marketers

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How To Trick Google Into Thinking You’re Mobile-Friendly

If you’re a regular reader of my column, you’ll understand the title of this article is tongue-in-cheek. Clearly, I’m not encouraging anyone to recreate what I’m about to show you (as it leads to a very poor user experience). Rather, I am writing about it in hopes that Google will get wise to the issue and fix it.
The issue? Forcing a searcher to download an app in order to access content, and making that page mobile-friendly so it gets a boost in mobile search results.
If you play guitar, you’ve likely encountered this situation in Google; most of the results that rank well on a smartphone do it. Here’s an example:
The other day, I wanted to play “Chain Gang” by Sam Cooke on my guitar. It’s not a common query, but there are more than 200,000 smartphone searches related to “guitar tab” a month, according to Google Keyword Planner. And all of them could be subject to the same mobile

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SMB Mobile Websites Saw 11 Percent Page View Gain After Mobile Friendly Update

There has been discussion and debate about whether and how much websites were impacted by Google’s Mobile-Friendly algorithm update. I wrote last week about a study that argued non-mobile-friendly sites were disappearing from the top positions in mobile search results.
Now comes a study of small business websites that shows meaningful traffic gains for mobile-friendly sites in the post-Mobilegeddon period.
Small business mobile site developer Duda looked at roughly 4,700 small business websites hosted on its platform that were already mobile-friendly (mobile-only and responsive). The company tracked these sites for six weeks before and after the Mobile Friendly Update to establish traffic levels.
What Duda found was that on average these SMB sites saw a 10.8 percent increase in page views post-Mobilegeddon. Interestingly, sites with the smallest traffic levels before the update saw the biggest gains. Duda CEO Itai Sadan told me this was both the most interesting and unexpected aspect of the findings.

As the chart indicates, SMB sites that

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Study: Non-Mobile-Friendly Sites Disappearing From Top Google Results

Remarkably there are many brands and companies that still don’t have mobile-friendly sites. According to a new study from Moovweb there are clear visibility and ranking consequences, in addition to usability consequences.
April 21 was the formal date when Google’s Mobile-Friendly Algorithm kicked in. Since then Moovweb has tracked “1,000 important e-commerce keywords in a range of industries” to see whether and how it has impacted mobile rankings on Google.

The company found that 83 percent of the the time, the top result was mobile-friendly and 81 percent of the time the top three results were. On page one of the Google mobile SERP, 77 percent of results (or 7.7 out of 10) were mobile-friendly.
These findings immediately raise the question: when and why is Google serving non-mobile-friendly results in those remaining 20+ percent of cases?

Moovweb’s chart above shows the percentage of mobile friendly sites in each of the top 10 positions across the 1,000 keywords tested.
The company found that

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The Growth Of Mobile: Do We Need Some Perspective?

The recent news that mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches on Google was considered monumental.
There is no arguing that mobile is not tremendously important. Even for those who did not previously think much about mobile, there was no way to miss Google’s announced “Mobilegeddon” — it was the SEO’s Y2K. Any business in today’s market that ignores its mobile presence does so at their own peril.
This emphasis on mobile might be a story of its own making, however. To be sure, mobile has come a long way since just a few years ago. Yet this new focus on “everything mobile” and “mobile first” might be misplaced if it is to the exclusion of your multi-device users.
What if “mobile first” is not everything it’s hyped to be? What if you are sacrificing real users and real money on the altar of “mobileness”?
Proximity Is Everything
Just as in the golden days of brick-and-mortar stores, location is everything. Your proximity to the customer makes a huge

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Mobile-Friendly Isn’t Enough For Local Businesses: 3 Pitfalls To Avoid, From A Recent #LocalU Hangout

There’s nothing more local than your pocket.
On a recent Local University hangout on mobile and local, local search and analytics experts gave some great insights on the growing importance of mobile search and mobile site design. LocalU, the host of the hangout, is an organization dedicated to teaching small business owners how to succeed online through local online searches.
Today’s customers understand local and mobile without a second thought. Just think about how many times a day you or your colleagues whip out your iPhone and Google “lunch takeout” while also asking Siri for directions to the nearest gas station. We get it as consumers, of course, but do local business owners really understand the importance of mobile?
Businesses are literally losing opportunities by not having a truly mobile-friendly website experience for customers. In fact, 93.3 percent of small business websites are not mobile compatible despite the astounding 4 out of 5 consumers using a smartphone to shop — this according to

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Google’s Future Relies On Quality Control

The rise of mobile has long had analysts predicting the fall of Google, as the web simply isn’t as convenient on mobile devices as it has been on desktops. A worse browser experience means a worse search experience, and mobile users have historically had to blindly click into a search result and hope that the website on the other side was usable on their device.
The writing on the wall isn’t lost on Google — and today, more than ever, it’s making optimizations geared towards upgrading the quality of the mobile search experience for both paid and organic links. The future will likely hold more of the same as Google fights to solidify itself as the place to go for queries of all types on all devices.
Mobile-Friendly Algorithm Update Forces Sites To Upgrade
One of the most obvious updates that reflects Google’s dedication to providing an optimal search experience on mobile was the mobile-friendly algorithm update pushed out on April 21,

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How to Identify The Impact Of Mobilegeddon & Future Mobile Algorithm Updates

The new Google mobile algorithm has arrived in all its fury, and everyone seems a little disappointed in the change that failed to rival Panda.
Entire industries were not destroyed, and even if they were, former Google head of webspam Matt Cutts isn’t around to blame anymore.
According to Google Search Console ringleader John Mueller, this is due to the fact that, while the new mobile algorithm affected a lot of queries, most sites were either:

Already mobile friendly, or
Changed, but not significantly enough to notice (vs. Panda where the entire site dropped in search results).

In this column, I’ll explain how to get as close as possible to finding the cause of gain or loss of mobile clicks at the page and query level using Google Search Analytics. I’ll also attempt to establish a good benchmark based on the current strength of the new Google mobile algorithm.
Strength, Stats, & Spotting The New Google Mobile Algorithm
Enterprise SEO Tool BrightEdge tracked 20,000 non-mobile friendly URLs

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Mobilegeddon Revisited At SMX Advanced

When Google’s Gary Illyes, SEO Clarity’s Mitul Gandhi and I presented in the Things You Don’t Know About Mobile SEO, But Should panel at SMX West in San Jose on March 3, Google’s mobile update could still have been Mobilegeddon.
April 21 was approaching, and many webmasters were wondering how to make their sites mobile friendly so as not to take a big hit from this update that was advertised as being “bigger than Panda and Penguin” and “significant”.
Because of this, the room was packed with webmasters eager to get the inside scoop from Google on how to prepare for the potential disaster somebody called “Mobilegeddon”.
The Mobilegeddon panel at SMX Advanced on Tuesday was a calmer, more reflective affair entirely. Taking place exactly six weeks after Google started rolling out its mobile friendly update, this session was moderated by Barry Schwartz and had panelists Gary Illyes, Mitul Gandhi and Laura Scott of RKG Merkle combing through the rubble

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