What is mobile SEO?

Fact: there are approximately 43 million cell phone users in South Africa (possibly even as many users as people).

There are more cell phones users in SA than computer users, so marketing to cell phone users is crucial to your business as having a website. The online world is going mobile and everyone is getting involved in the popular trend. Mobile web browsers and smart phones have evolved the mobile world into a universe of online sites, advertising opportunities, online shops etc. The online world is going mobile and that means your site should as well.

Mobile Websites

Most high traffic websites such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter and many many more other sites can be found on the mobile web (mobile-enabled versions of the sites you are familiar using). There is often a distinction between mobile sites and their computer-viewable counterparts, for instance, Google has 2 versions of itself – one is the internet version and the other is the mobile internet version.

Many sites choose to create a mobile version of themselves (mirror sites), it’s absolutely possible for mobile as well as computer users to find the exact same websites even when they’re using two very different types of devices.

Creating a Mobile Site

Many mobile sites are written in a code call XHTML. Learning XHTML, or converting pages of your site to this language, doesn’t have to be a difficult or drawn-out process. There are many online tutorials which will help you learn, create and convert XHTML code as needed. One very user-friendly tutorial at w3schools can help you learn more about XHTML and how it’s used on the Web, both in mobile- and computer-based versions.

The domain .mobi is often used for mobile sites as well and it’s not absolutely necessary that you have a .mobi domain or a site written in XHTML to create a strong online mobile presence. Sites under the .com domain (and all the other extensions you might obtain) can be found just as easily by mobile search engines. However, it is best (though not mandatory) to use the XHTML code when creating mobile pages. This simply makes pages a bit more accessible for a larger variety of mobile users, making it possible for a wider audience to find your mobile site.

SEO your mobile site

Mobile SEO is treated like a different animal as compared to the standard SEO practices. Master this and you will soon be the online market leader.

Remember that mobile users as well as computer users all use search engines to find what they are looking for. You want these people to find your site whether they are accessing the search engine via their laptops, PC’s, or mobile devices.

If you have a website then you should already have search engine optimization implemented. For your mobile site to be recognized by the mobile search engines, you will have to manually submit your site. The most used mobile search engines at present are Google, Yahoo, MSN, and AOL mobile (no surprises here).

To submit to Google : (http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/topic.py?topic=9346) offers quite a bit of reading to help you make your site ready for their mobile search engine, including directions to help you submit a site for their scans.

To submit to Yahoo: (http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/mobilesubmit) provides a user-friendly link that allows you to paste your site’s URL right into a blank box. Press submit, and you’re ready to start receiving mobile web traffic from Yahoo. This sounds simple, but remember that you may have to take special pains to make your site viewable (and attractive) to mobile users. Once you’ve submitted, however, you can focus on a larger goal: mobile SEO.

Submitting your site is just half the battle, you still have to SEO your mobile site. Here’s the good news, there is nothing more to learn regarding mobile SEO. Keyword usages and content styling is no different than SEO practices that you already used on your website.

For mobile SEO, you will also want to have keyword rich titles, subtitles, and content. Images with captions should also be keyword focused. In this, mobile SEO and standard SEO vary not at all. Keywords are still king, and content is still the placeholder for those all-important phrases.

Remember to keep basic SEO practices and principles in mind no matter what type of online content you’re creating, and your site will be optimized for computer and mobile users alike.

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