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Mobile SEO and what you need to know #seo #mobile

First off, let’s define what SEO is and what it means to businesses online. SEO is Search Engine Optimization, this is a method that is used to tell search engines, like Google, just what your website is about. With proper and relevant SEO techniques employed, search engines can rank your website in relation to searches that people are making, the better the mobile SEO, the more likely your website is to appear close to the top of search results when people do a search relevant to your business.

So how does goMobi do SEO?

Well first of all we check to see if your existing desktop site has Google’s Webmaster Tools enabled. We then link the goMobi mobile site to the same account as the equivalent desktop site, you will be asked to confirm that you want to add your mobile site to the account by Google. If you do not have a Webmaster Tools account enabled I suggest you do it today. The service is free and it provides a deep insight into many aspects of your web properties.

The next step is to add a Sitemap. An XML Sitemap is a document that contains code that lets search engines know what pages you have on your site. Find out all about XML Sitemaps from Google. A Sitemap is especially important for making use of ‘Canonical URLs’. What is a Canonical URL? Well to answer this, first I want to talk about a file called robots.txt. For anyone who doesn’t know what a robots.txt file does I shall explain briefly. A robots.txt file tells crawlers, or robots, that visit your website what URLs to crawl and which ones not to crawl. It has been suggested by Google that it might be better if you remove the robots.txt file altogether. The philosophy behind this is that all content should be visible and if you want to hide something that you should do it by password protecting the content rather than using a robots.txt file. One of the reasons people also use robots.txt to stop crawlers from indexing pages is because many pages have similar content, the use of canonical URLs should solve this while also making the entire site visible to search engines.

google-mobile-seoA canonical URL will list a preferred and alternate page which will enable them to better understand the entire site and rank accordingly. When you upload a Sitemap to goMobi we will automatically generate canonical URLs in your mobile site to let search engines view the mobile page and desktop page as a single entity, this avoids pages being viewed as replicated content by search engines. If your website uses a CMS such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal then our redirection plugins will automatically handle all the canonical URLs for you. If you don’t have a CMS, I would recommend adding canonical URLs to the desktop site and desktop Sitemap. Here is further information about canonical URLs from Google.

Letting search engines know that you have a mobile alternative to your desktop content will help improve your search rankings, particularly if someone is using a mobile device, and keep in mind mobile device browsing is forecast to overtake desktop browsing before the end of 2014.

Speed is an important factor that search engines now take into account and having a site optimized to load quickly can also have an impact on your ranking. As mentioned in a previous post about mobile templates, having DeviceAtlas -the world’s leading device detection software- behind goMobi means we have some of the fastest loading sites you can find on the web.

Finally we also use ‘Vary HTTP’ headers. This is done automatically for you if you use one of our CMS plugins on your site. This means that when a request is made to your website that your website takes into account the ‘User Agent’ that is making the request. This helps when there is an instance of cached content, it tells the server to look at what device is requesting the data and then serves the appropriate content, or the preferred cached content in relation to that device. This way, someone browsing from a desktop won’t get a cached page that is meant for a mobile device and vice-versa. Vary HTTP headers also serve as a signal to search engines that the site has mobile adapted content which helps them to index the pages faster and more efficiently. Read more about Vary HTTP headers here.

So now you know how goMobi does its mobile SEO. Search engine optimization is very dynamic and the rules can change pretty quickly and quite often. Here at goMobi we do our best to try and stay at the cutting edge of all aspects of mobile development. If you have any questions or queries please do not hesitate to engage with us through social media or contact us directly via email.

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