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Using Mobile Optimisation to Win on Google AdWords


by textmagic on 8th March 2012

Today we welcome a post from Text Magic who take a look at Google AdWords changes that affect mobile websites.

If you follow Google’s Mobile Ads blog, there is a very good end-of-the-year post that pretty much covers all the reasons why you need to be considering mobile in your digital marketing.

The time has long passed when we could comfortably ignore mobile. But, in November, Google announced a key point that anyone using Google AdWords to run campaigns for mobile search traffic needs to pay attention to.

Mobile website optimisation is now a ranking factor in the Google AdWords ad Quality Score for all mobile search traffic. Which means that the AdWords system visits your website and determines how good the visitor’s experience will be when they view the page(s) on a smartphone.

“Ads that have mobile optimized landing pages will tend to perform better in AdWords — they will generally drive more mobile traffic at a lower cost.”

If you already run a mobile version of your website, Google recommends that you confirm with your webmaster that the right version of your site is shown to the AdWords mobile user-agent. There is more on this in their support pages.

But my website looks the same…just smaller

Most smartphones can render your webpage. Except that Flash banners won’t show up on an iPhone. The text is tiny, but users can zoom. Oh, and the calls-to-action are practically invisible.

Your website was designed for a nice big desktop browser. When your visitor arrives on a smartphone, they will need to work extra hard to read and find their way around. As they probably on the move, they are short on time, so this extra work is really working against you.

This actually isn’t new news. It’s just time to do something about it.

Take a look at the GoMo website to see Google’s mobile initiative. The amount of effort they are putting into helping businesses and webmasters create mobile versions of websites should tell you something about how serious all this mobile stuff really is.

AdWords has always determined ad rankings partly on the Quality Score of the website the ad links to. The AdWords user-agent examines your site pages and rates it on factors such as text, landing page keyword optimisation (SEO), HTML/CSS best-practices. Now it simply adds mobile optimisation scores to the mix.

A lower quality score will lower the performance of your AdWords ads.

A whole new way of thinking about content

Optimising your website for mobile is much more than playing with the style sheets so it looks nice. It also involves a different way of thinking about what is displayed: which calls-to-action; how many buttons; what offers. You need to prioritise what is most important to you and to your end-user, and only put that your screen.

That means you probably won’t be having that long ‘vision and mission’ text on your mobile site. You might just want your contact info first.

For example, restaurants would look to highlight opening hours, offer a map and give click-able directions to the location. A good button call-to-action would be for today’s specials.

Check out your site now

Google makes this easy on digital marketers too. The tools on HowToGoMo.com feature a GoMoMeter preview tool that lets anyone see how their website looks on various smartphones. You’ll even be able to get recommendations on how to improve your mobile website so it’s easier for people to view (and better for your Google ad rank too).

Once your site is optimised for mobile, you’ll need to keep up with other mobile best practices, but that’s for another post.

The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.



Pavel Webb specializes in mobile marketing and is passionate about mobile technology in general. He has over 5 years of experience in SEO and website monetization. Pavel currently is an affiliate manager at TextMagic, a bulk SMS gateway based in the United Kingdom.


  • Andrew Tonks 13th March 2012

    I recently came across ‘Our Mobile Planet’ which has been put together by Google and the Mobile Marketing Association – contains various interactive data sets on the role of mobile in various international markets.

    Great to use if you’re considering the role mobile might play in marketing in a particular market.

    View the site at: http://www.ourmobileplanet.com/

    Reply to this comment

  • Cloud Servers 2nd May 2012

    Is there any way to distinguish the mobile traffic from regular desktop traffic in adwords?

    Reply to this comment

  • Andrew Tonks 3rd May 2012

    The best practice to distinguish between the performance of an account via desktops, mobiles and tablets would be to set up dedicated campaigns for each device. Doing so will allow you to see the performance of your account for each device and will allow you to implement devices specific bidding strategies.

    If you would still like to bid on various device types from the same campaign, you can see the performance of the account via each device by going to the campaigns tab in your AdWords account, then click the ‘Segment’ button and select ‘Device’. Doing so will then show you all relevant data segmented according to device.

    Hope this help, any questions – let us know.

    Reply to this comment

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