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Mobile Search Tips and Best Practices

Andy Williams

by Andy Williams on 7th April 2011

Mobile search is rapidly becoming more and more important. With businesses continuing to see an increase in the number of visitors coming to their sites via a mobile device it is becoming more and more important to include a Mobile search strategy as part of your online marketing plan.

But is Mobile SEO any different to usual SEO?

Mobile Search

Well no, not really, however there are areas that should be approach slightly differently.

Here are some mobile search tips and best practices to look into.

Keyword Research

Although the theory is the same, Keyword research for mobile search is slightly different.

Research has shown that mobile searchers use shorter search terms than anyone carrying out a search on a PC or laptop.

Google’s own research has highlighted that the average search query carried out on Mobile search is 15 characters long. This process takes around 30 key presses and roughly 40 seconds to enter. As a result the search engines don’t have much to work with making it harder to provide users with a quality experience or results.

It is also important to highlight that a majority of searches have a local theme to them. Google again reports that 33% of smartphone searches are local.

With this in mind a good starting point is to take you existing list of terms and add locations to them.

Google Adwords Keyword Research tool includes an option to research mobile terms.

Choose “Advanced Options” and change “Show Ideas and Statistics for” option to one of the mobile options.

Title Tags

As previously mentioned, the time it takes for a mobile searcher to carry out their command is around 40 seconds. Therefore it is best to keep your targeted terms shorter than you would a normal campaign.

You will probably find that your keyword research dictates this anyway but just be aware that your Title tags shouldn’t abide by the same rules. Try to keep it short but local.


A mobile Sitemap should be created and submitted (in the same way you would a regular Sitemap).

The format example below is from Google (note the tag ,mobile:mobile/>, this needs to be included:

<?xml version=”1.0? encoding=”UTF-8? ?>
<urlset xmlns=”http://www.sitemaps.org/schemas/sitemap/0.9?

Google information page: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=34648

Mobile Search engines

In the world of Mobile search there isn’t one dominant search engine. Google doesn’t rule the roost here and so it’s important to ensure that you are included on all the main mobile search engines:

Medio : http://medio.com/partners/addyourmobilesite/

Bango : http://www.bango.com

Sprint : https://developer.sprint.com/site/global/home/p_home.jsp

Mobiseer : http://www.mobiseer.com

Abphone : http://www.abphone.com

Vtap : http://www.vtap.com/index.html

Dotmobi : http://mtld.mobi/sitesubmit

Crispy : http://www.crispyweb.com/submitmobile.htm

AOL : http://wap.aol.com

Yahoo! Mobile : http://siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/mobilesubmit

Taptu : http://taptu.com/a/submit?ps=Q1A9b

Google Mobile: http://m.google.co.uk

And as with any Local Search campaign, make sure you have a verified Google Places profile.

Andy Williams

Andy Williams

Andy Williams, our DADI award winning Digital Marketing Manager will be giving you useful insights into local search and the overall SEO landscape. Andy has over 9 years experience in the SEO industry including 2 years as the in-house SEO consultant with a leading Web Design company.

1 Comment

  • Ray 10th April 2011

    That’s exactly what I told my Customers again and again, mobile SEO isn’t really different from Web SEO. You just have to take Care of the user Interface. Very interesting is, which mobile Device use the mobile Search, because most of the handsets are routed to the Web search.

    Reply to this comment

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