Designing websites for mobile devices

Many local search engine optimization strategies focus on designing websites and content with high concentrations of industry-specific keywords to help businesses become more visible to consumers searching for products or services through online search engines. While it is important to thoroughly optimize all websites for improved business results, it is also vital for companies to build optimized websites specifically for mobile devices to further boost visibility and accessibility for consumers on the go.

In response to the growing number of companies developing mobile websites to cater to consumers on their smartphones and tablets, Google recently laid out recommendations and best practices for company webmasters looking to optimize these mobile websites or applications. Google suggests webmasters try to duplicate their SEO strategies implemented for their standard website in their mobile initiative. If a company opts to create new content on their mobile website or application, Google recommends creating a unique HTML using the same URL through dynamic serving or on a different URL to establish an independent presence.

In a blog piece for SEO Moz, optimization expert Slavik Volinsky created a guide for online marketers looking to an online mobile presence. Many marketers and SEO companies are using responsive web design techniques  to allow the site to adjust to the screen size of the device. The technique allows companies to create a flexible online presence optimized for all devices to increase accessibility.

Not all companies, however, opt to use responsive web design techniques. Volinsky said while some marketers consider responsive design the best way to improve the user experience on mobile phones, others prefer to create a separate mobile site or launch a mobile application instead. If the company creates a separate mobile site, they can host it on the m sub-domain, developing it from scratch. The site will redirect consumers to a mobile-specific location once it detects that they are browsing from a smartphone or tablet.

Mobile apps, on the other hand, are designed for each type of mobile device and take advantage of smartphone and tablet hardware capabilities to enhance the user experience. While mobile apps may cost more to develop, they are useful for companies, whose customer base is comprised of smartphone users. Mobile apps, however, are not part of the open web and cannot be ranked by search engines. Thus, optimization strategies focus on mobile or standard website developments and designs, Volinsky said.