With the prevalence of mobile devices such as tablets and Smartphones, it is becoming more and more necessary to adapt both your website and your SEO strategy to accommodate to users needs. But where do you start?

One of the biggest issues of building a mobile site is that there are many different ways that you can do so, which can be confusing, stressful and often even pointless. For example, you may choose to build a separate site with a separate URL, but when considering SEO and your overall Google ranking, this can become a hindrance. Or, you may choose to build a separate site that takes the place of your main website when accessed by a mobile device. However, this can also frustrate users who may not realise it’s the same site, or worse, need something that can only be accessed via the main website.

In short, before you begin to embark on creating a mobile site for your business, determine what you hope to achieve from it, and what role it will serve users. Once that has been confirmed, you can choose which type of mobile site you want to create.

If you are unsure as to what your users want or need from your mobile site, ask yourself the two following questions; what content do you want to provide for your mobile users? And how will you offer that content to them?

What content do you want to provide for your mobile users?

In the most basic terms, there are two ways that you can create your mobile site; either it is the same content and layout as your main site, or the content varies, dependent on what you think users most want or need.

As we have stated in a previous SEO TV webisode, what users want from some websites can differ greatly if they’re accessing it from a mobile site. Often people want information straight away, without having to scroll through unnecessary information that doesn’t interest them. Sometimes, they need to know the timing or schedule of something immediately, and anything else will just hindrance them and slow down the loading time.

Overall, ask yourself what conversions you hope to achieve from your mobile site and decide whether there is a different, better way that you can present them to your user when they’re accessing their phone or tablet. If this is the case, adjust your content where necessary, but if not, adhere to the same content that you have on your main website.

While knowing what your main business goals are is necessary, you can better understand your mobile users activity and wants by employing your web analytics, which will you give statistical clarity as to what you need to achieve with your website.

What type of mobile site do you need to create?

Responsive websites:

A responsible mobile website is one that contains the same content as your main website, but adjusts the layout according to what sort of device a person is accessing it on, whether that be desktop, laptop or mobile.

While creating a responsive site does has its drawbacks initially, as the length of time and overall cost may seem expensive, and it would mean rebuilding the main site as well, the advantages are numerous:

• After the initial changes, updates can occur simultaneously, as both sites would be linked
• Furthermore, these links to your original desktop website will automatically direct back to your mobile site, already beginning the optimisation process before SEO has begun
• It provides a convenient and easy option for mobile visitors, who will be impressed and relieved when it changes to their device

Separate mobile sites:

If you have otherwise decided to have separate content for your mobile visitors, then it’ll be easier and far less complicated to have a separate website. Not only does this mean that you’ll be catering directly to your mobile visitors, but you’ll also avoid limitations that stem from your main website.

Furthermore, while the site can be mostly the same as your desktop site, you still have the ability to target different keywords, overall increasing your rankings for mobile search engines, as well as targeting a wider audience.

As the main website doesn’t have to be redesigned, you have the option of reconfiguration and testing new ideas on the mobile site, which may be particularly useful for larger websites that may be more inflexible about changes. Lastly, because the main website won’t be affected, the initial build is simpler and you want have to set up CSS media queries when creating the lay out.

However, while there are numerous benefits to a separate site, overall responsive websites are considered easier to create and are better long-term. If you do decide to choose a separate mobile site, make sure to make it responsive as well, by utilising the different SEO techniques that are available.

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