When a mobile Web site isn't optimized properly for smartphones, the company's search query results drop two positions in the ranking, according to research released Tuesday by BrightEdge. It may not seem like much, but it also influences click-through rates. One glitch in optimization performance could push first-page results to the second page and send profits plummeting.
The rankings between desktop and smartphones also have become more unique. In fact, 62% of the keywords rank differently between desktop and smartphones, per the research. "The mobile opportunity: How to capture upwards of 200% in lost traffic."
BrightEdge's research found that 27% of Web sites are not properly optimized for smartphone searches, losing an average 68% of traffic to their sites. Correcting the error to increase traffic means that companies could see a 212% jump from what they get today.
The company estimates that iPhone and Android devices now hold 23% of the organic traffic share and will grow to more than 50% this year. Smartphones and tablets comprise about one-third of organic search traffic.
Separate mobile URLs experienced the most implementation errors, per the report. No HTTP Vary caused a 41% error; wrong conical, 35%; wrong alternate, 2%; no alternate, 61%; disallow, 16%; and redirecting pages to mobile home page, 12%. The report guides readers through the errors and what to do to correct them.
BrightEdge tracks billions of keywords and pieces of content for a variety of clients, including about 30% of Fortune 100 companies. This paper explores how the various approaches to mobile perform relative to one another, and common errors associated with traffic loss, analyzes mobile configurations, ways to determine the configuration to adopt for smartphone users, and associated benefits and challenges of each type of configuration.
Marketers must consider the long-term maintenance overhead. The amount of money to do this correctly continues to increase, said Jim Yu, BrightEdge co-founder. "Think about how difficult it was to follow SEO best practices, and now you have conditional logic for pages that need to point to each other and serve the correct headers," he said. "It's important for marketers to think about this as they develop their Web sites and understand the tradeoffs."
Today, Google supports the following three mobile configurations. Responsive Web design serves the same URL and same HTML to all devices, using CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. Dynamic serving means Web sites serve the same set of URLs to all devices, but the HTML and CSS changes depending on the device. Finally, separate mobile sites create unique mobile experience from the desktop version, and the URLs are different. Sometimes it's the entire site or specific pages within a site