Presented on June 13, 2013
In this mobile SEO webinar, Search Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller and David Murray, Senior UX Designer at WillowTree Apps, will show you what you need to be doing to build and optimize your mobile presence.
Presenters: Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO, Search Mojo and David Murray, Senior UX Designer, WillowTree Apps
Presented on June 13, 2013
Hello and welcome and thank you for coming to today’s webinar. I’m Kari Rippetoe, Content Marketing Manager at Search Mojo, and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s webinar. Before we get started I just have a few reminders. Firstly, a recording of this webinar will be made available to everyone who registered for the webinar and will be sent via email by Monday at the latest. Finally, we encourage you to tweet about today’s presentation using the hash tag, #mojowebinar. Plus, you can also follow us on Twitter at SearchMojo. And now I’d like to introduce you to today’s presenters.
Janet Driscoll Miller is the President and CEO of Search Mojo. She has nearly 20 years of marketing experience and in addition to her work in Search Engine Marketing, Janet has a background in marketing communications. She holds a degree in Public Relations and Communications from James Madison University, and she’s a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and writes for several blogs and print publications.
David Murray is Senior User Experience Designer at Willow Tree Apps, one of the largest and most respected mobile development companies in the U.S. He has spent almost ten years creating the higher education industry’s most successful and compelling digital campaigns and mobile applications. Before joining Willow Tree Apps, David was the Digital Creative Director at Richmond, Virginia based Digital Marketing Agency, Royal and Company. He currently lives and works in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Search Mojo was founded in 2005 and specializes in all things search marketing including SEO, pay-per-click, social media advertising, online reputation management, and content marketing. Search Mojo is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina. We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs, and we also speak at several conferences including SMX, Marketing Props, B to B Forum, and Pub Con. Our clients include a variety of B to B and consumer brands, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions.
Willow Tree Apps is one of the largest and most respected mobile development companies in the U.S., helping clients create and implement mobile strategies that help solve business challenges. They provide services such as user experience design and native and mobile app development. Willow Tree’s 52 person team is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and they’ve received several awards and recognitions for their work. They work with a variety of clientele which includes some of the world’s largest brands. And now I will be passing it over to Janet to kick us off with Mobile SEO, Janet.
Janet Driscoll Miller:
Thanks Kari. So to start off today I wanted to share with you some tips about mobile SEO, why you should be maybe considering a mobile SEO for your site, and just some other information about mobile. What you should be considering today when you’re thinking about mobile marketing.
So first off I want to show you that mobile search and desktop search is not always the same results. So on the left you’ll see a screen shot, well I actually had to take a photo of my phone that shows a search for pizza. On the right you’ll see a desktop search that I did for pizza on Google. What you’ll notice is that the results are actually very different in how they’re displayed and which results are showing up. So on the right-hand side is an example the third entry is Wikipedia whereas, on the left-hand side I’ve got a map and I’ve got the local Papa John’s showing up and so forth and the reason for this is that Google is anticipating that my search from a mobile device is likely, has a different intent than say from my desktop device. If I’m on a desktop, Google is inferring that I likely might want to know about the history of pizza or other types of information about pizza. I might not necessarily be ordering pizza. Whereas, likely from my phone, if I’m on the go and if I’m using my mobile device that it could be highly likely that I might be wanting to order a pizza or find a location. So what you’re starting to see is that mobile and desktop searches, in Google, are looking very different.
So why do you want to think about mobile SEO now? Well, this line, I actually just got this particular graphic today, it’s that hot off the presses, and what this shows is mobile traffic as a percent of global Internet traffic, not just the U.S., over the past few months and years. What you’ll see is that right now we’re seeing about 15% of global Internet traffic is for mobile devices. That really fits very closely with what we’re seeing here at Search Mojo for our own site even and so we’ll talk a little bit more about this as we go forward and give you some more statistics, but I can tell you that right now our own site is seeing an increase of up to 30% increase in mobile traffic to our site year-over-year.
So we know that there has been great increases and even Google is saying that at Google they have seen mobile search queries grow five times in the past two years. A lot of this has to do of course with the prevalence of smart phones and more searching from phones and so forth so that we’re able to do, and iPads and different types of tablets being very prevalent. So we’re seeing a lot more of opportunity out there for people to do this type of searching. So that is likely why they are seeing such great in-roads into more mobile searches at Google.
So now let’s talk about some of the best practices when it comes to mobile SEO. So the first thing you should take a look at is can the mobile Google bot even access your site? As you may now robots.txt is a file that is on your website, usually in the root directory of your website that helps to tell search engine robots what they should index and what they should not index. So just to be sure make sure that your mobile site is not being disallowed Google bot mobile. So that’s really the biggest risk with a lot of these I think, is that if you maybe didn’t have a mobile site before, or you didn’t want the mobile bot indexing your current site for some reason, you might have a disallow in there. That’s probably the greatest risk.
So disallow is not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just reserved for certain reasons. You just want to make sure that your disallowing directories and things that you don’t want the Google bot mobile to go into. So the example at right shows, for instance and admin or the shopping cart or something like that maybe you don’t want Google mobile bot to be indexing. It’s probably going to be very similar to what you would have, make sure that the Google bot for the desktop wouldn’t be indexing, but you just want to make sure that Google bot mobile doesn’t have anything hindering it’s ability to index your site and the robot.txt is a good place to start and look for that.
The other thing that I highly recommend is that if you have locations for your office, even if your just a business-to- business and you don’t have a lot visitors to your office, I still highly recommend that everyone have a Google Places Page. You can set these up through Google and they’re very easy to do and they’re free to do. So make sure you have a Google Places Page set up for each of your locations. Because as you can see here, in my screenshot, they show up very highly in mobile search.
You also want to create a mobile XML site map. Just like with desktop XML site maps you’re going to find that really helps the indexing and it really helps the mobile Google bot to find the mobile pages that you want indexed. This URL at the top here is instructions on how to create a Google XML mobile site map. This is what the schema looks like here, and you’ll notice if you’re familiar with XML site map that it looks really similar to the type of site map you may already be creating for the desktop, but it does actually indicate that it’s for mobile versus a desktop.
One thing to really keep in mind is the desktop rules of SEO really still apply. So the good rules about SEO that maybe apply to your website in general also apply when you’re thinking about mobile. So the first one, of course, content optimization. Getting the keywords into the content, formatting it well, all those things are important. One thing I really want to stress is if you have Flash on your website, really it’s always kind of best to not have Flash if you can avoid it because it does cause some problems; especially on mobile devices now because many mobile devices can’t even play the flash. So if you’re going to have Flash on your site you’ve got to make sure that it’s A; something people can use and b) it’s got to be accessible by search engine robots.
So if you got people coming to a mobile site you don’t want that Flash showing up for them, so you’ve got to plan for that. You’ve also got to plan for search engine robots and how they’re going to index that information and since they typically cannot read the information in Flash, it’s best to try and avoid it if you can, but if you can’t you can go a no script route and try to add information that way. Of course, inbound links. Inbound links are still very, very popular and important for linking for SEO or for SEO in general. So you want to make sure that you get quality inbound links to your site and that includes your mobile site.
You want to think also about the user experience. What is the searchers intent on your site? Because really when you think about it, SEO is great, but if you’re getting a lot of traffic from a mobile site and people get to your website that’s mobile- y based, but they can’t do anything or they don’t have the right options and so forth. The problem will be that they’ll just abandon and isn’t the whole reason we do SEO to get traffic to the site so they can do something. So they can convert in some way. So be sure to think about the device because I see this mistake a lot where websites aren’t taking into account the type of device and so sometimes you’re not getting the right format for the right device and it makes it very difficult as a searcher and as a visitor of the site.
You also want to think about minimizing typing that’s required. Because the reality is most people, unless maybe they’re on a pad and have a, or some type of tablet and have a keyboard that’s external, they may not want to do a lot of typing. So try and minimize the amount of typing required. You might consider using the Chrome auto-fill tagging option and as you can see with this particular example on this input type, all you have to do is add the X auto complete type, email as an example for email, you can see the auto complete type schema at this particular link here, the Wiki-what-wg.org and you can see what all the options are. Chrome is available as an example on a lot of mobile devices that can help really reduce the amount of typing someone has to do even if they do have to fill out a form if you have a mobile device.
As I mentioned before, Search Mojo has seen great increases in mobile traffic to our own site and that really kind of surprised me honestly because we’re a B to B company and I really didn’t think that a lot of people might be using a mobile device. My first impression was, and my first inclination was, most likely if people are coming to our site it’s through a tablet. When I started to dig deeper into our analytics what I found was that really the majority of people that come to our site actually come through iPhones and it’s a large majority. You see the brown pie piece there that says, other devices? That’s actually lots and lots of other devices. The iPhone was the largest, had the largest percentage of mobile visitors to our site and so we had to keep that in mind as we think about how we’re designing that experience for the people who are coming to the site. What are they going to see and how are they going to interact so that they’ll stay on our site? Even though we’re a B to B company, and we might not of thought that people would come through the iPhone, that’s how they’re coming to our site today.
I just got this chart today also and I thought this was really interesting about device interaction and how people are buying with mobile optimized websites. The three stats that I think are the most important or four stats here I think are most important, first one, 78% of smart phone owners and 75% of tablet owners pay attention to the look and feel of the company’s mobile website when deciding whether or not to make a purchase. I know I do, which I’ll show you some examples in a minute. Seventy-six percent of smart phone users and 78% of tablet users would return often to websites that look and work well on their devices. Of course, you don’t want to keep going back to a site that doesn’t work well. Forty-four percent would never go back. Never go back to websites that aren’t optimized for mobile and 52% would not return often. That’s a huge amount of people.
So if you do SEO and you bring people to the site and they have a bad user experience, guess what; they may never come back. They may never give you a second chance. So you’ve got to be really cognizant of that and one thing that’s super important I think in today’s society, is the fact that people are using smart phones for so many different things and tablets as well, but this was a shocking statistic to me, 85% of smart phone owners use their device for research prior to making a purchase. So, it doesn’t say what type of purchase, just online shoppers. It doesn’t say the price of the purchase or anything like that, but they’re doing this type of research so it’s really important to be cognizant of that, as you think about how you design your site and what kind of experience people are going to get once they get there through the mobile SEO.
This is an example of how two websites may look different. So for instance, on the left-hand side is Taco Bell’s desktop site, it has a lot of Flash on that site; and on the right-hand side you see their mobile site. See how it is, it’s formatted, there’s not a lot of typing, a lot of button pushing more than anything and there’s a lot of visibility to get to a lot of places deep in the site very quickly. This is one of my personal favorites, I shop at Gymboree a lot because I have small kids, and I like the way they do they’re site as well. If you look at the left it’s the desktop version, the right again the mobile phone version; and you can see it makes it very easy for me to get through the navigation very quickly and easily, to get to what I need to get to and that is ideal. I’ve actually, I’m one of the people who actually does a lot of purchasing via my phone for purchases online and this has worked really well for me.
So, should I be making mobile a priority? I think everyone is probably asking themselves, well this is all great, but maybe I’m not retail, should I be making it a priority? Well, I want to show you a couple slides to tell you why you should be making mobile a priority regardless of the type of company you are. The top industries by traffic last year that we’re seeing the most mobile traffic, the most percentage of traffic to their site as mobile included these, web publishing, retail, arts, government, accommodations like travel. Now I don’t think that’s really any shock and you see here the average is 18%. Ironically at Search Mojo, we have 18% of our site traffic on average is mobile traffic.
So we’re right there at the average even though we’re a B to B, you know, I think we all expect retail and travel to be up there and have high numbers, but even ours at 18% I was really surprised at how that was, but beyond those traditional places we think where we’re going to see mobile, the other thing that I think I want to highlight for you here is that where the areas where we’ve seen the most increases in mobile usage and look at this, B to C services, higher education. Higher education so colleges and universities a 156% increase in mobile traffic in one year. That’s huge. So universities who might not of really thought of this traditionally are now really having to enter this mobile world and communicate with folks more mobile-y and be prepared for that.
So how can you know if you need to be making this a priority again? Take a look at your Google analytics. If you use Google analytics you can go over to the menu on the left-hand side and under audience, you’ll see an area for mobile and you can look at devices. This is a snap shot of what ours looks like and you can see that we had 13.92% of our traffic in the past month was from mobile devices. You can also look at the actual device itself and see which ones are searched the most or used the most, I’m sorry, for mobile searching on your site and mobile use of your site and that can help you define how much of a priority you need to make a particular type of design for your site.
Now an ultimate question is okay, does all this design stuff is great, but isn’t a mobile ranking factor for mobile SEO. This study that was done by Resolution Media last year shows that right now that big blue area, 65.75% are basically saying those are not mobile sites. So a lot of the sites that are ranking right now in Google mobile search are not necessarily mobile ready sites, but what we know about Google is they like to ensure that there’s a good user experience and they like to ensure that you’re not going to have a back click, that they’re serving the best results possible for your device. So I’d expect at some point that they may make it a factor so I would definitely be prepared and again even if they don’t make it a factor, if you’ve got people coming to the site you want to make sure they get the best experience possible so you can convert them.
Another question I think a lot of people will ask is, do I need a separate mobile site? So this is from the same study from Resolution Media and you can see again these were not, for the most part, not separate mobile sites. For the most part they were not what we call mobile ready. So they were not necessarily mobile ready sites per se and so I’m going to now hand it to David, he’s going to talk a little bit more about the different types of design and user experiences. Now before he gets into his presentation, I want to mention that Google does recommend that of all the types of designs that you can do, they do recommend a responsive design, but it really might not be the only answer for you. It may not even be the best answer for you and what I want to encourage you to understand here, is that it doesn’t mean that you’ll not be ranked well. I mean this chart shows that these are for mobile sites and they’re not necessarily ranking any better. So don’t feel like you have to be responsive per se, and David’s going to explain why.
Thanks Janet. So I’m going to take you through a few of the most popular methods for creating a mobile version of your website and then in the end we’ll go through just a kind of, a quiz that will help you decide which version is best for you and as Janet said, there may not be a clear answer. It may be a combination of a few of them. It may be this one’s the best answer right now, but in the future you’re going to move to a different one. So we’ll go through them.
So we’re going to start with the most common one, the one that’s been around for the longest is having a dedicated mobile version of your site. Now with a dedicated mobile version, it’s, the reason why it started this way was because back in the day mobile devices just really weren’t capable of what we have now. So it was largely text based. Very tiny screens. Not a touch screen interface. So you had to have a separate version of your site. Now even though we have great smart phones now, mobile, a separate version might still be a great option for you.
So it’s going to be completely independent from your desktop site. It’s a different code based. Different design and it can be the same content, it can be very different content. It’s going to be custom set of codes. Fewer graphics. It’s going to be created with either the same tools that you used to create your main desktop site or there’s also a set of really great tools out there now that can make this very, very easy. So Mobify, Winksite and if you’re using a popular CMS like WordPress or there are plugins that actually make this very simple.
So some of the advantages of having a separate site for your mobile is it doesn’t interrupt anything you’re doing on the main websites. So you can easily just keep going, business as usual with your main desktop site and work on your mobile version outside of that. So that can be a really great option for many people especially if they need to get something out quickly. It’s relatively inexpensive because you typically use a lighter version of your site. You can do it while your main site is already up and running. So you don’t have to have a full redesign.
It’s a great option when your content is going to be different. So what you really need to do is sit down first and decide so my mobile users what are they typically going to be doing? If they’re going to be doing things that are very, very different, the contents very different, you’re reordering the content a lot, then this might be the best option for you.
Some of the disadvantages are you’re going to have two websites to maintain so you’ll see that it’s a pro and con here. If you need to make big, big changes in your content you’re going to have to do it twice. So that can be a disadvantage right there. Another one is as new mobile devices are released you’re going to have, almost every time, you’re going to have to go and test it on new devices. Depending on how you code the sites you’re going to have to add new calls to actually detect the new devices to make sure everything is still working.
Now the most popular right now, it’s the biggest buzz word over the last few years in web design is responsive web design. Some people are calling it adaptive design and depending on who you talk to while it’s been really the hot topic the last few years, it’s actually been around for quite some time. Web designers have been creating sites that they’ve called fluid for years and years and years. Now all that means is most of the elements scale, they’re using percentages instead of fixed width. So responsive, many people are talking about responsive right now and really referring to it as a desktop version and a mobile version and that’s not really the whole story.
The best thing about responsive is it actually it has multiple break points. You can set it up for desktop, tablet, tablet- portrait, tablet-landscape, all the way down to mobile and the same thing there, portrait and landscape. Or you can actually make it completely responsive. So with any screen size or device you’ll actually scale as well and some of the great things about that is, you know, we don’t always have our browsers maximized on our laptop or our desktop so it’s great. The site will scale down as your browser gets smaller and scale up as you maximize.
Another great thing is once you get to tablets, you know, right now we have three different screen sizes for Apple tablets, getting ready to have a fourth screen size. Android we have even more so the good thing about that is instead of targeting just a specific device and screen size, it’s completely responsive and scales to each one of those screen sizes and devices. Same thing with mobile. So as Apple and Google and all the other makers continue to release newer smart phones with a bigger screen, they keep going bigger and bigger, you’re site will still work if you actually make it 100% responsive, which is great. So it sort of future proofs itself.
The method that’s used behind the scenes to achieve these responsive sites is, they’re called CSS Media Queries. What it is, is your web designer or developer just goes into the style sheets that they use to design your site and they’re setting break points and they’re calling based on screen sizes. So here’s an example of responsive sites, William & Mary’s main site. You can see here they have the view for the full desktop. We have the iPad view that is in portrait and you can see there’s a couple things that are different here. So on the main site, in the navigation it has role levers where you roll over the navigation and then a sub menu will drop down and when you’re on a table or an iPhone we all know you don’t really have roll overs or hoover. So what they’re doing on the tablet view is the sub nav actually shows for you so you can actually touch it and then it scales down to the iPhone. Now it’s funny, they actually went almost the opposite direction with the iPhone and that’s really just for real estate. So the menu collapses into one, kind of, drop down box where you can tap that and expand it, but still view a decent amount of the content.
So we’re going to jump over and actually look at this so you can see that it’s not just three versions. It’s actually one version that scales all the way down to the smallest size. Okay, so here we have the William & Mary desktop site, so it’s really a responsive site, you don’t actually have to go to your mobile device to see what it will look like or go to your desktop or go to your tablet. You can actually open into your desktop and see right away whether a site is responsive or not by just dragging the browser. So they don’t have quite as many break points as I was just talking about. They have three or four break points, but you’ll see that as we minimize our browser, it will collapse into the tablet view. You see it’s actually still scaling; and that’s what I was talking about with, as we have different tablet resolutions being release almost quarterly, this will actually future proof that. You don’t have to have your web designers and web developers go back and update for a slightly larger screen or a slightly smaller screen. This one actually scales within the tablet break point and we’ll go all the way down to the mobile version. Again you can see it’s doing the same thing. It’s actually scaling a little bit inside the mobile view. So that’s the easiest way to see if your sites responsive.
Some of the things that you’ll also see that they’re doing is that they’re spacing the buttons out and a great resource when you’re designing for mobile whether your designing responsive sites or what we talked about the dedicated mobile site or the native version, which we’ll get to in a minute, a great resource is the Apple Human Interface Guidelines. Now they’re actually written for native applications, but they’re still a lot of great information in there, with just user experience guidelines. So things like minimum size for tap-able events whether it’s a button or a link, really giving some space and some padding. Now it’s 45 pixels by 45 pixels, just make sure that it’s the best experience; regardless of what programming method you choose to code your responsive site. It will help you set up the best experience for your user.
All right so some of the advantages we’ve already talked about. it’s universally accessible. It’s going to work for every kind of desktop, all different laptop sizes, desktop sizes, all the way to the humongous displays that we have now in our desktops. Current smart phones, future smart phones because it is scaling from really large all the way down to as small as we can get. So that’s the huge benefit. There’s going to be, it’s hard to find disadvantages of a responsive site, but we’ll go over a few of them. One of the other advantages is that there is just one site to create and maintain. It’s great if you have, you know, a decent amount of content changes you really do it once and it just makes things very, very easy.
It can be less expensive to develop and maintain than having a separate site or a native application, but honestly it really depends on what your site is. If you have a very large retail site such as Amazon or eBay, it can end up actually being more expensive. It just depends on what your market is, what your site is, and what your customers are going to be doing.
It’s great for SEO’s. Janet said it’s Google’s preferred method. It’s really, truly the best option for SEO so if that’s a huge concern for you, this is probably where you’re going to want to go. We talked about large content updates, it’s really a great option because it is one site to maintain.
Some of the disadvantages like I said, there aren’t many, but there are a few. The biggest one and it’s the hardest one to overcome and that is it just really is difficult to do as a layer on top of what you currently have. If you have, if you just redesigned or just deployed your first client-facing website, it is difficult. You can’t easily just go and make it responsive for mobile and tablet because it requires a lot of thinking up front with your web developer and how they’re going to code it. It requires a lot of thinking up front from your designer, they’re thinking about how they’re going to design something that scales. It’s just a different way of thinking.
So a lot of times you can go half-way back and just half-way redevelop it, but in general it’s always going to cost less if you do it from the beginning. So if you’re planning a redesign in the future, you might want to think about this now and prepare for it. This is where the first option we talked about, a dedicated mobile site, can actually come in handy. You’re planning redesign and it’s pretty far out, or you juts redesigned and you’re not going to redesign for awhile, the best option for you might be doing a dedicated site because it’s a quick and easy fix.
It’s not ideal when you have very, very different content between your desktop and your mobile sites; or if you plan on reordering the content. As Janet showed in the Taco Bell example, some of the content was actually being reordered a lot. I think they probably could of done a better job and Janet pointed this out earlier with me, they probably should not of had the news button first, I doubt that’s what the users really want to do. They probably want to find the nearest Taco Bell and it’s probably going to be late when they need to find it, and it needs to be easy. So if it’s going to be very different and really reordering the content a responsive site may not be the best option.
The third method and the last method that we’re going to talk about now is relatively new. Apple sort of started it with the iPhone and when they opened up the SDK and that’s a native app. So what is a native app? This may not be an option for you depending on what kind of website you have. It’s not, you don’t get to it by going to your browser. You’re going to have to go to the Apple app store or the Google Play store to actually download the app. Users are actually going to have to take the initiative to download the app, install it on their device, you know, log into their app store, but it will live on their device and once it’s there it’s there for good whether they have an internet connection or not.
So some of the advantages here are is it’s a closed environment. We know exactly what device the users on there’s only a handful of them. Whereas desktop and mobile web, you know, we have hundreds of different browser and platform and device combinations. So this we know exactly what they’re on so we can actually create literally the best user experience because it is so focused and controlled. One of the great things and probably the biggest thing is access to the smart phone features, location and GPS, access to pull up their cameras to take photos, access to their contacts. So things like sharing is great because if you want to share a link on your website, share an article, share, you know, you found a really great pair of shoes and you want to share it with your friend, it’s easy because you can just pull it up, you don’t even have to type in their email address, you just type their name and it’s accessing your contacts right there.
Another thing is sensors and some sites are getting really smart with this right now using location and sensors and augmented reality on, you know, viewing their store front right while your standing there and using your phone. So there’s really some great things you can do there.
A big one is offline storage. If you’re site has content that you think your users are going to need and want to access while they might not have a connection, this is really you’re only option. They can read content, they can watch videos, they can listen to audio all without a connection.
Another is push notification so you can interact with your customers instantly with push notifications. You know they can sign up for things, you know, they are really interested in a particular, you know, type of clothing if you’re selling clothing or you know, particular content that you’re publishing, you can actually send them push notifications right then. You don’t have to wait for them to go back and check through email, they see it right then and there so that’s great.
It’s really great for user contributed content or content that a user’s adding to, manipulating such as Facebook. You know, Facebook was very against having an app for several years, but it just, they finally caved and they don’t have a mobile site anywhere, they just have an app. Just user interacting with the content, adding content, changing content, using their cameras and accessing content so much that this was the best experience for them and it’s a large, large site as we all know so it’s an easier way to control the environment with such a focused effort on the device.
Some of the disadvantages, some of the things that Janet talked about, mobile SEO. Obviously it’s getting huge and as she mentioned Google is starting to prioritize content with mobile and I think you’re going to see that when she does the next webinar in this next year it’s probably going to be twice what it is now. So this is not very good for SEO, it’s a closed environment and she was talking about the robots.txt, there is no such thing. Search engines cannot crawl a native application so it’s closed off.
Another disadvantage is it must be downloaded from the app store. So if a user goes there they’re going to have to stop, go to the app store, download the application. So it’s a little bit of a barrier. It has to be submitted to the app store, you know, apparently Google’s Play Store does not have an approval process, but you can essentially put up anything you want and it’s there immediately.
Apple store is a little more controlled. There’s a two-week approval process so you’re going to have to wait. You’re going to have, if you’re site has anything that might compete with Apple, they’re going to deny them. If your site has, you know, there’s other things to that might prevent you from getting into the Apple app store so that can be a disadvantage.
Another thing is many of the updates that you need to make to your site will require you to do a new version of your app, upload to the app store, notify your users that they need to re- download the app to get those updates. So that’s a big barrier and a big disadvantage as well. And last is just app discovery can be a challenge. Like I said it’s harder to market these apps. They’re not crawled by search engines so you’re actually going to have to have specific marketing efforts for discovery of these applications.
So, let’s talk about which option is best for you. Now like I said before there may not be a clear winner. It may be a combination of a few of them. It may be one option is best for you right now, but ultimately another is the best option long road. So the first question is will you be taking advantage of smart phone functionality we talked about like GPS, camera functionality? If that’s the case, native is your best option.
If you’re going to have a complex UI design, as we talked about the native apps are, it’s a much more controlled environment so native wins there too.
If you have a limited budget, now this one’s a little tricky, dedicated mobile can be the least expensive by a lot. Responsive, it really depends on your site. So depending on what type of site you have, how large it is, how much content changes, responsive or dedicated mobile could really work for you right here. As we talked about, if SEO is really important to you, responsive is by far your best option. Do you have limited resources for maintenance? Do you have, you know, just one or two people or do you have a large dedicated team to maintain this website? If you have limited resources, responsive is it. Just one site.
Do you need a mobile site quickly and we talked about this a little bit and dedicated mobile you can get them up very, very quickly. Listed some of the services in the beginning that you can use if your sites running on WordPress, there are a handful of plugins. One of them is actually called, Mobile Prep, that’s the most widely used one. Depending on how you have your content set up inside of WordPress, it really can be one click of the button and you have a mobile site. If you need to get something out quickly and you’re running on WordPress, it’s a great option for you to have dedicated mobile.
So conclusion, you probably answered yes to some conflicting answers there. So like I said, there really isn’t a single best option, at least for the long haul. So we’re actually going to go through the [Verge]. This is one of our clients, it’s a site that produces articles really on anything technology and pop culture. So, they actually had, they had a, started out with a responsive site; and what they ended up doing is adding a dedicated mobile site as well as a native app. So as we saw with, when Janet showed the Gymboree site, that’s actually a dedicated mobile site, but inside the dedicated mobile it responds within a few break points to make it a little easier for, you know, iPhone, Android, tablets, Android tablets all in one, kind of, dedicated mobile site. So that’s what the Verge did, you can see here, here’s their full desktop site. It scales down to tablet and it’s almost identical, it just kind of reshapes some things and makes it a little more user friendly on a tablet.
You can see the iPhone on the left, this is where they have the mobile version, but they also have a little call out, they’re actually prompting their own app there. You can see in that little bar at the top that you can click there and download the actual Verge application. Now on the iPhone on the right you can see the Verge native app. So that’s where it’s going to be snappier, it’s a little better design, it has the toolbar at the bottom to help the user experience and the best feature of all if you don’t have an Internet connection, most of that content is being downloaded behind the scenes so it’s already there for you. So you can read the articles, read the full article and you can, you know, watch the video clips if they’re there. So it’s a great tool. So they’re actually covering all bases there and that might be the answer for you is to have a responsive site and a native application. Or you might need, if you just redesigned your site, the best option might be to do a dedicated mobile and plan for a full responsive site in your next release.
Okay, thank you so much David, and if you are interested in hearing more about Search Mojo’s services you can reach out directly to Janet and start a conversation and there is her contact information there. If you’d like to get in touch with Janet or David and connect with them, there is some of their contact information through Twitter and also for Willow Tree Apps as well. You can connect up with them. Thank you very much for coming to today’s webinar and we hope to see you again soon. Register for our next webinar, Unlocking The Lead Generation Potential of Search and Social Media happening June 27th at 2:00 p.m., eastern and presented by Search Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller and Sara Lycotes. Register at search-mojo.com/lead-gen.