SEO Strategies for Smartphone Random Search Marketing

The trend towards miniaturization of devices with internet capabilities has become a factor that will alter the way that marketers present their content. Web searchers have been displaying increasingly shorter attention spans and the younger ages of cell phone owners has resulted in clipped web jargon to save on communication time. Mobile device owners tend to be people on the go, in a hurry, and impatient for instant gratification in the use of their airtime. These users have to be factored in when designing content so that your message will be noticed.

When a visitor comes to your web site you have about 3 seconds to grab their attention so that they can decide if they should interact with the site, whether it is to bookmark it for later reference, phone the company, click a link, or request information through a form. Your logo will be the first thing visible so the main message should follow in segments, left to right, top to bottom, and above the fold. A call to action early in the message would be a logical step in the fickle world of random search. Connecting the hook to the worm as close as possible will make a big difference in conversion success.

An SEO campaign must be effective enough to attain top 5 Google rankings for a healthy number of keywords. The percentages of SERPs that are viewed are compiled and updated using eye-tracking studies, and the latest figures indicate a much lazier search audience than 5 years ago. An incredible 88% of subjects clicked on the top 5 results without going farther; even more indicative is that 79% of them found what they were looking for in the top 3 search results (Source: Cornell University Eye-Tracking Study 2010); the other 7 results got just 21% of the traffic and about 1% bothered going to the second page.

These figures should be tempered with the fact that the test subjects were university students and the subject matter they searched dealt with things like entertainment, fashion, social issues, and intellectual material rather than shopping for goods and services. They might have developed surfing habits that allow them to recognize web site titles and description as the correct information simply by having narrowed their interests. Commercial searchers would want to compare more sites as part of the shopping process; they may not be as web-savvy as college students who move at warp speed when gathering ideas. An academic audience would include quick-thinkers who will try another query without clicking anything on the first search, recognizing a chance to narrow the search parameters.

It’s interesting to note that ranking position #7 gets the least attention as the user scrolls down to the bottom of the page. This is the effect caused by the page fold and is missed by the eye during the scroll-down. After spots 8-10 were examined, then the searcher went back to #7 to see what they missed; this actually caused more clicks on listing 7 on the way back up the page. The study made clear the importance of being visible in the power hit positions of the top 3 search results.

Due to the reduced keyboard typing that will be used for search terms on cell phones, the queries using long-tail keywords will be reduced, and so should the emphasis on optimizing pages for them. The search phrase will likely not go beyond 3 or 4 words. There have been private paid classifieds companies with in-house optimization teams who brag that they are #1 for something like “2381 Raleigh Avenue London Ontario apartments for rent” or some other ridiculous phrase that will never be typed into a search engine, and would never be considered by an SEO expert as a workable query. The web surfer would go to a free classifieds site like Craigslist, Kijiji, or to find a long list of apartments, the search engine optimization team at the private company is struggling to justify its existence to management, who may believe that there are customers out there who type over 50 characters into a search bar.

Condensed content, clipped in its wording and rich with keywords will work best on mobile searches. An image that is eye-catching is a must, and a video is supreme in getting the visitor involved. Google also loves videos and they should be placed on YouTube and your Google Places profile. Sharp has introduced a new Android phone in Japan with no-glasses 3D capability and they are planning to expand this into North America. This will create a need for more 3D content since game companies and movies have limited 3D material to fill the screens, so advertising and logos may incorporate 3D in future flash displays. Anything that catches the wandering eye of the web surfer will add to conversion ratios and it’s up to the SEO to stay on top of the rapid changes in the behavior of the potential customer.