Is Your Blog Ready For Mobile Search Traffic?

To kick off the New Year, I’m doing a mini interruption on the How To Bring Your Team Online Without The Overwhelm series to address one of the most powerful trends in 2011.

Mobile, Mobile and Mobile!

While talk of the mobile explosion is nothing new, you might not have known that there is such a thing as mobile search results. And mobile search results are different from standard desktop results as they are generated by Googlebot-Mobile. Yep he or she, is a special bot dedicated to mobile!

If you don’t want to be missing out on the massive chunk of traffic being generated from mobile devices, it’s time to ‘mobilize’ your blog. Here’s just a tiny snippet of what’s being generated from the current explosion:

  • Last month Amazon reported that it’s now seeing more than $1 billion per year of products ordered via mobile
  • eBay says that nearly $2 billion of the $53 billion on merchandise transactions took place via mobile
  • On top of that eBay says that mobile payment volume for PayPal increased 5 times in 2010 compared to 2009
  • According to Cisco, mobile data traffic will double every year through to 2014

If these stats had you frantically whipping out your iphone to check if your blog looks ok, you’re not alone as that’s exactly what I did! And since it looked fine, I breathed a sigh of relief until it dawned on me that my phone, is only one of literally hundreds of available phones.

The best way to get a true indication of how your blog performs on a mobile is to test it on a mobile Emulator

When I tested mine, the results weren’t pretty! First I tested it using mobiReady and came out with a score of 2:

I also tested it on W3C Mobile Ok Checker and it came back with 3 critical issues and 4 severe. So much for thinking my iphone was a valid test!

Luckily for WordPress users, there’s a plugin for practically everything!

I decided to test WPtouch and WP Mobile Detector by installing them one at a time, and then running them through the above sites and checking the results. With one click on a button, WP Mobile Detector immediately took my blog from Bad to Fair on mobiReady and from 3 critical issues and 4 severe to zero on W3C checker. And that was just from installing the plugin without making any of the changes the sites recommended. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for WPtouch as my ratings on both sites remained the same after installation. I’m sure this might have been different if I was prepared to spend hours working out the settings but I was looking for ease of use. In this instance, the WP Mobile Detector plugin wins hands down. Not to mention that WPtouch requires you to upgrade to the pro version if you want it to work on an ipad.

If you need another incentive to get cracking on mobilizing your blog today, remember that mobile search results (your rankings) are different to desktop results.

So it makes sense that in order to boost your mobile rankings, standard SEO practices should apply. And since Google openly admits they are obsessed with page speed (just one of over 200 factors contributing to their ranking algorithm), you don’t want to take any chances on how long it will take your graphic heavy/widget laden blog to load on a tiny mobile device. In their own words “Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.” So the last thing you want is to have your rankings negatively effected by those pesky mobile Googlebot-Mobile results!

Well that’s it for today’s post and I hope to be finding more of you crushing it in the mobile SERPS as 2011 continues. If you found this post useful, don’t forget to tweet it, like it, share it and spread the word. As always your comments and questions are welcome below.


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19 thoughts on “Is Your Blog Ready For Mobile Search Traffic?”

  1. Oh dear, I got 2 on the first one and 3 critical/3 severe on the second one *rushes off to install mobile plugin*

    Thanks for the awesome tip, it’s not something I’d really thought about, well because my iPhone does display it OK!

    P.S. I love the colours on your blog header ;)

    • Elle, sounds like similar warning bells to what I got!

      It’s great that these Mobile Emulator sites exist so we can test all of this out. I was exactly like you for a while there thinking the display on the iphone was the be all and end all.

      Thanks for the comment on my blog header. I hadn’t really thought about it being girly until you pointed it out on Facebook :) In any case it’s overdue for a major overhaul.


  2. Michaele,

    The first thing I did when i landed on your blog was to
    subscribe to your RSS feed. Your blog rocks!

    Now to my question on this post – I am convinced of the
    move that is happening to going mobile, and YES page
    load time is critical! So what is your recommendation
    on the best page caching plugin for wordpress to speed
    up mobile page loads?

    Thanks, Robert

    • Hey Robert,

      Thanks for the awesome feedback. I’ve only been managing to get around one post a month out of late but it’s people like you that make every minute worthwhile!

      You are spot on with page speed. The plugin I use (highly recommended) is W3 Total Cache and it works in perfectly with WP Mobile Detector.
      After you’ve installed both, make sure you go to the WP Mobile Detector FAQ page which will show you where to adjust the settings for W3 Total Cache.

      I hope that helps.

      P.S. If you have a blog up and running, make sure you take advantage of ticking the CommentLuv box before you submit a comment. I’m sure others here would love to check out what you’re up to :)

  3. You know, that is a very good question. I have never thought about whether my visitors are coming from mobile devices. Unfortunately, I do not really know anything about the mobile format nor I use wordpress on most of my sites. You made me think about this. Thank you for sharing, I will start searching for this information right away. I can’t imagine how much potential traffic I am wasting here. Subscribed via Twitter.

    Daniel from the Sock buster.

    • Hi Daniel,

      I think a lot of people are in the same boat as you in terms of not having thought about the potential traffic they are losing.
      I’m not sure what platform you’re using for your sites, but it’s great to hear you are going to look into a solution!
      You can still use the Mobile Emulator sites to check how your site is performing in the meantime.


  4. Michaele,

    What a great blog post! I am the author of the WP Mobile Detector and I just wanted to pop in and say thanks for pointing out the value that the WP Mobile Detector can provide.


    As for a caching plugin, look into W3 Total Cache, it is a pretty nice caching plugin.

    • Hey Eric,

      Great to see you’re monitoring your brand and found this post!
      I tested a few plugins before writing this post and WP Mobile Detector rocks!
      Thanks so much sharing your skills with the WP community :)


  5. Hi Michaele,
    I feel the luck because of mobile search traffic. I have added it on all of my blogs. Often times, I get traffic from it. It works well to increase traffic.

  6. Hi Michaele,

    I have been reading a lot of topics about using mobile phone in blogging. This is awesome. I am not so familiar in using my phone but I will look forward to making it happen soon. I love to read more on your articles about this. Cheers!

    • Hey Clark,

      Awesome to hear you’re keeping up to speed!
      If you’re not familiar with mobile search traffic now, you will be very soon.


  7. I couldn’t agree more on how important it is to optimize our blogs Fazal.

    By the way, I went to check out your post above and it’s leading to a 404 error. Just thought I’d let you know :)


  8. Hi Michaele,
    Should the owner of little site care about this? I think that is not bring significant traffic for blog (maybe for this time)…

    Btw, the discussion on your site is great and feel alive, I like that :)

    • Hey Ron,

      No matter what size your site/blog is, having it ready for mobile search traffic is crucial.
      The traffic is already significant and is increasing day by day. You definitely don’t want to be left behind!

      Thanks for stopping by and contributing to the discussion :)


Comments are closed.