Mobile searching now out numbers desktop searching. In fact, there is a good chance you are reading this on a mobile device. Grab a cup of tea, and review this checklist for developing your business' mobile digital strategy.

Whether you are a B2B or  B2C business, your mobile presence is key to your digital success.

The ubiquitous smartphone is leading the way when we are searching, when we are consuming content, when we are reaching out to communicate.

Not that many marketers have any doubt about the importance of having a mobile digital strategy, but if you still need convincing then be sure to take a read throuogh Dave Chaffey at SmartInsights’ compilation of useful set of mobile marketing statistics that you can use to set priorities.

Your mobile digital strategy checklist: the first 8 questions

Of course, mobile marketing is a massive area but what this post will provide is a framework for you to review your mobile performance, and start to plan your way forward in the mobile world.

Here are the areas I’ve chosen to cover for you today:

  1. Is your website mobile friendly?
  2. Are you creating content specifically designed for mobile users?
  3. Do your email marketing messages delight mobile recipients?
  4. How can your harness “near me” searches for customers local to your business?
  5. What is your strategy for your mobile advertising campaigns?
  6. Is your social media messaging aligned with the needs of mobile users?
  7. Have you refreshed your marketing strategy for your apps?
  8. How much impact is accelerated mobile pages (AMP) having in your mobile strategy?


1. Make your website mobile-friendly in Google’s estimation

A key moment in the transition to the mobile word was Mobile-geddon in April 2015, when Google announced that mobile friendly web pages would get priority in the mobile search results.

And in November 2016 Google  announced  it is experimenting with mobile first indexing which will primarily use the  mobile version of your website in the search engine rankings. Google has recently announced that the mobile first update will not roll out until 2018 at the earliest so there is still time for you to get focused on addressing your mobile priorities

And Google has embedded it’s mobile friendly testing tool right in the search results if you have any doubts as to how well you mobile site performs:

Google mobile friendly tool search results

Your mobile search checklist

  • Use Google’s mobile friendly test on all your pages (not just your home page)
  • Don’t rely on these results slavishly.
  • If you have a responsive website that services identical content on both desktop and mobile devices then you have no worries
  • But if you have created a mobile experience that minimises text content then you need to be planning for the mobile first indexing roll out, and how you are going to incorporate that rich text into your design. We have written a guide to planning for the mobile first world

Mobile user experience

Google is also most interested in how your mobile website satisfies your users’ needs. A great mobile design will lead to more satisfied users requirements.  Google has published a best practice guide to mobile app user experience (UX) which I think is also an incredibly good guide to creating a mobile friendly website. The four underlying principles are

  • Remove roadblocks to usage.
  • Make conversion decisions simple
  • Provide the ultimate in convenience
  • Self service engagement and delight

2. Content driven mobile SEO

The rules for optimising content in a mobile world is different to the desktop world.

The intention of mobile users is usually significantly different, their position in the customer journey is different, their needs are different. And you need to be developing content that meets their needs at that specific moment.


Keyword research for mobile

First, it would be useful to go back to your keyword research and identify those mobile-centric keyword searches and themes for your brand or business. A good place to start? Google Analytics. Use the Audience -> Mobile report to find out how your site performs on mobile in comparison to desktop:

mobile keyword research google analytics
Audience Mobile Overview, Google Analytics

While for some businesses it would be normal for desktop traffic to still be higher than mobile, it is always worth bearing in mind that a low amount of mobile traffic in comparison to desktop could indicate that you have work to do on making your website mobile-friendly.

Google Search Console also has a useful report under Search Traffic > Search Analytics > Queries that shows you desktop vs mobile clicks, impressions, click through rate and position, for specific queries used to find your website:

google search console mobile query report
Search Analytics Queries, Mobile Vs Desktop, in Google Search Console

This is a good place to discover key terms or topics that have more mobile clicks in comparison to desktop, which you need to pay attention to for your mobile SEO strategy.

The Google Keyword Planner features a ‘mobile trends’ section, so you can see which of the keywords you are already targeting have the most search on mobile while searching for potential new queries that you want to build into your strategy:

Google Keyword Planner Mobile Trends
Mobile Trends – Google Keyword Planner

Mobile content hubs

My colleague Michelle wrote an insightful blog on content hubs. Once you have identified the keywords and themes that are mobile-centric for your business, assess whether you have been exhaustive in addressing those themes and identify gaps where you can create content hubs specifically for mobile traffic.

Google created an article on building a ‘Mobile-Centric Search Strategy’ which shares some useful insights.

When you create content for mobile, think about how you can present it in the best possible way across devices. This is particularly important if you don’t think you have quite hit the nail on the head yet with getting your website to be a mobile-friendly, seamless experience. If you know specific content performs well on mobile, can the layout of the page content be improved for mobile screens, the calls-to-action reviewed, are there any quick wins to optimise conversions?

Don’t forget to monitor the performance of any content you create for mobile, and pay attention to how it performs across devices.

Reporting tools

A word of caution when it comes to keyword reporting tools and mobile rankings. Most tools currently have difficulty in successfully reporting on mobile search results to the same calibre we are used to with desktop reporting. Cindy Krum speaks about this in a Moz article, stating that often, these tools can not report on things such as OS, app pack rankings, location and connection speed.

Particularly for commerce, it would be worth setting up cross device reports in Google Analytics, to connect multiple sessions across devices.

3. Email marketing

I’m sure you read your emails on your smartphone. We all do.

But have you focused specifically on improving your mobile email experience? It could well pay dividends.

Litmus analysed more than 17 billion emails, and well over half of emails are now opened on a mobile device.

mobile opens by enviroment

In fact, mobile email opens have grown exponentially since 2011, as reported by Campaign Monitor. Not only that, they have found that mobile email readers who open an email again a second time from a different device are “65% more likely to click through.”

That being said, email marketing is an important part of your mobile strategy. You need to ensure your email campaigns are compelling, and focus on optimising thoroughly for both mobile and desktop viewing.

4. Local search optimisation

One of the most dramatic changes in search behaviour is the Near Me search, showing local intention for products and services. See Google Trends data for search for behaviour over the last two year including the phrase “near me” but also keep in mind that Google may also assume implicitly that you are looking for local content.

The latest search quality guidelines document from Google states that “for many or most queries, the user location does not change our understanding of the query and user intent” (page 58-59).

However, for queries where the user defines an ‘explicit location’, which may or may not match their actual location, they are telling Google exactly what they want to see. For example, ‘hotels in London’ or ‘I need a hair salon in Leeds’. These are the search queries that you need to pay extra attention to and ensure you are targeting where relevant to your business.

5. Creating a mobile paid advertising campaign

If you are running any PPC campaigns, it is worth regularly reviewing how you can improve mobile targeting.

The options available to your business are expanding rapidly, and we have written a number of posts to help you refine your mobile advertising strategy:


6.   Mobile social media advertising

Recent research by ComScore demonstrates that 69% of all social media usage is on a mobile device.

And for many businesses, the social space is the perfect way to address the needs of your mobile customers and prospects. Social media is the opportunity to provide the right content at the right moment

social media mobile usage




7. Apps and optimisation


If you have a mobile app here are two key considerations for your mobile strategy, both of which have a useful link for further reading:

  • Advertise your app to reach more prospective customers. Here is a guide how to do it.
  • Optimise your app in the app store (ASO, App Store Optimisation) — to find out how, read more on this Kissmetrics blog.
  • Get your app indexed by supporting HTTP deep links, in order to get your app content ranking in mobile search — read more on Moz.

8. Accelerated mobile pages

Our colleague Ben Wood wrote this very digestible article about AMP, covering the basics of Google’s open source project to speed up the delivery of content on mobile devices.

Although only widely used by large websites such as news outlets, if you are regularly publishing content on your website it would be a good idea to prepare for this, as Ben’s blog post highlights.

The relevance and importance of AMP remains open for debate, but our own website strategy includes AMP pages, and by checking our Google Analytics we can see that the AMP pages play an important part in our landing page strategy, meaning the first page that visitors visit on our site is not the HTML version, but the AMP version.

Here is a snippet from our Google Analytics showing AMP performance; are you running a similar report for your own business?

amp landing page


Final thoughts for your mobile digital strategy

We’ve covered 8 topics in this post.

Here’s a quick summary of some of the main areas your business should be addressing:

  1. Is your website mobile friendly?
  2. Are you creating content specifically designed for mobile users?
  3. Do your email marketing messages delight mobile recipients?
  4. How can your harness “near me” searches for customers local to your business?
  5. What is your strategy for your mobile advertising campaigns?
  6. Is your social media messaging aligned with the needs of mobile users?
  7. Have you refreshed your marketing strategy for your apps?
  8. How much impact are accelerated mobile pages (AMP) having in your mobile strategy?

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