I wanted to address something that a few of us had been talking about in the Mobile SEO Google Group. Membership is currently by invitation only, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to show some of you what you’re missing. If you’re interested in an invitation, please introduce yourself, and we’ll see if you’re a good fit for the group.

Paul Bennet mentioned his astonishment at the recent Search Engine Watch article that summarized the mobile search optimization session at SES San Jose by saying that small businesses should not waste their time with mobile SEO. The idea is that small business owners have enough on their plate right now to optimize for the mobile web, and that they should compromise by optimizing local feeds, which appear in mobile search results. To quote the author’s summary on the benefits of optimizing local feeds:

“This is a backdoor way to get in front of iPhone users today – and it
doesn’t require resource constrained, cash strapped, and sleep
deprived small business owners to get lost in the alphabet soup of
SEO, CSS and xhtml for .mobi and WAP optimization.”

If you’re a small business owner who is barely keeping up with your
optimization efforts for paid and natural search, then I would agree
to some extent that you don’t need to be overly concerned with SEO for
mobile handsets. However, I agree with Paul wholeheartedly in decrying the dismissal of mobile SEO for SMEs altogether because of logistical concerns. There are two points that I mentioned in the Google Group that every small business owner should consider before they buy into this SES (via SEW) rationale hook, line and sinker. I’m mentioning them here to communicate to small business owners who haven’t yet joined the group.

1) Why Settle for Good Enough?
I represent small business owners and Fortune 500 clients alike, and we may be your competition. We’re taking advantage of this now
while you play catch up. You may be a sleep-deprived small business owner, but wouldn’t you sleep better if this weren’t true?

2) Money on the Table
Small business owners have a tremendous opportunity for qualified
traffic, simply by building a mobile site, distributing digital
content to mobile channels, and making their sites accessible (and
usable) to mobile users. As I mention on my blog, in our study of the
mobile SERPs, we found that 47 of the 129 (36%) sites found on the
first page for highly competitive mobile queries were not in the first
30 listings for the same term in web search listings; and were
generally the kinds of sites that would have an extremely difficult
time achieving the same rankings in web search results. High rankings
on mobile handsets is possible for many right now, regardless of many
off-page factors that would keep small business owners out of the game
in web search. If you were a small business owner in an industry that
is frequented by mobile users, and you had the opportunity to be on
the first page for queries that you wouldn’t have a snowball’s chance
of getting in the first 300 pages for in web results, why wouldn’t you
go to winksite or some other comparable mobile site developer and take
advantage of the traffic? It’s not really a difficult decision.

All this being said, I’m also very aware of how difficult it is to find good information about mobile SEO these days, when even the experts are giving information that’s not entirely accurate. As a reminder, I’m here to help. Resolution Media is putting the finishing touches on our mobile SEO white paper, to be released after Labor Day on MobileSearchOptimization.com, and the mobile-friendly site, MobileSearchOptimization.mobi. We’ve waded through the “alphabet soup” of mobile SEO so you don’t have to, and have outlined some tactics that businesses small and large can use to become more visible to the growing base of mobile searchers.