November 6, 2013: A recent article on MarketingSherpa highlighted responses from B2B marketers regarding the most effective tactics for engaging mobile users. It was interesting to note that the vast majority of B2B marketers engaged in mobile appeared to have a positive response, at least in terms of their initial feedback on mobile marketing effectiveness.
Video content and broad “ease of use” initiatives were the winners when it came down to the percentage of “very effective” responses but I was also encouraged to see such a small percentage of “not effective” responses across the board. Even though payment systems had the most negative feedback, B2B E-commerce vendors have to be encouraged by the overall numbers indicating at least “somewhat effective” feedback.
Last year I wrote a column on Search Engine Land regarding B2B mobile strategy and SEO. I’m glad to say that even though technology advances at such a rapid pace, I still stand by all of the key takeaways, and feedback from respondents would appear to validate a large percentage of recommendations in the column.
While those recommendations are worth checking out, here are five more key SEO action items for B2B marketing professionals to consider when developing mobile marketing tactics.
1. Prioritize Content and Navigation
Evaluate the type of online assets visitors are viewing and that you want them to view on a mobile device. Navigation and prioritization of content might change as a result.
For example, based on the MarketingSherpa data, a site with a large inventory of video content should consider ways to bring more visibility to these assets for mobile users, by way of navigational adjustments and cross-links.
Understand how visitor traffic is currently being consumed via mobile device and compare performance metrics with desktop usage. Here is a quick reference for accessing this information in Google Analytics. Metrics worth evaluating and comparing include:
- Exit and entrance rates
- Time on site / time on page
- Bounce rates
- Conversion rates / transaction percentages
Quantitative metrics can be cross-referenced with qualitative information and survey data (like that above). Ask customers, partners, and prospects what information they believe is most important when accessing your organization’s website on a mobile device as well.
2. Verify SEO Best Practice Implementation
Proper tagging and “SEO Best Practices” are possibly more important for mobile optimization because there is less viewable real estate in a mobile browser. B2B Marketers need to ensure that the optimization of key web page elements are being completed. A short list of web page elements includes:
- HTML Titles
- Meta Descriptions
- REL Canonical Tagging
- Open Graph Tags (Title, Description, URL, Image)
- Image ALT Properties
- Schema Tagging
Recommendations for most of these SEO elements can be found within this recent post on our blog.
3. Define a Domain Strategy
The choice of how the B2B organization will manage the web address structure of their mobile site experience has important SEO implications. Google has publicly acknowledged recommendations for building smartphone-optimized websites specifically use responsive web design and single domain usage when possible. Bing has also publicly supported a “one URL per content item” strategy when possible as well.
Multiple business factors might adversely effect this decision, including the amount of content to be displayed in the mobile site, ability to generate an effective user experience, and broader IT / web application functionality. Fortunately, Google announced a new canonical tag just for mobile, allowing site owners to tell the search engine how desktop and mobile pages are related.
The broad recommendation for B2B marketers is to fully map out the pros and cons of their domain strategy for mobile, understanding technological, marketing, and financial impacts between choosing single URL, responsive web design, sub-domain, or some other variation (though the latter is least favorable of all of course).
4. Evaluate Page Load Times
According to data from KISSMetrics, 58% of respondents expect page load times to be “almost as fast” or better than a desktop experience. 40% abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. For B2B E-commerce applications in particular, consider this statement based on data from KISSMetrics:
If an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5 million dollars in lost sales every year.
In early 2010, Google acknowledged that site speed is a factor in search ranking. In addition to free tools references in that article, Google Webmaster Tools also does a good job of notifying site owners of page load performance issues and other adverse factors.
B2B marketers can also have these messages forwarded to any email address associated with the corresponding Google Webmaster Tools account.
5. Optimize For The Mobile Conversion
B2B marketers need to keep an open mind as to how visitors on a mobile device will convert to lead opportunities for the organization.
- Test form submission field requirements to streamline conversion requirements.
- Test multiple levels of lead generation actions as they relate to the proximity of a lead opportunity to sales readiness.
- Consider replacing or minimizing the visibility of form submissions in favor of click-to-call action and call tracking.
- Track events such as social media click-thru’s, video views, and file downloads via Google Analytics.
Growth in mobile device usage does not take anyone off the hook for demonstrating marketing ROI. A greater level of lead generation tracking is required.
Don’t forget to test user experience across a range of mobile devices. As I wrote on Search Engine Land, Android, iPhone, and tablet browsers should all be tested and evaluated for usability purposes. Key questions to consider:
- How conversion actions perform
- How images, video, and other content marketing assets render
- File download speeds, particularly with images, video, and marketing collateral
- Readability and accessibility of PDF files, such as white papers and research reports
- Ability to click through site, both within primary page material and through navigation
- Visibility and accessibility of call-to-action elements such as address and phone number
And lastly, continue to evaluate how the site performs, from a traffic and metrics perspective, on mobile devices compared to traditional browsers and operating systems. Innovation in mobile technology (search included) is a rapidly developing landscape that B2B marketers need to continually invest time and resources in understanding.