mobile seo

By 2014, more of the traffic to your website will originate from mobile devices than from a desktop or laptop computer. Mobile will no longer be the minority of your traffic and if you haven’t already considered a mobile internet marketing campaign, you’re already falling behind.

Mobile SEO

“Mobile SEO is just the same as ‘normal’ SEO.’

“Mobile SEO doesn’t even exist.”

“Mobile SEO is a load of rubbish.”

Those are three statements I’ve heard in the past couple of weeks alone and, needless to say, I disagree with them. The most common arguments people use for saying this are:

  • The results are the same on mobile as they are on desktop for almost all searches.
  • The same SEO principles apply

As it currently stands, both of those are completely true.


  • Users searching on a mobile often have different goals than users on a desktop. 1 in 3 Google searches on a mobile device has a local element, for example. If someone is walking around Manchester City centre and searches, ‘sports stores,’ do you think they’re looking to for an online shopping spree? Probably not. It’s a reasonable assumption that that they’re actually looking for is an address to a nearby shop. That’s just one example and differing expectations are not just limited to this local search element.
  • Users searching on a mobile are likely to make shorter, more concise searches. So that long tail strategy that is working so well for you in your existing SEO campaign might come a cropper as more of your potential customers search on their mobile phones.
  • Rankings won’t always be the same across all devices. Google has a mobile bot, is encouraging website owners to submit mobile sitemaps and has the capability of identifying websites that are inaccessible or render poorly to mobile users. Google is concerned with quality of results. If users get inaccessible or low quality results, the search engine has failed. So Google is ultimately going to take into account how a given website will appear and what it will deliver to searches based on their devices.

Mobile SEO Concepts

Let’s not forget that your mobile users and your desktop users are not different people. Desktop users also use mobiles and vice versa. What is different about SEO for audiences using varied devices is the user expectations and search habits.

Yes, many of the same rankings factors that determine where your website ranks in search on a desktop will also influence rankings on a mobile and this is likely to remain the case. But mobile SEO is different and should be a separate consideration in a number of ways:

On Page Optimisation

Firstly, you’ll need to decide how you’re going to deliver a mobile site. Will it be a mobile subdomain? E.g. Or will it be the same site with a mobile specific style sheet? How will you technically take your users to the right version of your site? How will you let Google know about your mobile site? All of this is fundamental to a mobile SEO campaign.

Content should be optimised for the mobile user. This means a design that caters to the screen size, content that’s relevant to what they’re looking for and concise, snappy headlines. Titles and meta descriptions should be tailored for mobile too. On page mobile SEO is very different from optimising for a desktop user and searcher.

Keyword Research

Google’s keyword tool has mobile specific data and while we can all grumble about the accuracy of this tool at times (particularly in relation to SEO keyword research) it offers a good insight as to the growing mobile search trends. The mobile element of any SEO campaign requires its own keyword research. Take into account the proportion of your mobile searchers who could very feasibly be out and about while typing. Consider the volume of local searches on Google’s mobile search engine. By failing to incorporate local keywords in your campaign, could you be missing out on 1/3 of these mobile searchers?


In SEO, rankings is only a small part of the whole picture. What really matters is whether you can entice clicks onto your listing in the SERPs and, more to the point, what those users do when they get to your site. Again, this is where considering the mobile user’s expectations comes into play. Let’s go back to the previous example of a guy walking around Manchester City Centre and searching ‘sports stores’ on his iPhone.

Is it really appropriate to send this user to an online store and a page full of products with giant ‘buy it now’ buttons? Or would it be better, in this case, to take him to a mobile optimised page offering a map and a ‘directions from here’ to his nearest shop?

The expectations of mobile users have to be considered in your keyword mapping. When you decide upon your best target keywords following relevant research, this will lead you to insights about the types of searches this will drive to your site and, in turn, what they’re actually looking for.

So while mobile SEO is certainly somewhat similar to desktop SEO, there are clear differences that warrant a separate and thoroughly researched approach.

One year ago, less than 10% of traffic to your site was likely to originate from a mobile. Now, it could be in excess of 20% and by 2014, it will be higher than 50%. So failing to optimise your SEO campaign and the pages you’re sending searchers too could cost you dearly.

not provided keyword data

Before I start, I should probably just confirm that the statement made in the title of this blog post has absolutely no factual or medical backing whatsoever. Just want to clarify that in case the ASA pop by.

It’s giving me a headache, though, that’s for sure. Since the whole default encrypted search for signed in Google users rolled out internationally, we’ve seen the proportion of referring organic keywords listed as (not provided) shoot through the roof.

A Little Bit of (Not Provided) Background

I won’t run through the whole sordid story again. Instead, allow me to refer you to a few resources if you’re not already familiar with it:

The Current State of Play

Now, when this was first announced, Matt Cutts told webmaster that signed in searches account for ‘fewer than 10% of searches’. Therefore, surely, (not provided) should account for fewer than 10% of referring organic keywords.

We can already see on the sites we work with, taking data from 1st – 19th March 2012, that some sites (retail in particular) are already experience more than 10%. We’ll assess the figures in full at the March, of course.

Is it Really Such a Problem?

Yes. It certainly is. Let me give you an example.

A new campaign just starts hitting a point at which it’s generating leads. When these early leads start trickling in, the data about the keywords driving those conversions is like gold dust.

Except of course, when all your conversions come from keyword (not provided), in which case that’s about as useful as a holey umbrella.

Thank you, Google.

“It’s All in the Name of Privacy”

Forgive me if I come across somewhat cynical, but Google’s stating that it’s all in the name of privacy it utter rubbish for two reasons:

  • This doesn’t apply if the click is on a PPC ad. So privacy, apparently, is only an issue if you’re clicking on natural search listings. Let’s have some consistency, Google.
  • Privacy is only an issue if you’re signed in when searching? Come off it!

Ways Around It

There’s no way to get all that data back. Not even begging, pleading, petitioning or praying.

However, you can steal some of the data back one of the following 2 ways:

  • Link up Webmaster Tools with Analytics. That will give you data about the top 1000 referring keywords to your site. Of course, if you have visits from 30,000+ keywords, this is a drop in the ocean. You’ll also be unable to get the conversion data from those so again, visibility over the true value of those keywords to your SEO campaign is limited.

In reality though, this is just tough luck for SEOs. It’s just something we have to work around. Make the most of any PPC data you may have in regard to conversions and make sure you fully analyse assisted conversions for any more information you can ascertain from the data you do have.

UXD - User Experience Design

What is User Experience Design? Trying to explain in a quick tidbit is near impossible, so Im going to attempt to tell you over two exciting blog posts. This is of course no means an exhaustive step by step run-down but, instead, more of a high level look at what it is to be a UXD.

An Overview The Job of the UXD

UXD in itself is a multi-disciplinary field and comprises many design disciplines as well as many social sciences. They are used in conjunction with each other to create a more refined and user-friendly experience. User-centered design is at the heart of UXD

The most common misinterpretation and one that grates on me the most is the view of many that UXD is simply another name for usability design! Its not! It incorporates much more than that.

To make things more confusing the term User Experience Design is considered by some as a misnomer and I personally fit firmly in the we create an experience, we dont design an experience camp. UXD for me is much more than just designing an interface or making something look aesthetically pleasing for the masses – its about researching your market & understanding your user, creating personas from qualitative research and stakeholder interviews, then using those personas to create credible user stories and context scenarios. Only then can we begin to understand the individual goals of our users.

Yes, its fair to say we in the profession do use design a lot and we do refer to ourselves as designers, but lets be honest, if we called ourselves User Experience Creationists it would make us sound a bit godlike!

In a nutshell were all the same:

  • Were all fussy
  • We all want things to work the way we think that they should work
  • Were all guilty of being selfish users.

But thats how it should be things should work the way you want them and its our job to make sure that your user experience is as fluid and pain free as possible. If youre frustrated then the UXD hasnt done their job. And they should be shot.

So UXD – whats it all about then? Its been forced upon the design community and now high-level execs are listening open eared. Well now take a high level view of UXD and will look at the following subjects here on the Tecmark blog over two parts;

  • Understanding the user
  • Persona Creation
  • UXD Goals
  • User stories
  • Wireframes
  • Graphics


A user is anyone who comes into contact with your interface. These users are complex machines. Theyre individual and no two users are the same. When starting out on a project we cant make assumptions or use stereotypes to define the flow or feel of an interface – if we did, the interface would fail.

Users change. They are constantly evolving their skill level, or on the odd occasion forgetting their level of skill and starting over again. If you think about when you first used a computer youll quickly understand what I mean. Everyone starts out as a beginner user what was once a beginner user quickly becomes an intermediate user but many intermediate users never become experienced users. The transition to experienced user can be a long process. Even if someone becomes an advanced user, they could easily slip back into the category of intermediate user without continued use.

Many users will fit into the intermediate field for a prolonged period of time. When we create an interface we create it for all users but with a higher focus on the intermediate user. Ignore the beginner and they wont stay to learn your products, ignore the more advanced user and they wont stay interested and will move onto more engaging apps or websites.

And lets not forget about the stakeholders – the people who pay the bills. Its important to make considerations for stakeholders. They are in no way as important as the end user from a UXD perspective, but they usually control all the money for the project and can and most often will dictate exactly what they want in the system. Its the job of the UXD to help the stakeholders understand the importance of UXD and how it can benefit their project overall, specifically with focus on ROI.


Once user research has been completed it is now possible to create personas. This is done through qualitative research and stakeholder interviews.

Personas are there to investigate and define the behaviors of users. They are created to understand the motivations and the different goals. There will be several personas for each interface. Its a way of grouping together behaviors and users and helps all the way through the creation process. We use them at the beginning to define the goals and all the way through to the end to define the testing procedures.

We use personas to determine how an interface should look and feel. Theyre used to determine what an interface should do and look like, to articulate the reasons behind decisions, as well as the already mentioned goals and tasks. They help to determine a range of behaviors and aptitudes between a collective of people, which in turn can help determine which features take prominence within an interface.

A persona is created by looking at demographic and psychographic data compiled through the aforementioned qualitative research stage, along with expert knowledge of persona creation. They are given names, ages, jobs and take on the role of a real person. They are used to assess how someone would behave with an interface, how they would react when an error occurred, what level of user they are They are our friends and we love them.


Goals are the UXDs main focus when creating an interface – not the commonly thought of tasks, features or functions. Goals must be the main driving force behind design decisions associated with the interface.

Lets put this in the context of an everyday task making a hot drink! When you make your drink, the end goal is to consume that drink. The actions of boiling water, adding milk, sugar, tea or coffee are simply tasks along the way. The goal ultimately to consume the drink does not change throughout.

Once we have an understanding of the user goals, we can start to compile a list of tasks that aid in the completion of that goal, whilst keeping cognitive loads to a minimum.

UXD is very much goal orientated and many (if not all) of the decisions are all geared towards the simple completion of otherwise complex goals and tasks. Before we start to think about aesthetics of the app or website were working on, we set about looking at the goals associated with the interface.

Goals arent complex. They are single, simple sentences. For example, Mark needs to book train tickets using the app. Thats the goal. There are going to be more tasks in there to facilitate it, but in the simplest form thats what must happen.

So here weve covered the basics. In part two, we will talk about user stories, wireframes and graphics.

[Update – 9th November 2012] Google has made the attribution modelling tool available to all users. This enables much quicker and sophisticated analysis of assisted conversions data.

With the shiny new Google Analytics interface came several new features including real time Analytics and Assisted Conversions. While there’s no doubt the former is hugely important in assessing the immediate result of various activity (e.g. social or a TV ad), it was the latter that was of the most interest to us. Assisted conversions give us a whole new level of data and enable us to attribute sales or enquiries more accurately to the marketing channel or channels that generated them. This is particularly important in accurately measuring the success of SEO, Conversion Rate Optimisation, PPC, social media and a host of other digital marketing channels.

What Are Assisted Conversions?

Assisted conversions within Google Analytics enable you to gain further insight into the complete conversion path of visitors to your site. Let’s consider the following perfectly feasible scenario:

assisted conversions

This would have previously been attributed as a brand organic conversion because that was the last interaction the user had with your site before converting to a sale.

However, it’s fair to argue here that had that user not first found you via a generic, non-brand search for which you were appearing on the paid ads, he or she may never have converted. So while the ultimate conversion can be attributed to a brand organic visit, there has to be at least some indirect attribution to PPC as well.

The same can happen in a multitude of different ways. For example:

  • A user finds you by organic first then converts after a visit via a social networking site.
  • A user finds you via non-brand organic and then returns by a brand PPC ad to make a purchase
  • A user first comes across you on another site, visits as referral traffic from that site and leaves without making a purchase. He or she then searches a non-brand keyword, finds you in the organic listings, remembers seeing you before, clicks on your site and makes a purchase.

All of those are common scenarios.

Assisted conversions make this data visible.

Assisted Conversions

In the image below taken from the Analytics account for 8Ball Tshirts (used with consent – numbers removed to protect client confidentiality) you can see the channels that have assisted in goal conversions.

assisted conversions google analytics

The data available here is:

  • Assisted conversions –  how many conversions were ‘assisted’ by each of the channels listed
  • Assisted conversion value – the total value of the conversions assisted by the channel
  • Last interaction conversions – how many conversions were completed by the listed channels
  • Last interaction conversion value – the total value of the conversions completed by the listed channels.
  • Assisted/Last Conversion Interactions – The ratio of assisted/last interaction conversions.  This is a number that indicates whether this channel is primarily results in last interaction conversions or is predominantly assisted conversions. Numbers of 1.5 and higher indicate that this channel is predominantly accounting for assisted conversions, while numbers closer to 0 indicate the channel’s contribution to conversions is predominantly as last interaction.

Top Conversion Paths

top conversion paths google analytics

Within Google Analytics, it is possible to delve even further into the ‘multi channel funnels’ section than just the high level view above. One particularly useful feature is Top Conversion Paths, which allows you to see the most common user paths from visit to sale/goal.

For example, from 8Ball’s Analytics, we can see again that there were 1,479 different multi visit paths that led to a conversion over the dates we’re analysing and that the most common of these was someone visiting first through organic and then making another visit through organic before making a purchase. This was closely followed by users visiting through organic first and then returning directly to the site later to make a purchase.

Path Length

Another excellent bit of data is presented in Google’s ‘path length’ section, where you can see how many touch points are most common for users before making a purchase/converting.

google analytics path length

Again, we’ve removed actual figures in order to protect the confidentiality of 8Ball. But what we can clearly see is that fewer than half of 8Ball’s conversions occur on the first user visit (47.94% to be specific). The rest are accounted for by people visiting more than one – in a handful of cases by people who visit 12 or more times before committing to buy

Time Lag

assisted conversions time lag

With the above data on path length in mind, it might come as a surprise that many of these multi touch point buyers actually make their many different channel visits in the same day.

Time lag tells us how much time passes (within the 30 day period than an assisted conversion path is tracked) between the first touch point and the sale.

Data Limitations

Within Google Analytics, there are some limitations (albeit minor ones) to this data:

  • Assisted conversion paths can only go back as far as 30 days. So if someone has first visited your site more than 30 days ago, their first touch point won’t be showing up. Instead it will be the first touch point within the last 30 days.
  • Data is 2 days out of date. Google acknowledges that data is 2 days behind within assisted conversions and advises users to take note of this when analysing.

Why Should You Care About Assisted Conversions?

Conversion attribution has always been challenging. If you only ever look as far as ‘last click attribution’ (i.e. you consider the last means by which someone arrived at your site to be the single reason they converted) you risk cutting off marketing channels you deem ineffective and then finding this has a knock on negative impact on your enquiries or sales from other channels.

Assisted conversions give you a fuller picture and enable you to see what’s actually driving sales and how users find you. The data makes it clear that, as we already knew, users shop around, and simply attributing a sale to the last visitor touch point is too narrow a focus and too simplistic a view in measuring the true value of your various digital marketing channels.

new ipad launch

For those amongst us who have sold our souls to Apple (several times over) in exchange for an iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple TV, Mac or anything else of equal awesome proportions that they make, Apple announcements are a bit like Christmas is for kids. We wait and wait eagerly, speculating on what goodies they might deliver for months on end. Then the big day either delivers epic happiness (the likes of which we enjoyed when the 3G became the iPhone4) or bitter disappointment (the type you get when you’re waiting for a 5 and get a 4S).

Today’s new iPad launch was the former – albeit that many of the features announced were very much expected. The rumour mill was, in most cases, pretty accurate. We got many the features we wanted to see from our iPad 3 features wish list.

What wasn’t accurate was its name! The new iPad wasn’t introduced with any fancy name, no numbers, no “˜HD.’ It was simply introduced as “˜the new iPad,’ and all the new information on the Apple website seems to confirm this simple name really is accurate. It does make you wonder what they’ll call the next one… “The Even Newer iPad?”

Anyway, here’s a rundown of the new iPad’s features, launch date and pricing info.

New iPad Retina Display

new ipad retina display

Yes, we got it! Tim Cook proudly unveiled the 2048 x 1536 retina display boasting that it had more pixels than the giant wall screen behind him and 1 million more than a HDTV.

We all fully expected a retina display on the new iPad and this is a significant improvement.

A5x Chip with Quad Core Graphics

new ipad a5x chip

That superb display will require more graphics processing power. The new iPad has an A5x chip with quad core graphics. iPad gamers will be particularly pleased with this.

New iPad Battery Life

There wasn’t a great deal said at the announcement about battery life. That might be own to the fact that the best news they had to offer with this is “˜it hasn’t gotten any worse!’

That’s not as poor an announcement as it might seem. With the best mobile display ever seen, 4 times the pixels of the iPad 2 and its quad core graphics, keeping the battery life at “up to 10 hours,” in line with its predecessor’s could be seen as a reasonable achievement.

New iPad Camera

new ipad 5mp isight camera

We all wanted an upgrade to the camera and we got one. It’s not quite the 8 megapixel camera than the iPhone 4S offers, but instead a 5 mega pixel camera. The new iPad also has 1080p video recording capabilities, image stabilisation and a 5 element lens. All in all, a notable upgrade on its predecessor’s camera.

New iPad 4G LTE Support

new ipad 4G LTE

The new iPad supports 4G LTE networks, for examples those on offer from Verizon and AT&T. While Apple works with Verizon and AT&T in the USA, they’re also working with Rogers, Bell and Telus on LTE in Canada.

To account for the fact that other countries aren’t getting there quite as quickly with 4G (yes, I’m looking at you, UK) the new device also supports another two faster network technologies – HSPA+ and dual channel HSDPA.

The biggest inconvenience for Apple in all of this is having to produce 2 versions of its LTE iPad, one each for of Verizon and AT&T as they use two different bands.

New iPad Apps

new ipad apps

With every new gadget announcement comes something on the software front too. And this was no exception. GarageBand has been updated so up to 4 iPads can “˜jam together.’ iWork has also been upgraded for the new iPad and the new iPhoto is coming to iPad and enables multi touch intuitive photo editing. It has to be said, the apps look decent and the demo of iPhoto was impressive. It also allows you to create photo journals and share them via iCloud.

iMovie’s update for the new iPad also offers a host of new features, including the ability to “˜one touch’ make your own movie trailers from your video files.

As something of an Infinity Blade fiend, I was particularly impressed with some of the images I’ve seen from the demo of the new version, “˜Infinity Blade: Dungeouns.’ The developer behind it, Epic Games, was given the new iPad early and the latest instalment of arguably one of the best app store games ever complements that new retina display perfectly. Infinity Blade has always been renowned for its graphics and they really pulled out all the stops for this version. I want a retina display iPad for this reason alone!!

Does the New iPad Have Siri?

No. Not quite. However, voice dictation for emails, text messages etc is available. Upon launch, this will be available in US English, UK English, Australian English, French, German and Japanese.

New iPad Dimensions

The new iPad is very similar the iPad 2 in terms of design and dimensions. It’s 9.4mm thick and weighs in at around 635 grams.

New iPad Launch Date

The new iPad will launch on 16th March. It’s available for pre-order, however, right now!

New iPad Pricing

The new iPad pricing is exactly what the iPad 2 pricing was. Prices start in the UK from £399 and in line with this, the iPad 2 pricing has been reduced to £329 upwards.

Facebook announced Timeline for Brands yesterday. This comes hot on the heels of all personal profiles being moved over to Timeline too (and boy, didn’t people kick up a stink about that!).

Timeline for brands will be mandatory from 30th March 2012, but if you want to get in there early you can move your page over to the new layout anytime from now!

The full rundown of features can be found here but we’ve summarised what we consider to be some of the biggest changes.

Visual Changes

Goodbye vertical banners, hello cover images.

Businesses who’ve been using vertical banner style images as their main page photos will no longer be able to do so… I’m looking at you, Pepsi, Greggs the Bakers and Virgin Holidays.

facebook pepsi

In all seriousness, though, a lot of brands use this image as a banner, including many we work with.

Under the new Timeline layout, this will not be possible. Instead, you’ll have a square ‘profile image’ and a much larger, more prevalent cover image.

Image dimensions under Timeline are as follows:

facebook timeline cover photo image dimensions

Facebook has issued guidelines for cover images, stating they should not be overly promotional or predominantly text.

Goodbye Landing Tabs

Lots of brands are leveraging tabs at the moment, particularly in engaging users who are not yet fans. Tabs enable business page owners to decide what users will see when they land on their Facebook page. They could choose (as many do) to present users with an image, as opposed to a Facebook wall, or an app, as a certain fast food chain does!

mcdonalds facebook

With Facebook Timeline for Brands you won’t be able to do this. Of all the changes, this appears to be the one inciting a negative response from brand page owners. Yes, it removes a certain degree of flexibility and if you are a brand using this for marketing, it will be disappointing. But I think the loss of tabs is far outweighed by the improved functionality and some of the newer features

Hello Facebook Business Page Messages!

Finally! Hallelujah, thank the Facebook Overlord. Perhaps the most long overdue feature for business pages is here – well, sort of. Your fans can now send you private messages and you can respond to them. It doesn’t seem, at the moment, as though you can message them first (to be confirmed when we’ve played about a bit more). But nonetheless, the ability for them to contact you privately is excellent. Anyone who has been asked a question on their wall that they don’t feel they should answer in the public domain (customer services requests or account specific information from clients) will be thrilled with this. It’s much more seamless to be able to ask fans to ‘message us’ privately rather than having to refer them off to some generic customer support email address or telephone number.

Pin Status Updates to the Top of Your Page

This is brilliant. You can ‘pin’ certain status updates to the top of your page for up to 1 week. This means any key updates won’t be lost, as they currently are, when newer ones are posted. A really excellent feature, I believe.

Add Milestones

As is already the case on personal pages, Business Pages on the new Facebook Timeline will be able to add historical milestones, e.g. date founded etc. This enables you to provide much more history about your brand without interfering with the current topic material.  The Red Bull Facebook page at already uses this to great effect.

Facebook timeline for brands milestones

facebook redbull timeline

Personally, both as an Internet marketer and as a consumer and Facebook user, I’m looking forward to all businesses adopting Timeline (even if they have to be forced into it at the end of March!).

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