Mobile Search Engines

Dec 5, 2006 - 6:33 pm 2 by
Filed Under SES Chicago 2006

Mobile Search Engines

Moderated by Danny Sullivan. I cam in a little late because Danny lied at the end of the last session and said we had a half hour break. His fault. :)

Anyway, Paul Yiu from Yahoo! was speaking, and I missed the first part. He is talking about operators and how mobile search is tailored to them. They are working with partners on this: Helio, Orange, “3,” among others. He is looking for high quality results. Uses an example of a search for Ludacris. He shows a couple examples of the Helio results, including how the local search box asking for a zip code comes up if someone searches “Starbucks.” He syas they use reviews and ratings on the Yahoo! network to help prioritize rankings. He said there are over 6 billion reviews and ratings found within their network.

Shows a search for “Helia Duff,” and how they default to it probably being an image search. Suggests seeing if your own name shows up as an image search, which means you must be famous. They have agreements with Nokia, Motorola, and Rim, and the way they can package the same type of content for them. How do content publishers participate? To be included in the results, he recommends: improve your visibility. Use short concise titles. Adhere to Mobile standards found at W3C. Also, your site being validated through Suggests connecting to popular sites by linking. Use robots.txt and make sure you do not disallow mobile crawlers.

For advertisers, with mobile sponsored search, you set the price you are willing to pay per click. The top two bids appear. Mobile sponsored search Beta launched in the US in September 2006. Yahoo has relationships with over 80 companies in over 40 countries. Use the relationship between advertisers, users, operators, device manufacturers, and publishers.

Next is Sumit Agarwal from Google. Stars with three quotes: Billy Joel: “this is the time, the time is here now.” Although people have been talking about this for years, it really only came this year. Kevin Costner says “ Build it and they will come.” Will talk about tailoring content for Google Mobile. Lastly, Ringo Starr says “shout.” Make sure people know about your site.

Mobile e-commerce sites that are making a lot of money: very popular in Japan, average transaction value on regular site is $80. Mobile average transaction is only $8, but this is still good. People are overcoming the limitations of mobile devices and transacting. To build great mobile websites: use tools such as this to convert content to mobile version. You can also author sites in a way that represents them well on screens as well as mobile. allows you to author websites. is a place to author in a variety of mobile formats. You can build mobile specific pages that are standards compliant. If you want to go the extra mile, follow some guidelines. They will be available in Google Webmaster Help pages.

Use simple URL’s. Link from PC website “the big brother” to the little brother mobile versions. Have downward links. If you have taken the time and trouble to build a mobile page, use the mobile media tag (this may have been copied wrong from slide-so double check at G) Tell Google about the mobile site through Google Sitemaps.

Matt Tengler from JumpTap. They have built their product using talent from both the mobile side and the search side. They currently work with 7 Mobile operators with 88 million customers. The biggest differentiator between them and the Googles of the world are that they take a white label approach. They deliver the three pillars of search: the UI, the SE, and a Mobile advertising platform. What makes mobile search different? The content, which is dominated by what he calls the mobile consumables. There are great mobile websites surrounded by seas of basically useless sites. The form factor is also big…you have to be more concise in the search results. You have to actually get the correct answers and get to the top 2 spots to really succeed. The opportunities include a more personal device that is always on. Capabilities specific to the mobile medium: LBS, audio/video input, etc. 215 million subscribers in the US, millions more worldwide.

Barriers: UIs need to mature, carrier data plans can be confusing and expensive. There is a walled garden approach by many nowadays. You have to make search simple, and put it in front of the user. There is a lack of content in key verticals. Improvements in the above areas is already driving more usage. Ultimately, content and applications that leverage the mobile medium are required to drive mass market adoption of mobile search. The Internet on the phone is interesting, but the internet on the phone combined with LBS services, enhanced inputs and applications that leverage them is very interesting. JumpTap does have a mobile search index, which is a collection of mobile friendly content. They also have a PPC product.

Types of queries? Words: 1 = 50% of queries. 2 = 33.9%, 3 = 10.5%, and 4 3.7%. Also shows that shorter query character lengths seem to be the norms. Navigation: 16% of queries. Music Ringtones: 10%, entertainment: 8%, sports 6%, reference 5%, local 4%. They look at 6 weeks of query data and how it jumped after the launch of the off portal search solution (Mobile index). This develops the long tail. There is a pent up demand for off-portal content. Uses an example for Alltel portal search as well.

How to increased mobile traffic? Deliver markup that is relevant to mobile device, VML, XHTML, etc. Traditional SEO works well…deliver relevant content that is optimized for the mobile user.

Last up is Mikio Matsuo from Nokia. He wants to let people know that Nokia is taking mobile search very seriously. Nokia ships 265 million devices in 2005 – this is not to brag but to show that there is volume. They feel that the growth in mobile browsers is huge, but fully capable browsers will start to catch up by 2010. Also goes over some predictions for the global growth of mobile subscriptions. So what is the business model behind mobile search? He feels that mobile is the ultimate advertising platform. Personal, always on, always with you, and billing and payment options available. Pay per call is a tremendous opportunity for mobile. Mobile users love maps. Pay per action is also a good idea, with mobile coupons. The problem is the data access costs. It costs too much. Also low quality networks can be an issue, input and output discrepancies, platform fragmentation. Also not all users even know they can search on their mobile. They believe that by verticalizing search opportunities, it will be easier for users to reach content.

He shows some results from the Nokia, which seem nice and clean. There is also a click to action button then to launch the website once you have chosen the detailed description. Moving to local search, he shows the one click dial option found under results for a “Pizza Vancouver” search. He then shows a very funny search for Brittany Spears and Madonna kissing, and shows the image results and how you can zoom in and even save as your wallpaper (lots of laughs). They also have a Over The Air (OTA) updates feature as well as Media Roaming capabilities from country to country. For example if someone goes to Germany, they have a different set of results databases to render for the visitor.

They also offer the mapping feature. Full panning and zooming capabilities. They recently acquired a company that will enable to let them do GPS navigation and direction on some of their devices. They need to make sure that once users find the content and information that they can quickly connect and consume. They concentrate on ease of one click action to use other features. So far since they have launched the devise, they are in use in over 140 countries and in 460 operator networks. They have a constant groeth, 25% monthly growth in search volume. Have noticed that image and local search are a lot stickier than “regular search.” He cant share any more stats than this, but hopes that as they grow more into the Internet space that they will soon be willing to share more numbers than these types of device manufacturers usually do. Eventually, your ads will be able to be shown on Nokia devices, so make sure that your business or your clients’ businesses are in the databases, and that important information such as phone numbers and addresses are readily available.


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