Search & The iPhone

Oct 6, 2008 - 9:56 am 4 by
Filed Under SMX East 2008

Moderator: Greg Sterling, Founding Principal, Sterling Market Intelligence

The room is pretty empty, but I guess that is because this is an extremely specific session. Maybe 50 people? If I had to guess.

Search & The iPhone at SMX East

Cindy Krum, Director of New Media Strategy, Blue Moon Works, Inc. is first up. She will explain the "death of the dot mobi."

Mobile is Important: - Mass Mobile Convergence (it can do so much more) - Most personal marketing medium ever - More interactive marketing possibilities - Bridges the gap between online and offline

Mobile is Different: - Mobile bots - Mobile algorithms - Smaller screens - Simplified Rendering (on non iphones) - More sophisticated searchers (they search differently, more long tail) - Immediate intent

Why Now? - Real mobile web browsing because of devices like the iPhone. It is easier and works well. Other devices are coming out that work like the iPhone. - Flat rate data pricing - Faster download speeds - More processing power

dotMobi = Bad for SEO - Bad for SEO -- Splits traffic -- Splits links -- Splits index size -- Doesnt benefit from history -- Risks duplicate content -- Confusing for users - Not preferred in mobile search (the dot mobi ext) - Limited useful life time span

Mobile Best Practices - Basic SEO Best Practices -- Blended search best practices -- Local search best practices - Avoid heavy code, flash and JavaScript (iPhone does support JS) - Mobile search engine submission - W3C Mobile compliance standards -- XHTML & Accessibility Standards -- External CSS - Browser Detection or Self Selection - Redirect the dot Mobi to your main site

3 Mobile Site Architecture Options

(1) Do nothing - Look at mobile demand and traffic. Do people really need a mobile version of your site? - Test Existing Site with transcoding, without transcoding, on true browsing phone and on mobile browsing phone.

Advantages: - Easy, - Cheap - Forward Thinking cause phones will get better

Disadvantages: - Transcoding only works through search - Page urls and links are transcoded - Mobile user experience hard to control - Risky for the brand - Gives your competitors an advantage

(2) Mobile Only Pages

- Create a mobile site on sub domain or sub folder

Advantages - Just update existing code - Adjust level of content

Disadvantages: - Traditional home page must work on mobile - Extra click from home page - Duplicate effort - Duplicate content risk - Confusing if significantly different

Mobile Traditional Hybrid Pages: - Multiple CSS sheets one for mobile one for normal - Same content but different rendering instructions - Rearrange content - Display = none if you dont want to show it

Advantages: - Just add a new stylesheet - Same content - No dup content - CSS only has to download once

Disadvantages: - Not 100% reliable - iPhone wont always pull mobile version - Hard if CSS not already in place - Display none ...

Gregory Markel, Founder & President, Infuse Creative is next up. He will be focused on iPhone strategy.

He shows the Google Phone, new Blackberry and new Nokia all with touch screens, all GPS enabled and all "true web" enabled. This is why it is important. Location is also a reason, be the first to be there. He explains that iPhone GPS uses cell towers, GPS etc to get your location.

He said, keyword searching is dying on mobile. There are apps that replace this need, he said. He shows that there are a lot more searches on the iPhone then a normal mobile device.

iPhone App sales are growing twice the rate as iTunes music.

The browser experience on the iPhone is vastly superior than a traditional mobile browser.

iPhone users consume 6 times more data than the average mobile user.

Mobile Search has increased 68% in the US.

US consumers are more interested in the iPhone than any other phone, according to Google Trends.

The major search engines are detecting and offering iPhone specific experiencing. Google and Yahoo both have apps as well.

Apple is aggressively pursing business customers.

He then demos Google on the iPhone: - Google detects your on the iPhone and knows where you are, and may serve up location specific results - The search results are pretty much the same as a desktop experience, he said. - iPhone browser will make phone numbers clickable (not google specific, but keep that in mind). - Paid results are not the same, because on the iPhone they only show results at the top of the page, none on the right. So you better have top AdWords listings to show up. - Google provides a free Google Search app. It offers search suggestions, pulls from your contacts, location specific by default.

It is important to note, the Google App uses the built in localization feature of the iPhone. While Google search, in Safari on iPhone, does not. Markel does not specifically say this, but Google is only showing localized results based on your IP information, but cannot do this by getting your GPS location (as far as I know). The Google App can and does do this, but not

He then shows the UrbanSpoon app from the iTunes App store.

He mentions that Google does index iTunes links. I covered this a bit back, under the title Is Apple Cloaking Their iTunes Content, With Google Looking The Other Way? When Markel reads this, he will learn that this is really not an "SMX Exclusive." But this has been going on for a while now, even before the App Store. In fact, Matt Cutts of Google commented on it.

Tips: - Check your clients web analytics to gauge current daily iPhone usage - Remember the location specific nature of iPhone

Alex Muller, CEO, Slifter is last up. He will focus mostly on the App environment.

- Wide distribution - Built in audience - No specific iPhone web index - Lower quality leads - SEO and SEM Costs are higher - Development cost to detect and display for iPhones

iPhone App Store: - Advertisement - Wide distribution - Eager audience - Consumer utility may be a detriment (depends) - Longevity (how long will this last) - Build, test, approve... - It is expensive to build

Vertical Search - Such as fandango - Highly targeting - Narrow audience

Downloadable Apps - Loopt - Highly engaged to end user - More committed user - How do you participate - Major cost to developers

- 80% iPhone users use data - iPhone users consist of about 7% of US market


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