Cell phone use will continue to expand, and as it does the number of options that are available grows exponentially. Web browsing, email, image search, localized results and connectivity on the social networks are only a few things that people use their phones to go online for. Unfortunately, many sites are not optimized for hand held devices such as cell phones. You need to consider who might be looking for you on the go, and account for it to cater to those mobile consumers.
Designing for a mobile platform doesn’t mean a separate site. Just implement a cascading style sheet (CSS) to feed up specific instructions to a mobile browser. Mobile browsers are, in general, a lot like the web used to be – mainly text and links. Android, Blackberries and the iPhone have extra abilities, but still a lot fo people have bare bones apps or knowledge – so keep it simple.
Top five things to remember when designing CSS for your mobile apps:
You only have about 2×3 inches to work with.
All fonts should be basic – don‘t get fancy!
Images should be excluded if possible, or adapted for side to side roll through.
Minimize all advertising if possible.
Hide stuff you don’t need. Show off your content.
The Opera Mini browser has an online version that is free. Input your URL and it’ll show the website as if it was on a mobile phone.
There is no separate ranking algorithm for mobile devices. You can’t hurt yourself by doing optimization for mobile, if you do your regular SEO. You do need to focus more on ranking for the top three spots instead of the top ten or five, since three is all that shows on a mobile screen.
Much of mobile search is focused on news, weather and local searches. Some sites like YouTube, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter are also fairly high traffic from mobile phones. Local search is the focus – restaurants, places to go, etc are big pulls, as are music search sites, etc.
To ensure your site is mobile ready, make sure you are listed in local directories and add a handheld CSS file to your site. This will give you a head start for optimizing your site for handheld web browsers, and also ensure you are good to go for the next big app.