Event Recap: MnSearch’s “Mobile Search”

MnSearchEvent-2013

On Wednesday, I attended MnSearch’s “Mobile Search” event, event #9 in their ongoing Search Snippets series. I arrived eager to fill my head with nothing other than mobile search nerdiness, and I was not disappointed. There was plenty of talk around mobile search best practices, types of mobile websites, and how to better target and convert your mobile device-wielding visitors. And of course, the news about “Not Provided” also made its way into numerous conversations. 

MnSearch board member Josh Braatan kicked off the evening’s speakers by showing a video of Matt Cutts giving a shout out to everyone at the event: “Hello MN Search! I’m watching you. So be good or be good at it.” Ahh haha. Oh Matt Cutts.

The first of the keynote speakers was Sue Anderson, UX Architect at Deluxe Corporation. Her presentation, entitled Mobile 101, focused primarily on how users interact with websites on their mobile devices. She provided 3 principles for mobile search:

1) Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm your mobile site visitors with too much content and visuals – too many pictures make your site load slowly, which detracts from the user experience and helping your users access what they came to find. Think about what your mobile users need. 

2) Reduce digging. Make sure that your mobile site has clear CTAs (calls-to-action). Only include content that is easy to access and provides value to your users. 

3) Take advantage of functionality. Use GPS so users can locate your business fast. Also consider adding a “click to call” functionality that allows users to quickly get in contact with you. Sue mentioned that studies have shown that conversion rates may be up to 50% higher if this feature is included on your mobile site.

 

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The next speaker up was Sypder Trap’s COO Aaron Weiche. His presentation focused on the different types of mobile sites and included many new mobile-centered verbs, a couple of which were “respons-ify” and “dynamic-ify.” His key takeaways were a-plenty:

  • The what for most mobile sites is nailed, while the why is often left out or underserved. Many mobile sites forget to address why they are better than their competitors.
  • Users don’t run out of questions, they run out of answers. Make sure that your mobile site is addressing all of your user’s questions and needs!
  • Track your mobile site search terms to learn what mobile users want to know. Create a segment within Google Analytics that lets you see this data.
  • The three line menu icon on mobile websites is called the “hamburger icon”. Who would have known?! Maybe at the next event, MnSearch should serve mobile themed hamburgers instead of Jimmy Johns…

The last speaker of the evening was Sae Vang, UX/Front-end Designer at Collegis Education. She spoke on Mobile CRO (conversion rate optimization). One of the golden nuggets from her presentation was this: SEO gets people to your mobile website, and the UX charms them (and then converts them). 

Overall, the key takeaway of the evening was that this is just the beginning for mobile search. Mobile will only continue to evolve and it’s up to us search marketers to stay afloat of the changes to come. As Matt Cutts said, “if your mobile website is antagonistic toward smartphones, you will lose rankings.” 

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