Dumb SEO Questions

(Entry was posted by Rick Molenaar on this post in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, 07/24/2013).

How to implement mobile in our strategy?

I`m working for a e-commerce company in the print industry. We are thinking about how to implement mobile in our strategy. 

Because customers have to upload a print file (which they have on their desktop) when they place an order, we don`t see much conversions from mobile at this moment (and we possible won`t in the future). 

I`m thinking about a separate mobile site (m.example.com), which is much more focused on content. Also, I want the ordering process quite different: no file upload possibility, but a email reminder so they can upload their file via their desktop.

- Do you think a separate mobile site is the best solution?
- What do I have to take into account?
- How can I solve duplicate issues?

Also asked this in another community, where I didn`t get that many answers. Anyway, one suggestion was to consider an app. My reply to that suggestion:

" I always have the assumption that creating an app is quite expensive. Also, I think that in the B2B people aren`t that willing to download an app of a print supplier (besides the top 5% maybe). So i`m not very convinced about an app but I look forward to hear your arguments. "

What is your opinion about an app? Is it in general (way) more costly than a seperate mobile site or responsive design? Is it suitable for the B2B market?

Thanks is advance! If more information is required, please let me know.
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Selected answers from the Dumb SEO Questions Facebook & G+ community.

  • Nishant Desai: Hello,

    Why going for another mobile site.  ;Go for Responsive Web Development so your website works on all platforms and devices.

  • Tim Capper: I second that, make it responsive.

    Perhaps +Alistair Lattimore ;can give you some more technical ideas / issues
  • Rick Molenaar: +Nishant Desai ;thanks for your comments! The deal is that mobile visitors use the site in a very different way with respect desktop visitors. To complete an order, visitors have to upload their print file which is quite impossible on mobile. Therefore, I think it's better to create a new (better) experience on a mobile site with a possibility to place an order and upload the file at any other moment but I might be wronf with that.
  • Rick Molenaar: Thanks +Tim Capper! ;
  • Dave Elliott: worth baring in mind that tablets will count as mobiles in most scripty things, so don't give them the mobile version, make sure they stay on the full desktop(or a responsive version just for them)
  • Rick Molenaar: Good point +Dave Elliott! Do you think I should make a seperate mobile site? If so, maybe it is better to give tablet users also the mobile version (because they also can't upload their files). What do you think?
  • Alistair Lattimore: My deciding factor about a mobile specific website would be what additional value can you bring to the table on that site that can't be achieved via your primary website using a responsive design. For example, if the primary difference is going to be a different ordering process, you can do that using a responsive website by showing/hiding CTAs and pushing users down the appropriate conversion funnel or implementing device aware redirects only on your order funnel to push different devices into the appropriate funnel.

    I would also consider the content management issues of having a two separate websites, they might be using different platforms/CMS. You might need to publish content twice in two systems, how will you keep them up to date? If they are in separate systems, can you implement device specific URL based redirects to push smart phone/tablet users from the desktop URLs to the correct mobile website URL. How about implementing the mobile alternate URL syntax if you're systems are separate.

    The duplicate content issue can be solved by implementing rel=canonical tags on your mobile website pointing back to the corresponding desktop URL.

    A mobile application is probably not a great choice unless the business is quite large or if users who would download the app are going to use it over and over again. If this is the sort of thing that a user isn't like to repeatedly use, I think you'll find that users aren't likely to download the app in the first place. In addition to that, the cost of ownership of a good quality mobile application can be quite high.

    Above are just a few of the things to consider if you're planning on a mobile specific website, it isn't easy but can still be the right solution for the right sorts of problems.
  • Rick Molenaar: Great great comment +Alistair Lattimore! Thanks a lot, this is very helpfull. ;
  • Dave Elliott: I can upload files from my tablet and often do! To be honest i don't see why mobile user can't either. Allister pretty much nails the rest. ;
  • Rick Molenaar: +Dave Elliott ;What kind of files are you uploading? Is it also possible to upload Photoshop and Indesign files? Problem is that customers often work in Photoshop and Indesign and save their files both on their desktop.
  • Alistair Lattimore: It isn't that users can't upload files from the smartphone/tablet Dave, more so that it is unlikely that a user would have the print file that they need on their smartphone/tablet in general.

    If that is actually not the case and lots of users do have the files on their mobile devices, then that could change my position but then you might have file size issues, weak/sketchy internet access and so forth to contend with also.

    Hard to really comment what is best in this sort of an environment, we don't have enough information but discussion to broaden the problem space and thinking is always a good thing in my opinion.
  • Dave Elliott: i dont have any of the adobe cs apps on my tablet(or indeed my tablet on me!) but i can certainly upload umm everything i've tried so far.
  • Dave Elliott: surely this is what google drive/drop box were made for! I have loads of psds ais and umm stuff in there. No excuse for not having files you need anymore reall!
  • Dave Elliott: This may be of interest to you. ;http://moz.com/ugc/the-definitive-guide-to-googles-new-mobile-seo-rules
  • Rick Molenaar: Thanks +Dave Elliott, it's very helpfull!
  • Andrei Gherghel: I would definetely go for 2 separate websites: the desktop version and the one for mobile/smartphone/tablet. Why ? Because I don't think its ok to have different content on the same page and it might be misunderstood by the search engines and may be treated as cloaking. 
  • W.E. Jonk: When it comes to search engines I would go for an one URL approach. Basically with a one URL approach you have two options:

    - Dynamic HTML
    - Responsive design ;


    Although it is somewhat similar to rel canonical and rel alternate with an m-dot-site, having one URL is the most clear signal you can give to search engines that the two pages are the same. ;

    As a side note and thinking outloud: Filling in a credit card can be quite painful for mobile user and for android users you might increase your conversion with ;http://www.google.com/wallet/business/payments/index.html
  • Thomas Hale, Jr.: Not an SEO response I know, but....

    From a marketing perspective - Does the client have a call center? I think you are right about mobile revenues due to the nature of the business. However, there are many potential customers who may need or want to call the business. Be it for technical help, to follow up on orders, etc. If you do have a call center, and there is some mobile engagement which leads to revenue from mobile click to call calls, then focus the mobile site / landing page on generating more of those calls.
  • Justin Y: I agree with responsive design. Having a mobile site in my opinion wouldn't be the route that I would choose. You can probably create the same if not better user experience by using responsive design. You can also create a custom setup and pages to handle mobile/tablet visits. Like +Dave Elliott has mentioned, there are lots of ways to serve different files types that might not be supported from all device(s) directly and the cloud is a great way to go. 
  • Aleta Curry: This is particularly interesting to me because I'm researching this issue for an upcoming blog post. Before I go any further, may I quote you guys (and, interestingly, it is all 'guys' at the moment) in the article? ; If you don't want me to, please let me know and I will of course respect that.

    I'm a fan of responsive design but in reviewing my new site, a geek friend said that it seemed to him that I relied too heavily on having the CMS provide the responsiveness rather than seeing to it (coding) it myself. ; He was quite right. I thought it was okay, and in fact he thought it was 'okay', too, but he would have rather seen it improved by paying particular attention to the mobile view.

    So my point would be that if you're going the responsive route and if you're going to do it yourself, consider how important the mobile design would be, and act accordingly; if your skills are not up to it, maybe get some outside ($cha-ching$) help.
  • Justin Y: +Aleta Curry I can't speak for everyone but I don't mind if you do, it's just he said he said. Lol
  • Aleta Curry: :)

    Yes, +Justin Y but sometimes on reflection we find that what we typed is not quite what we meant, so I can see people being a little cautious about being quoted when they hadn't realised it was a possibility.


View original question in the Dumb SEO Questions community on Facebook, 07/24/2013).

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