October 21, 2012

Mobile Cloaking in the coming years

Do you have a mobile CSS on your website? I think it is time you’d better get one. Especially if you work with lead generation, sales or any type of transaction on your website. Mobile traffic is increasing like a mother fucker and you need to be prepared for it. Are you still asking the question of whether or not to build a native app or build a mobile website? Don’t. Build a website. First. Then see if you have the need for an app.

What is cloaking?

Going back a few years in time, a practice was used to deliver one content type to the visitor and another to the Google bot. This would make Google believe that your web pages were filled with valuable text and image content that was highly relevant for some keyword. Whilst, in fact, your page, when served to a normal user, had all but copy on it. It was simply a cluster of your most converting content put into a structure where it would convert the most possible visitors.

Webmasters did this so that they would rank for stuff their pages didn’t really deserve to rank for. This practice was called cloaking.

Google solved the problem by further developing their algorithm so that it would detect this practice. They also added manual checks of websites in order to rule out any sneaky bastards who had been able to reverse engineer the new changes to the algo. In a sense, cloaking is a part of the past, at least when it comes to PC/Mac to web interaction.

Mobile cloaking is here

However, as the web has expanded to also include delivering access to mobile devices our cloaking skills are experiencing somewhat of a renaissance. People are to a greater extent picking up their mobile to search for whatever they want to find. From our analytics we have seen mobile usage, of the websites we monitor, increase gradually. For the past few months, this traffic increase has started to accelerate.

So, what should you do with this traffic when it comes to your website? My suggestion is that you cloak the living shit out of it. 

So what do I mean when I say “cloak the living shit out of it”. Well, basically I am talking about offering another interface for your mobile visitors than you serve your computer browser users. Fair enough. But I mean seriously change the way it looks in the mobile. Users are lazy. Remove the unnecessary stuff. Give them only the essential for conversion. Either to a lead with an e-mail form, or through a simple one click to phone number purchase. Google doesn’t seem to penalize you for this. Perhaps, because you are actually delivering a better page experience than the one with all the text on it.

What is your Mobile cloaking opportunity?

This will not only improve your conversion rates, but it will also improve your usability for the visitor through the mobile phone.

And it is here that Google’s dilemma becomes escalated. They will probably never be able to penalize you for these differences in delivery. Users will not like pages with loads of text on them in their mobile phone. Thus, as Google has the ambition to deliver great content, they will have to adapt to finding a way to rank good mobile pages. The only way they can do that today is to use the web css delivery, regardless if you serve your visitors with something else through the mobile phone.

From all I can derive from the numbers, Google will rank you in the cellphone based on how your webpage is behaving to a “non-mobile” visitor. It will give you some advantage for localized content as well as for mobile CSS. HOW this mobile CSS displays the content on the other hand, seems to be of lesser significance.

People are searching the web through the phone. Ok. The search behavior is a bit different. It pays to keep an eye out for what Google suggest is giving the users as options for your specific niche keywords. Use it. People are lazy and more prone to use what is offered to them. Either way. You should be seeing more traffic from the cellphone. Both social as well as search traffic.

So. That’s an opportunity for you.

 

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