Increasing Mobile Search Visibility through Guest Blogging
While the anticipation of Mobilegeddon was accompanied with roughly as much ruckus and chaos as the name promised, its actual unfolding wasn’t quite as sky rending as expected. Optimizing for mobile search results has already been a popular subject, and the update really pushed it into the spotlight for a while. However, even with all the talk, little has been said about how you can use guest blogging to boost your website’s ranking in mobile results.
This may not be all that surprising when you consider that, perhaps inspired by a study (which requires a free registration to view or download), that Searchmetrics conducted after the update people have mostly been focusing on changes on their own websites – increasing page speed, allowing robots the access to CSS and Java, cleaning up redirects and 404s, purging everything that might be considered clutter from the content, and so on.
Another reason for the fact that the subject of this particular article doesn’t seem to have been widely discussed is that a lot of people might still be somewhat hesitant of saying the words “guest blogging” less they stir up some dormant Cutts curse.
Neither of these reasons was enough to deter us form exploring the subject further. While guest blogging is often stigmatized, when it’s done properly, with attention to content you distribute and people you collaborate with, it is still a great way to promote your site, regardless of the occasional panic surrounding it. With that in mind, let’s dive in and see if your approach to guest blogging should change depending on the platform you want to optimize for.
If you want your site to rank highly in mobile search, it seems safe to assume that if any kind of links were able to help with its visibility, it’s links coming from sites that are favorably viewed by the algorithm. There is currently no evidence for this, but it seems reasonable that if Google considers links a recommendation, it would value those coming from mobile optimized sites more than those coming from sources that are themselves not considered that mobile friendly or relevant.
If you want your site to rank well in mobile, it is only in your interest to increase the amount of traffic that you are getting from this platform. Publishing on sites that have proven to rank highly in mobile search is one of the better ways to do this. Which is also why you’ll want to ensure that the content you send, and consequently that page that it will be published on, conforms to what has crystallized as mobile optimization best practices. So let’s have a look at how you can do this.
First of all, you need to be aware of the fact that there is a quite a bit of difference between content that would rank well on mobile and content that is perfectly optimized for desktop viewing. This is to say that if you offer an article that will be tailored to satisfy mobile search criteria, you might be sacrificing some of the visibility that the page where it’s published might otherwise have achieved in desktop environments. With the fact that most blogs are meant to be viewed on larger screens, and are only accessed via mobile when the situation demands it, make sure that you want to take this approach before submitting your contribution or pitching a topic. If you do decide that you would like a mobile optimized guest post more than one likely to rank well for desktop, we’ll give you a couple of pointers.
First of all, the study that we’ve linked to at the beginning of this post has analyzed the top results for a huge set of keywords in both mobile and desktop environments and compared the results of the sites that ranked best in either category. One of the conclusions they have reached is that pages that ranked well in mobile search on average have significantly lower word count than those ranking in desktop results. While the average for the latter was around 1200 word on the page, mobile friendly pages averaged 868.
This is hardly surprising, as is the fact that you shouldn’t provide as many images to go along with your post as you would if you were targeting a different platform. They would not only cause too much clutter on a smaller screen, but could also increase the page loading time. Searchmetric’s study found that while desktop optimized pages on average have 9 images, mobile optimized ones only have 4 or less.
What might come as a bit of a surprise but actually makes sense once you think about it, is that mobile optimized content seems to be more demanding to read than the one published on sites that did well in desktop rankings. The reason for this might be the imposed brevity of the format, which is easier to achieve if you use more complex words to explain difficult concepts as succinctly as possible.
Content likely to rank in mobile has also been found to usually contain less internal links and keywords in the body of the text than its counterpart, but more proof terms (words semantically related to the main keyword). While this is interesting to note, you shouldn’t try to stuff your content with them. If you are offering a well researched and written article, and we hope that you know that this is the first prerequisite for any kind of guest blogging strategy, chances are that you are going to mention this terms organically anyway.
Unordered lists seem to be quite popular in mobile, as they allow you to stay concise but informative within the confines of smaller screens. The only thing left to add is that the ones that seemed to do best in mobile searches were usually somewhat shorter than the ones that you would see in pages populating the upper reaches of desktop results.
When it comes to your choice of topic, there are at least two things that you have to keep in mind. First, you have to consider the circumstances in which people are most likely to be reading a blog on a mobile device and the type of information they might be after in that kind of situation; and secondly, that the value of social shares is higher than you may have gotten used with desktop search. This is to say that, while making sure that your content is sharable has always been recommended, it becomes even more important when we talk about mobile search.
Testing the Waters
Again, while it hasn’t been confirmed, it stands to reason that having a link on a page that ranks well in mobile search is likely to contribute more to your rankings for the same platform than a link from a corresponding, non mobile friendly page would. We have given you a short overview of how you can go about this, and would love it if you shared your results with us in order to conclusively confirm or debunk the theory.