By Tim Jenkins, UK Director at e-Spirit,

Did you know that consumers spend more than 15 hours per week searching on their smartphone? Or that the majority of users starts their search on a search engine instead of a branded mobile site? Or that 93 per cent of people who research products online go on to complete a purchase? These findings should be more than enough reason to have a look at mobile strategy and discuss how to ramp up mobile SEO. And if that is not compelling enough, companies should consider this: mobile search will overcome desktop search by as soon as the middle of this year. It’s time to prepare.

Even though mobile internet has been available for a while now, the Nielsen study shows that the trend for mobile search is one that continues to be increasingly important. That is why it stand to reason that developing and implementing a professional mobile SEO strategy could give companies a true advantage over their competitors. But how?

Firstly, it is important to understand that mobile SEO is indeed very different from desktop SEO. This is primarily due to completely new search patterns employed by users. Over the years, users have learned to use short word combinations to describe their query as clearly and precise as possible in their desktop search. Now, with new applications such as Google’s Hummingbird or Apple’s Siri, it is possible to search whole sentences or even spoken commands. This gives a new dimension to search requests and urges companies to rethink their SEO strategy and adapt to the mobile environment.

However, companies do not have to start from scratch. An existing corporate SEO strategy can build an excellent basis for mobile as two factors continue to be essential: excellent content and a great customer experience.

First of all, producing high-quality content that is original, unique and relevant for the target group remains at the heart of any content strategy, whether it is mobile or desktop-based. With mobile however, it is even more essential to focus on quality rather than quantity. After all, mobile phone users do not want to read large articles on relatively small screens – they are looking for information that is short, to the point and ready to read “on-the-go”.

It is also important not to forget the meaning of the word ‘mobile’. For mobile users, the ability to easily and quickly access and consume information is key. Not only are users active and more likely to be distracted while searching on their phone but they also demand greater efficiency. Readability, website design and content presentation are therefore important steps on the way to a great customer experience.

Secondly, the importance of creating a great mobile experience should not be underestimated. It is one of the most important parts of any mobile SEO strategy. After all, a great customer experience is what turns searches into purchases, makes browsers customers and improves website rankings. Despite this it is interesting to note that, many companies still lag in mobile experience as they struggle with long loading times, website formats and other important factors.

As so often in life, the first impression is what counts. Companies need to make sure that their online presence is immaculate no matter what device customers are using. Responsive design can be a very good way to unite all devices under one URL and ensure that the company’s brand presence remains professional across all devices. By automatically detecting the device, responsive design adjusts the layout and saves time as users do not have to wait to be redirected to the main website. Apart from that, having just one site and SEO campaign makes website management easier – and improves Google rankings.

Finally, it is important to take the changed search behaviour of users into consideration. The way mobile users search for information has changed dramatically over the last few years. With the introduction of Hummingbrid and Siri, search queries have become much more conversational. Understanding voice searches and key words typically queried by mobile users will be essential for any successful SEO strategy. Users no longer just combine search words – key words will have to be put into logical, and often geographical, context. To give you an example, if a user is looking for ‘the nearest restaurant’, the establishment with the right conversational keywords in their content ranks higher and is easier to be found in the search results. This creates a valuable advantage over the competiton.

Even though the elements above are just a few key pillars to successful mobile SEO, they all have the power to ensure one thing – your company will be found in the wide open expanses of the internet. Companies that know their customers, provide excellent content with the right keywords and put emphasis on a great customer experience across all devices will certainly have the best mobile SEO strategy possible.