Welcome to WebmasterWorld Guest from 3.92.92.168

Forum Moderators: LifeinAsia

Message Too Old, No Replies

Search Engines, Traffic, and Mobile

     
5:24 pm on Oct 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

Administrator from GB 

WebmasterWorld Administrator engine is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:May 9, 2000
posts: 26460
votes: 1076


Zombie traffic has been a hot topic here at WebmasterWorld for some time, and the speculation is rife as to what it all means: Panda roll-out, bots, spammers, etc.

One aspect that's changed over the past few years has been the inexorable rise in mobile use around the planet, and this has had a number of different effects.
1. We know it's been difficult for many to monetize mobile traffic: Small screens, fat fingers, tiny ads don't help, but even so, the CPC is lower, too.
2. Delivering data on a mobile is difficult: Smaller screens mean that data needs to be delivered in different formats to that of a desktop.
3. Ranking sites on mobile search: Another thing that's a challenge as a small screen, once again, means there's not a great deal of real estate to show SERPs as you would on a desktop. The knowledge graph or Wikipedia can take pride of place on a mobile SERPs, and others sites will just not get a look in.
4. Mobile is entirely different to desktop: Most people use their phones to open an app more frequently than search. Every major site or brand has an app, which is sitting there ready to be used. No need to go to a search engine.

Is it any surprise why mobile is tough for the average webmaster!

Should we all bite the bullet and create an app? And if we do, will that really help?
5:56 pm on Oct 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

Preferred Member

10+ Year Member

joined:Sept 24, 2002
posts:512
votes: 5


Should we all bite the bullet and create an app? And if we do, will that really help?


If you're a merchant and have an ecommerce site, I think at some point it will almost be a necessity - if only for customer loyalty. Smaller ecommerce sites will likely get most of their "first time customers" through search or other online marketing methods. But once a customer has ordered from the site, it just seems common sense to have an "app" available that the customer can download to use (if the customer so chooses).

That said, the app is in no way a replacement for a website that is fully functional on all devices (aka...a responsive website or something similar). Ecommerce sites in the future will, I think, want to have both a "mobile friendly website" and an app available.

For informational sites and blogs and such that rely on advertising, the answer I think is "it depends." It would depend on the purpose of the website, who its visitors are, if it is even possible to monetize the app (monetizing informational/blog apps doesn't seem easy at all), and a lot more site-specific things.

For my own informational site, I can't yet fathom how to make money off it if I put it into an app form - and putting the site into an app format would be a massive undertaking. But perhaps that will change in the months or years ahead.

We know it's been difficult for many to monetize mobile traffic: Small screens, fat fingers, tiny ads don't help, but even so, the CPC is lower, too.


I can't speak to other webmasters, but CPC on Adsense ads for me is extremely low. Mobile, while lower, isn't "that much lower" anymore. It's a case of the desktop/tablet sphere "catching up" to the mobile sphere - and not in a good way from the publishers perspective!

However, while Adsense and banner ads seem to convert terribly for me anymore, plain old boring text links seem to work wonderfully for mobile visitors. If you have an informational/blog type site, boring text or native-served simple graphical images with a short caption, combined with an affiliate link that leads to a "mobile friendly" merchant website, can work extremely well. On my own site, mobile conversions from these types of links are identical to desktop conversions. They are just a royal pain to implement, which is why most people probably don't do this.
4:17 pm on Oct 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from CA 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 25, 2003
posts:1351
votes: 443


Note: the mobile time shift to apps from browser first tipped app in 2010, in 2013 it was 80%, in 2014 86%.

However, ~80% (a percentage that has stayed pretty consistent) of that app time is spent on games and social media. Plus another ~15% spent on news and entertainment. Which is ~95% of app usage time.

To put it another way: last year mobile users spent 14% of their time using a web browser and ~5% of their time using a non-game, non-SM, non-news/entertainment app. And that ~5% includes shopping behemoths like Amazon.

Some more considerations:
* while the number of apps on a mobile varies greatly both by individual and age group it is typically between 20 and 50. That number includes utility, game, SM, news, entertainment apps. That doesn't leave m/any opportunity spaces.
* on average over half of mobile users use less than 5-apps daily, a third more use fewer than 10.
So even if your app is downloaded it may not be used.
* two-thirds of US mobile users download zero apps each month.

Why?
* because the sales pitch far exceeded the value once received.
Note: this applies to all apps.
* because most apps are lost in the disaster that are the app stores.
* because many/most download apps based on WOM.

Now: back to the OP question: Should we all bite the bullet and create an app? And if we do, will that really help?

Yes. No. Maybe.
It depends.
* is the value being delivered by the app better/other than can be delivered by a mobile usable website? Does it feel like magic or a site by other means?
In other words: make a compelling business case.
For instance while my sites are evergreen info they do include reviews and discounts that are much better delivered at POS location by app.

* for most webdev sites aka not the Amazon destination sites of the world an app is really a variation on the loyalty card. It does not in and of itself bring hordes of new visitors; it may help retain those who visit, bring that segment back more often. Sooo... can you offer loyal app users special considerations?

If you can honestly make the case for 'yes' for both above an app may well be beneficial.
Note: it can suck some of that SE navigational traffic away from the SEs and into your app.

Finally: when it comes to conversions aka sales do you know the breakout between tablets and smart phones? Between Android and iOS? If not you may have to go with overall averages (currently tablets convert several times better than phones, iPads convert much better than Android tablets, Android/iOS smart phones are about even). And Android has a zillion flavours... which what for why do you build in what order when? :)
11:06 pm on Oct 25, 2015 (gmt 0)

Senior Member from CA 

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

joined:Nov 25, 2003
posts:1351
votes: 443


Mobile is hard on just about every webdev, it is particularly difficult for those who are used to plug-n-play, copy-n-paste solutions. Which means, (1) that there are a new majority who are not interested in or not capable of opening the hood and tinkering, and (2) there is a great opportunity for those who don't mind or thrive on getting dirty with code and scripting to enjoy a competitive advantage.

Once one removes the bulk of mobile usage (games, SM, news/entertainment) much/most of what is left is of a local nature. So there is the challenge of mobile combined with the challenge of local (especially local search). Each, to use skiing parlance, is a black diamond (advanced) track, when needed in tandem truly a double black (expert) diamond course.

As each are relatively new, even in internet terms, best practices are still being formalised. That means that plug-n-play solutions are still a year or three away AND even when they arrive will tend to homogenise sites; not the best solution for those looking to stand out from the competition. Those of us who remember the old ( an entire decade or two ago!) days of hand coding all hours for weeks on end and then creating content for months even years have a better idea, I think, of what is required to succeed than more lately come webdevs.

And context driven content has not yet gone mainstream; that looks to be as huge a game changer as was the switch from table to CSS layout. And totally flies in the face of Google's same to everyone delivery mantra. Oops.