Mercedes made headlines recently with their revamped mobile site. The good news is that they were able to increase mobile traffic 85% year to date, and 170% over last year. The bad news is that when I looked at their revamped site it was evident that they didn’t account for SEO as part of the redesign, and could have driven mobile traffic up much more if they had. Recently in Search Engine Land I explained that mobile SEO is not a myth. To further prove that it exists I’m going to go through a basic mobile SEO audit for Mercedes’ new site, to demonstrate how one brand failed to take advantage of mobile search traffic by thinking about how mobility affects search behavior and site architecture. Hopefully this exercise will help the rest of you avoid the same mistakes.
Basic [brand + "mobile"] Search in Mobile
When I audit a mobile site, one of the first things that I’ll do is search on the phrase “[insert brand name here] mobile site” in order to see if a brand can be found for navigational mobile queries. In this case we’ll use “Mercedes mobile site”, which according to the Google Adwords Keyword tool gets about 1,300 searches per month in Google.
Entering these keywords in Google should return the m.mbusa.com site, since the query is navigational and there’s little competition. However, when I entered the query, no such web site was found.
In fact, the first result was Mercedes.mobi, which was the only thing that looked like an official site on the page. The rest of the articles had to do with the recent site redesign.
Doing a site: search in Google, it became evident that the site was not listed for the navigational query because it was not eligible for that query—that the site developers had neutered it by nofollowing the site with robots.txt.