That is, considering the current and future aspects of achieving natural visibility in search results across platforms other than standard internet-ready computers.
As is already well-known across the digital industry, emerging technologies mean that users can access content whenever they want, wherever they want, however they want.
With connected TV platforms being explored by all of the search players, Google, Bing and Yahoo, along with their various efforts into the mobile and tablet markets, this potentially creates entirely new battlegrounds for SEOs to jump into.
The various developments within these areas has been explored by Econsultancy in previous articles, so I won’t speculate on future evolution. Instead, underneath each of the expert’s opinions, I’ve tried to sum up key points that can be taken away and used in a practical sense, rather than theoretical commentary on what may - or may not - happen across the various platforms discussed.
What do you think the main opportunities are for SEO across alternative platforms: eg. mobile, connected TV, tablets, etc?
Jack Hubbard, CEO, Propellernet
Alternative platforms differ in context of where and when they are used. Mobiles and Tablets are portable and lend themselves to search and decide on the move, so retailers should consider that their searchers are often in-store, and not sitting by their desk at home.
Connected TV is not used at work or on the move, so will be used for non work related search activity such as organising the family holiday or checking out the features on that car you have your eye on. Search engines like Google are getting better at understanding the context and serving results in the most useful way.
Key takeaway: Think about the external perspective of your SEO activity and plan accordingly.
Rishi Lakhani, Search Marketing Consultant
These platforms have cemented the death of Flash - so completely strip it out where it powers your sites and start looking at the new standards, such as CSS3 or HTML5. In terms of SEO opportunity, I would say that it's still early days, although the real opportunities will start presenting themselves soon.
However the key issue that currently comes to mind is "location". A lot of people who use mobile handsets or tablets are normally looking at services local to their area... Try and get into that space if you already aren’t there.
Key takeaway: Forget Flash. Don’t neglect local search.
Andrew Girdwood, Media Innovations Director, bigmouthmedia
The main opportunities for SEO in alternative platforms right now are with mobiles and tablets. Connected TV will come later.
As is sometimes the case with SEO, the word “opportunity” can mean “the chance not to make a mistake”. For example - and with this in mind - SEO projects need to consider issues like domains and URL structures. Do you create a site like “m.example.com” for your mobile content and redirect “www.example.com” visitors there? Will that annoy tablet users?
Or do you create a “www.example.com” that adapts its content based on the visiting user-agent in order to suit it? Can you do that without accidently looking like cloaking to Google’s spam detection systems?
SEO and mobile can be symbiotic too... Content is still king in SEO: In 2011, if you’re creating new content with your SEO hat on then it’s a good time to ensure that new content is also mobile friendly.
Key takeaway: Stop future-gazing, but allow for eventualities. Be productive with existing platforms.
Lee Colbran, SEO Director at Fresh Egg
Mobile is going to be massive for SEO, especially if Google decide to reward businesses in the SERPS for having mobile friendly sites (i.e. they somehow give more points in the algo to a site which display correctly and is optimised for a mobile, when searching on a mobile)
Alex Moss, Search Marketing Consultant, Pleer
Focus on the long tail. Smartphones are now equipped with suggestion tools and therefore the connection between desktops and laptops is coming closer to phones and tablets.
Will Critchlow, founder and Chief Strategist, Distilled
Well, it's clearly (finally) the "year of the mobile". Many people have been using smartphones to search for some time, but we are finally seeing the rise of mobile commerce as the interface improves and brands offer increasingly impressive mobile interfaces. As people actually spend money while on the move, this has to become an area of serious focus.
Key takeaway: If you’re not already, get engaged in mobile SEO.
Nichola Stott, Director, theMediaFlow
The main opportunities at the moment are stealing the march on competitors in terms of ensuring your site renders perfectly on mobile and other new devices.
Whilst nowadays there is no real need for .mobi domains or alternate device versions of your website, (as best-practise is to use multiple external style sheets to render the one site), therefore the main opportunity is in making sure your site renders as well as possible, as early as possible – per device.
Key takeaway: When doing mobile SEO, don't cut corners - make sure you do it well.
Kelvin Newman, Creative Director at Site Visibility
The search experience on these different devices is bound to work in a different way, and probably be based on a different algorithm. If there’s a different algorithm there’s got to be a different approach required.
The good news in my book is we can no longer say ‘next year is the year of mobile’ and talk in abstract terms about what might happen. Now we’ve got to get stuck in, prove some positive ROI and learn from our successes and mistakes.
Key takeaway: Don’t hold back!