A recent study found marketers aren't proactively creating mobile strategies - they're using the same approaches across devices.

Mobile search is poised to change web marketing. Competing for space on smaller screens that display fewer results, brands need to find a way to outrank local competitors. The challenge is understood, but the path to success has remained a mystery.

At this year’s ClickZ Live NY event, Googler Jonathan Pelosi gave a presentation about how to stay ahead of the curve as mobile search becomes the primary way people find information online. He recommended buying mobile Ad formats that can be optimized for users on various devices, but Pelosi or the Ad formats could not offer an organic way to optimize for smartphone and tablet results.

With no clear-cut mobile SEO approaches yet, marketers need to stay agile and think critically about how they can give prospects in-demand answers in the most convenient fashion possible. Ultimately, this comes down to creating a mobile-friendly website design and publishing content that’s accessible to on-the-go readers.

It’s understandable that marketers are not completely on top of mobile optimization yet, but it’s surprising to see that the majority haven’t done anything. A recent report from Kenshoo Digital and comScore revealed that most companies are hoping the keyword lists, web content and bid strategies they create for desktop search will pay off in mobile, too.

  • 52 percent of surveyed marketers said they use basically the same keywords strategies for all devices. Only 7 percent report they’re doing anything different. 
  • 30 percent said they’re taking the same content creation route, while 47 percent said they’re taking a slightly different approach for content across devices. 
  • 12 percent admit their bid strategies are essentially the same across devices, while 45 percent are doing something slightly different when they are targeting smartphones, tablets and desktops.

Marketers need to optimize their content differently for mobile device users.Doing the same thing and expecting different results may not be the winning approach marketers are looking for. Brands need to be proactive with mobile optimization, determining which keywords people are more apt to use when they’re searching for information on their smartphones, or looking for answers on tablets at home. Content should likewise be adapted with searcher intent in mind, putting information in shorter sentences that are easy to digest in a hurry.

Even if there isn’t a set of rules for getting to the top of mobile SERPs, there are still a lot of common-sense approaches marketers can take to prepare their campaigns for the coming mobile shift.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.