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"This is the year of mobile".

This proclamation is heard every year in SEO, paid media, and web design circles. So much so that it's getting a little tired at this point.

Yet, as we redeclare each year "The Year of Mobile", it's not that the prior claim was made incorrectly; it's just that with each passing year, mobile becomes more important than it was in the year that preceded it.

So what are we to do? Do we bestow The Year of Mobile title anew upon each successive year or do we just accept that each year will progressively become more mobile — and more portable — than the last? Do we make peace with the fact that there will be no zenith when mobile is more important than it ever has been and more important now than it ever will be in the future? 

Whichever way you're leaning, it's clear that the web has been on a mobile path for a while. But are we really honoring that and acting on that information?

As web professionals, I'm willing to bet that most of us spend the majority of our time working on desktop or laptop computers; we're not mobile-first by any stretch of the imagination. Nonetheless, we acknowledge that the majority of our website visitors, blog readers, and paying customers are using mobile devices while they interact with us. Could it be that our default mode of working, our beloved way of getting sh*t done, keeps us removed from the mobile experience? I think it's very possible. I'd actually say that it's more than likely.

At UpBuild, we're talking about this shift a lot and exploring how we can more intentionally walk in the shoes of users on mobile devices, but we still have a long way to go. Will Hattman, one of our Senior Marketing Strategists, wrote a great post about this that I'd encourage you to read. Beyond that, here's a little homework for you if you're game: 

  • If you're not already on mobile, open and read this newsletter (and any links you choose to follow) on your mobile phone.

  • Do the same with your company's latest newsletter. How does it hold up compared to on desktop (where it was likely composed)?

  • Search for your brand name on Google's mobile search and visit your homepage. Imagine you've never been to the site before and ask, "is there clear direction telling me what to do next?"

    • The catch: you have to ask this before you scroll anywhere or click on anything.

  • See what Google users in countries with slow mobile connections might be seeing when they visit your site. Google Weblight transcodes pages to load faster in many non-US countries; the trouble is, it doesn't always produce great output. To check yours out, head to this test URL and replace with your full homepage address.

    • True Story: I spent a month in Brazil in 2016 and I was getting these transcoded pages all the time when I did a search on my phone, even on wifi. It drove me crazy, but that's the everyday experience of folks over there.

  • Extra Credit: Let us know what you learned by replying to this newsletter! 

Thanks for coming along with me on this thought journey. Until next time, happy optimizing.

Mike Arnesen
Founder/CEO/Geek-at-Large at UpBuild

AMP for 2018

Speaking of mobile, let's talk about AMP. It feels like we've been fielding a lot of questions about AMP recently. Many have taken the form of, "I know everyone was gung-ho on AMP a few years ago and we might be able to make that happen in 2018. Is it worth it? Is it still something you'd recommend?"

Well, Ruth took on this question in her latest post on our blog. Find out what's new with AMP, whether or not it actually helps your rankings, and more.

We Need a Real Mobile SEO Methodology

Here's the aforementioned post from Will Hattman. Will makes some fantastic points in this piece and points out an uncomfortable truth about the SEO industry: that "SEO practitioners simply cannot adopt a felt, experienced appreciation for this changed landscape, for the simple reason that desktop computers are still, overwhelmingly, the devices that we use to do the work."

I really enjoyed reading this post myself and hope you'll do the same.

Okay Google, What Are You Really Saying?

It's not uncommon for marketers, including myself, to use "mobile" to refer to "everything except desktop". But do screenless devices with voice-based interfaces really count as "mobile"?

Phones with Google Assistant or Siri are mobile, but products like the Sonos One, Amazon Alexa, or Google Home are definitely NOT mobile. Nonetheless, there's a lot to unpack there as it relates to the non-desktop experience. If you haven't already read James' great post on voice search (it was our last post of 2017), you should definitely check it out.

Until next time. Thanks for reading!
Want to stay up-to-date on our new content as we post it? Head over to our blog and check out what we've been writing
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