These days, the entry points to the Internet are becoming increasingly diverse. Once relegated to computers, the ability to access the Internet eventually came to phones and tablets — and we’re now seeing the emergence of a wide variety of Web-enabled devices, including TVs, glasses, watches, cars, microwave ovens and more.
As newer Internet-capable devices come to market, they bring not only differing displays to respond to, but also differing search intent. Moving forward, websites need to be able to accommodate these different devices and the searchers behind them.
Instead of employing a singular, “hope it applies to all” SEO approach, we must get to the core of search intent on these different devices with what I call Nexus SEO.
What Is Meant By Nexus SEO?
The term nexus means:
- A means of connection; a link or tie
- A connected series or group
- The core or center
Not to be confused with Google’s Nexus Android devices, Nexus SEO is optimizing your site for any Web-enabled device (within reason) that might reasonably be seeking you and your services, taking into account how search intent differs across devices. This is ideally achieved with dynamic serving.
Why is this necessary? As mentioned above, the device a user conducts a search from can sometimes have a huge impact on searcher intent. For example, say a user searches for a coupon-related keyword. If they’re searching from a desktop, you’d probably want to serve them a coupon page that’s formatted for a printer; if they’re searching from a mobile device, on the other hand, you’d probably want to serve up a coupon that can be scanned from the screen.
As another example, let’s say someone searches for the search term [gas]. If they’re conducting this search from a mobile device while in a car, they’re likely searching for open gas stations within range of what’s left in the tank. On a desktop, they could be researching the cheapest places to buy gas — or a potential internal ailment.
8 Reasons For Nexus SEO
Below are eight reasons for shifting to a Nexus SEO strategy.
- As more devices transmit searches to others displays, such as Chromecast, simply responding to the user-agent of the transmitting device loses the intent of the destination display. Websites will need to allow user adjustment of the site to device type rather than simply relying on responsive design.
- Responsive design does not work across all devices. For example, Google has noted that feature phones, which still account for a large segment of online search in some countries (like India), are unable to follow the CSS queries that make responsive design possible.
- Search ranking results and optimization criteria already vary based on device, i.e., the same search could yield different results if done on a laptop, smartphone and feature phone. This delta is growing as Google refines its metrics for each device and looks to add a tablet site crawler (with expected varying metrics for those search results) as early as this year.
- Ever-increasing notification overlays with Google Now are based on location, user history and device intent. For example, as Google’s driver-less cars become prominent, they provide the driver and passengers with the ability to surf the Web and watch videos while “driving” (think this could be the reason why Google is doing this?). This not only increases Google’s advertising exposure but also requires sites to properly optimize for the car (and devices within it) — especially for searches related to local businesses, such as nearby restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions.
- Google generally suggests responsive design, as it is relatively easy to implement, even for beginner webmasters. However, Google has signaled that they are interested in crawling device-specific content provided by dynamic serving, which means this could make a difference in a device type’s search results.
- There will be a growing expectation of Smarter Content that adjusts to the intent and social media behavior on specific device types.
- Google recently has provided a responsive ad unit that looks to bridge over to its long-term approach with Google Web Designer, to be launched later this year. This tool allows professionals to create cross-device “engaging Web content” in HTML5 that may provide an edge within the search results.
- The reality is that search is a large part of any device’s behavior. Searchers look for websites as an entry point for one-off activities, which often leads to discovery of products and services. Apps then make use of that discovery, becoming key for retention and continued activities.
- Responsive design essentially “rearranges the deck chairs” of a site, which does nothing when approaching “icebergs of intent.” Dynamic serving, on the other hand, allows you to actually steer the site toward a proper Nexus SEO strategy.
Nexus SEO Next Steps
In October 2013, SMX East has an entire track of panels on Mobile with 4 sessions that will touch on elements of what can be called Nexus SEO. Later that month I will be on a panel kicking off PubCon Vegas 2013, where I will detail the Nexus SEO process further… as well here at Marketing Land.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.