Mobile optimization should focus on minimizing scrolling: SES

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NEW YORK - People are depending more and more on their cell phones and PDAs to be able to search on the Web, with new search products for such instruments being launched left and right. Not surprisingly, marketers often are playing catch-up.

Panelists at the Search Engine Strategies Conference & Expo's mobile optimization session yesterday emphasized how important it was to ensure that content is optimized for mobile search tools.

"There are currently 234 million wireless subscribers who are using the mobile Web while on the run," said Rachel Pasqua, director of mobile marketing at iCrossing, Scottsdale, AZ.

Ms. Pasqua said that site content should first address the needs of mobile users. Consider what is important to users in the mobile context.

Cindy Krum, senior search engine optimization analyst at BlueMoon Works, said that marketers should test their sites on multiple devices since there is no standard-size mobile screen.

"People don't have time to learn your site," Ms. Krum said. "Make sure nothing is more than three clicks away from the home page because the connection on mobile phones is slow."

Navigation should appear at the top of your home page, limiting the amount of scrolling that users have to do.

Ms. Krum said that the top of the page should start with a header followed by jump links, main content, navigation and a footer.

She also gave a list of basic of best practices:

- Don't use frames or Flash.

- Give different keyword-rich file names.

- Use optimized heading tags.

- Don't rely on embedded images, objects or scripts.

- Minimize file size.

- Submit your site to major mobile search engines.

On the whole, assume visitors will be slow to scroll, said Gregory Markel, founder and president of Infuse Creative LLC. He said mobile search is supposed to take up as little time as possible.

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