Mobile Search Optimization: About to become obsolete?

Mobile Search Optimization has been a bit of a buzzword this last twelve months. Web sites have long ignored the cellphone-based web surfer, but lately there has been much interest. There may be huge opportunities for websites optimized for cellphones, PDAs, toasters, and all of the other crazy devices visitors might be using to surf the web. More and more consumers are requiring email and even web access on their cellphones. Initiatives are merging local search, coupons, and even GPS. Mobile search optimization surely is the next huge possibility for traffic. Is your website ready?

It may not matter. With Apple’s impending introduction of the iPhone, everything may change. Again. Consider:

1. There will be a whole new set of expectations for how a phone should browse. With the iPod, Apple defined the niche. Competitors were weighed against Apple’s offering. With the introduction of full-featured browsing via the iPhone, consumers are about to demand more from their phones. They won’t demand a better mobile experience. They are demanding the full desktop experience in a mobile phone.

2. Who would visit a .mobi site, when the full featured experience of a .com is available? In most cases, I would be too lazy to attempt a .mobi surf – since I KNOW the .com is available. We all just want to get our data and get on our way. Only hobbyist surfers would want to go check out the .mobi sites. Who wants to look at a dumbed-down webpage?

Was mobile search optimization a waste of time? Having a few major companies optimize their websites for cellphones probably didn’t make much of a blip on the radar. It’s hard to say what the ROI was for their efforts, but it was likely more of a bet for the future. What do you think – Is mobile search optimization worthwhile for your company or clients?

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