The Curious Case of M-Commerce SEO

The debate about mobile URLs has been going on long before the .mobi TLD
was launched in 2005. In the past couple of days, Jeremy Keith and
James Pearce wrote up some good articles on the subject. Will the
mobile context require different URLs? Should we aim to have the same
link work well on all devices? This remains to be seen – but it’s
absolutely clear that the current state of affairs, at least in mobile
commerce, is unacceptable.

Here are a couple of examples of mobile stores and the URLs/domains in
place (compared to desktop links for the same item):

Bluefly

*Desktop:*
http://www.bluefly.com/Judith-Ripka-canary-crystal-and-diamond-Berge-rope-bangle/cat1060198/309358001/detail.fly

*Mobile:*
http://m.bluefly.com/mt/www.bluefly.com/Judith-Ripka-canary-crystal-and-diamond-Berge-rope-bangle/cat1060198/309358001/detail.fly

1800flowers.com

*Desktop*:
http://ww31.1800flowers.com/product.do?baseCode=90106&dataset=10314&cm_cid=d10314

*Mobile:*http://app.digby.com/shops/web/flowers?cmd=item&itemId=90106&vendorId=143

These are major global brands we’re talking about (powered by UsableNet
& Digby, respectively) – breaking many SEO basics on mobile. They’ll be
facing the following issues:

Negative impact on search rankings – for mobile & desktop.Search
crawlers get confused by mobile pages located on a different domain with
its own URL structure.

Challenges tracking affiliate revenue.Affiliate-driven purchases are
a significant revenue channel for many retailers, tracking them becomes
difficult or impossible in these scenarios.

Problems with mobile item discovery through search & social.Whenever
you get redirected to a mobile homepage instead of the item you were
looking for, this is the cause.

Pay attention to your mobile URLs and don’t break the web – mobile user
experience depends on this!