Mobile firms push metaTXT as SEO standard

Ten mobile companies are rallying around a standard for mobile search engine optimization, to help make mobile web sites easier to find.

The metaTXT standard, developed by Visibility Mobile and Medio Systems, proposes a technological solution to the problem of making mobile web sites more discoverable by defining multiple user-agent entry points for web sites, regardless of whether they're traditional Web sites or mobile sites.

So, rather than the search engine focusing primarily on web sites designed for PCs, it will be able to find all relevant sites, and indicate which URL a user-agent should follow to bring web site info most relevant to end-users.

"That means you won't have to use the .mobi domain for a mobile search engine to find you," Visibility Mobile president Bena Roberts told telecomasia.net.

With metaTXT, mobile sites will be discoverable whether their URL is m.name.com, wap.name.com or name.com/mobile, she said.

Abphone, Bango, JumpTap, Taptu, MCN, Mobilytics, Nubiq and RingRing Media have formed a working group with Visibility Mobile and Medio to back the standard, which is free of charge and being driven by Ireland's Waterford Institute of Technology.

According to Visibility Mobile, around a thousand mobile sites are using metaTXT, but the scope of the working group could expand that to 200 million sites.

The group is also in talks with W3C, dotMobi and the Mobile Marketing Association to convince them to endorse the metaTXT standard.

Roberts said metaTXT was created in response to the lack of options available for mobile site owners to make it to the top of a search results list - no matter how optimized their metatags and keywords might be.

"People like to say there's only one web, but the reality is search engines are designed to find PC web sites, not mobile web sites, and they're too slow in any case," Roberts said. "The mobile web is so different compared to the online world. There's no pay track or link association."

Roberts added that while the mobile sector gets excited about access to the "real web" via devices like the iPhone, "that's great, but there are three billion mobile users in the world using handsets that aren't "˜real web' phones. The beauty of metaTXT is that even if you're using a GPRS phone, it will work."

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