SEO and the iPad: Thoughts From A Real Agency

Lots of people have written about the iPad so far. We’re not tech journalists — we’re an SEO agency that builds quality, conversion-driven websites and does kick-ass, honest internet marketing. So how, exactly, does the iPad affect us? Let’s try and find out.

First: There’s No Flash.

Theoretically, flash could show up on the iPad in the future, but as we pointed out in our article on why we don’t develop in flash, we’re not betting on it. The source code isn’t very well-optimized for mobile smartphones, and Apple is already taking a practical/political stance on the plugin that suggests they’re going to heavily push HTML5 instead.

How does this affect us? Well, for one thing, flash remains 100% non-searchable. If you embed your content in flash, you not only cannot be properly indexed by Google, but you’re increasingly going to miss out on a ton of mobile traffic coming your way, and now on future search traffic from the iPad. If you build a fall-back site for iPhone/iPad/non-flash users, great, but that’s double the development costs and time, and requires you to update across two platforms. While Flash is plenty useful for some things, the fact that it’s not on the iPad is an important harbinger for where search and internet marketing are going in the future.

Second: It’s a New Paradigm.

While everyone was busy complaining that the iPad was “nothing but a large iPod touch”, some key writers online (especially Steven Frank) realized that inherent in that very statement is an entirely new way to think about how we use computers.

We’ve been using what are essentially “swiss army knives” for the last 20 years, and for a huge number of users, that level of functionality is absolutely, completely unnecessary. At the same time that this concept opens up the computer where it doesn’t really need to be open, it also makes computers incredibly complex and annoying for people like our collective grandmothers.

That’s a good metaphor for us — we often re-write clients’ copy in order to cater to a metaphorical grandmother, not because we’re trying to “dumb anything down,” but rather because it means you’re explaining your product in simple but honest, respectful language.

If the iPad becomes that one magical computing device that finally gets the grandmothers of the world onto the internet in greater numbers than they already are — and I already know it is the first and only computer (besides the iPhone) I have ever considered trying to get my own grandmother to use — that will be a massive, massive flow of new users streaming onto the internet.

They are going to be searching for things, and they are going to be buying things, and they will be doing so from their iPads and future iterations of the device. If it is a success, it will bring a mass of people online who are just not going to make the effort otherwise.

Three: It Will Probably Change the Advertising Game.

Both Google and Apple are pushing mobile advertising, and the iPad, for all that’s been written of it existing in the ‘netbook’ class of computers, is likely to be considered more of a mobile device than anything short of the iPhone itself. Hell, it runs the iPhone OS, after all.

That means those same ads that are quietly showing up in various apps right now, in what remains a small-but-about-to-massively-explode market? A huge part of that market will be taken up by iPad clicks.

Personally, I’ve never once clicked on an AdMob ad, mainly because I didn’t want to bust out of my app and see some ad — it just doesn’t seem natural. But if the iPad eventually introduces some sort of rudimentary form of multitasking, or the advertising models take advantage of its new “Popover” UI element, then I’ll probably be singing a different tune.

That means in a few short months, we could be optimizing your AdWords campaigns to be showing up inside the latest and most popular iPad app, where a customized landing page with a format that none of us have even thought of yet will be showing up.

It’ll be an exciting time, and we’ll be there for it.

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4 Responses to “SEO and the iPad: Thoughts From A Real Agency”

  1. Mike says:

    Great article. I think Steven Frank is spot on with his assessment of the future of computers.

  2. Norbert says:

    Wow, I’m speechless, I’m finally reading some smart and common sense thoughts about the iPad..
    (on top of those thousands of articles from “tech journalists”, complaining about the lack of flash, multitasking, etc. over and over.. And that is “journalists” that any serious press wouldn’t even consider and “tech” because they read lots of “PC Magazine” issues and used a Windows PC for a few years…)

  3. Ron phelps says:

    at last…
    like the other comment.. speechless.. common sense.

    and as I think about it.. if seeing the future was easy all of us would
    be down at the race track..

    I think apple is tapping a huge market, just that right now most people don’t even know they are that market..
    I know several people with net books.. they … do what?
    surf the net.. generally thats it .. just surf …all the other stuff they can do with that tiny computer is just for show… in fact it gets in the way..
    it’s like man said .. opens in the wrong spot. it opens into an operating system.
    hahahaha apple will blow every one away..
    If you have ever put an itouch into the hands of a NON-DIGITAL person
    then seen them come alive to computers and the web….

    well… use common sense.. great article//

  4. Mark Stone says:

    Thanks for the post! Couldn’t have said anything any better and I won’t instead I’ll tweet a link to this.

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