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During our DMS conference in September, we held a session on the “starting line” tools for SMBs to establish a mobile presence. This is step 1, before the higher frequency discussion of targeting mobile ads.

It’s what I like to call the “art of the landing page”… where does the click “go”? Indeed, fighting to get clicks — or building any stragegy to do so — is a moot point if you don’t have an optimized landing page.

And like we heard from Duda Mobile’s Itai Sadan (at DMS and in a past post), a low-single-digit percentage of online sites are optimized for mobile. Google has separately reported 79 percent of its top advertisers’ sites aren’t optimized.

That’s why today Google officially launched a program to encourage, educate and assist in getting businesses to optimize mobile landing pages. This includes tips, quality ratings (“gomometer”) and samples of what your mobile site currently looks like.

Interestingly, Google isn’t directly monetizing this effort. In fact, the SMB-facing page to learn more has links to third-party services that specialize in mobile website development and optimization (including Duda).

Google will benefit in lots of ways from the effort though; the more user friendly and optimized the mobile Web is, the more users will be compelled to the browser. This is opposed to Apple’s app-centric worldview.

This is one flank in the longstanding apps vs. mobile Web battle. Google is very much interested in a world where mobile experiences are accessed through the browser, simply because that’s where it owns search.

So far Google has made other moves such as announcing that mobile search rankings and quality score will be influenced by whether sites are optimized. Today’s move is another step in the same direction.

More than that, it will benefit the entire ecosystem, including SMBs, vendors and users. But make no mistake, this is a move to accelerate Google’s $2.5 billion mobile revenue run rate, for which search is the biggest driver.

Given Google’s gravity and promotional ability, this will certainly help. But though we’re bullish on the mobile Web, apps aren’t going away anytime soon.

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