The time spent online globally is now on mobile, passing 70% in the US, Brazil and Mexico, and passing 90% in Indonesia. This means that if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, then you are in big trouble.
It doesn’t take much imagination to understand why this is. You only have to do some browsing on your smartphone or tablet to see how hard it is to navigate a site that isn’t mobile-friendly. Unless you REALLY need to do or see something on that site, you will not bother to try to navigate and use it. You will simply bounce, right? After all, there are bound to be better sites.
Overall, site owners have gone onboard the mobile-friendly bandwagon, especially after Google started boosting mobile-friendly sites with its 2015 algorithm update. However, it is always better to know for sure if your site is making the grade, and to find out what you can do to make it so. Here are 8 helpful tools that will help you optimize for website for mobile.
Google considerately launched the Mobile-Friendly Test tool before it implemented its mobile-friendly algorithm, also known as mobilegeddon in some circles. It gave site owners some warning about what they needed to do to optimize their mobile sites.
The tool is really easy to use. All you have to do is enter the URL of your website and click “Run Test.” The tool will take about a minute or so to fetch the page and analyze it. You will know your website gets a passing grade if you see this:
You will also see what your site looks like in a mobile device on the right. If the page isn’t optimized for mobile use:
As you can see, the tool will provide you with the issues of the page, and provide you with suggestions on how to fix them. The problems with the site above are actually the most common reasons for mobile-use issues, so if you get the same analysis, know that you are not alone. However, you are not in good company, so get started on fixing them!
Tip: You can also use the Mobile Usability tool accessible from the Google Search Console, but you have to verify ownership of the site to use it.
Speed is the essence when it comes to loading your site, and this is especially true when the user is on a mobile device. Test My Site is also a Google tool that measures the loading speed of your site on a mobile device using a standard 3G network. It is just as easy to use as the Mobile-Friendly Test, and just a helpful.
To get started, simply paste the URL of the page you want to test and click “Test Now”. It takes a couple of minutes for the tool to finish the test. Using the same site that had mobile use issues above, you will see this scorecard:
Hopefully, your own site will get a better scorecard. The owner of this site is losing 30% of the visitors on the page because of loading speed, and that’s not good at all. When you click on the “Get My Free Report,” you will have to give your email address to get it. It takes a few minutes before it will show up in your inbox, but if you have a dismal scorecard as above, you really need to know what you have to do to make your page load faster. The report will include details about your site’s performance and recommendations on how to improve it.
Structure and speed are obviously important, but what about content? You still need long-form content for search engine optimization, whether on desktop or mobile. Don’t run away with the idea that mobile users have shorter attention spans than desktop users. They also consume long-form content as avidly as anyone else does; they just do so differently. Instead of the familiar F-pattern, mobile users tend to radiate from the center.
You can leave the content writing to the people behind Essays Scholaradvisor for mobile-friendly long-form content. You just have to specify what you want, which is concise and informative content with a strong headline to engage your mobile audience.
A good way to assess your site is to see how search engines fetch it. Fetch as Google gives a glimpse of the backstage.
To access the tool, log in to the Search Console to verify ownership of the site. Look to the right and click on “Crawl” then “Fetch as Google.” You will see this:
You can specify a specific page on the site by pasting the URL, or leave it blank to fetch the homepage. Select “Mobile: Smartphone” on the drop-down menu. Click on “Fetch and Render.” Once the Googlebot finishes fetching and rendering the site, you can click the double arrow on the right to see the render report.
The main purpose for using Fetch as Google is to request Google to index the page in case you notice some indexing latency. This can improve the optimization of the site for mobile users.
If you want to analyze your mobile traffic on Google and have a better understanding of your visitor’s search behavior, you can use Google Search Console’s Search Analytics.
To get a report for your site, log into Google Search Console. Click on “Search Traffic,” and then click on Search Analytics. For a comprehensive report on all aspects your traffic, click all the four boxes for “Clicks,” “Impressions,” “CTR,” and “Position.” Filter your results for mobile by clicking on “Devices,” clicking the drop-down menu, selecting “Filter Devices,” then “mobile.” You will see a comparison of all the traffic data for mobile. You can then drill down to find out the top searches for each click, impression, CTR, and position by clicking on “Queries.”
The value of this analysis is in understanding what type of searches or queries your mobile visitors make, and their subsequent actions. This can help you improve your content to reflect the top queries and get more traffic to your site.
Google does not have a monopoly on helpful mobile tools. Pure Oxygen Labs offers a basic SEO audit free of charge called Mobile SEO page Analyzer.
To use it, enter the URL you want to check and your email address, and click “Analyze.” You will receive a notice to check the email sent to you. Click “Ok!”
on the link in your email to get your audit report. You will see something like this:
Granted, you will need to know a bit about page and server signals to find this audit useful. If are completely clueless about stuff like that, you can always send it to someone that can interpret it. The report can give you some important insights into your mobile performance.
Varvy also offers a free audit tool for mobile SEO issues, appropriately called Mobile SEO. Like with the other tools, you only have to put in the URL of the site you want to check and click on the “Test” button. It takes about a minute to retrieve the data. You will get a quick summary of the analysis, and a more detailed report immediately below. It will look something like this:
The tool looks at four issues, namely Mobile Friendliness, Speed, Googlebot access, and Mobile redirects. For the first three issues, you want a high score, while you want a zero for the last one. The best news if you get green boxes for these four issues.
The report will show you what you got right and what you got wrong about your site, but it will not directly tell you what to do to improve mobile optimization. However, half the solution is knowing the right question, so this report tells you what kind of problem you need to solve to make your site mobile friendly.
Now that you have (hopefully) done all you can to optimize your website for mobile based on the recommendations and contributions of the tools above, you might want to check how your site looks on different mobile devices. BrowserStack offers a Responsive Design Testing across Devices tool for some of the more common smartphones in the market. The tool generates screenshots of what your site looks like for the device you choose.
You will have to sign up, but the service is free for selected smartphones. To access the tool, sign up on the site and check your email for a confirmation link. Clicking on the link will send you to your Dashboard. Click on the “More” drop-down menu, then select “Responsive.” Type in the URL of the page you want to see and click on “Generate.”
You can use quite a few more mobile SEO tools out there, but these 8 are the easiest to use and understand. You do not need a lot of technical knowledge to act on the recommendations on some of these tools to optimize your site for mobile. At the very least, you will certainly benefit from knowing what you did wrong with your site.
The important thing is to remember that these tools are only as good as your motivation for using them. If you do so to improve the user experience, you are already halfway to making your site better and more mobile-friendly.