Whether you’re a small businessman or a highly successful entrepreneur – you still need to pay attention to the marketplace’s dance. Therefore, you must have probably noticed that the mobile industry can no longer be ignored. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or how you’re selling it.
In case you’re looking for above-average results, you need to pay attention to one of the quickest movements in the human history. In 2016, mobile usage has exceeded the desktop internet usage. If you look at how our friends and families use the internet, you won’t be surprised to see that most of them are doing it through their phones.
Of course, Google had to come up with new implementations for their algorithm. As a result, Google is now using the mobile index as their primary search algorithm tool. This fact only acknowledges the importance of the mobile usage from all across the world.
According to Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report, the smartphone shipment growth declined from 80% in 2010 to 3% in 2017. The indication? Everyone owns a smartphone nowadays! And to be honest, people are very addicted to their phones. That is, indeed, a huge advantage for those smart entrepreneurs, marketers, and business owners who are ready to leverage the power of mobile SEO.
In this post, we’re going to share some insightful strategies that will boost your mobile SEO performance.
Even though these strategies were tested and were proven to work, adding your own twists and doing your best to differentiate yourself from the competition will bring a huge advantage over your marketing campaigns and your business performance. Without further ado, let’s begin!
How to Make a Website Mobile Friendly
According to Google, there are three main ways of making a website mobile friendly:
Responsive Web Design
It is the approach that allows a website to be designed and developed in such a fashion, that it must respond to the end user’s environment (their specific smartphone) and behavior based on platform, screen size, and orientation. Simply put, the website has to be properly designed for mobile devices.
Dynamic serving is the practice of displaying specific and different content based on the visitor’s mobile phone. So, if you want to target Android users using one way and iOS users in a different way, you will use different lines of HTML and CSS for both operating systems.
It is often referred as a “mobile site”. This option consists of creating a completely new website which is designed only for mobile use. When you see the mark “m.” before the actual URL, it means that the website is designed for mobile users. By separating your desktop and mobile URLs, you can offer personalized experiences to all your visitors.
Is it Optimized?
However, keep in mind that these are general ranking factors. And because Google has stated them officially, we have all the reasons to pursue and apply them according to our needs and preferences. Of course, there are many tips and tricks that can improve your mobile SEO performance, and you’ll discover some of them in just a minute.
In order to observe your performance, Google offers you several tools such as Mobile-Friendly Test and Mobile Usability Report. Once you enter your website’s URL into the search panels, Google will tell you whether the website is mobile friendly or not. You can even go further and check out the “Page Loading Info” to see what’s going on wrong.
This should be your first concern. The moment you’re approved by Google as a “mobile-friendly website”, you’ll gain an advantage in terms of SEO rankings. You can now shift your focus towards specific areas that follow:
Page speed is a critical mobile SEO factor that will influence your website’s rankings. In order to offer an amazing user experience, your website needs to load fast. Your users cannot sit and wait until everything’s done loading. Google’s main purpose is to offer its users the best quality results and suggestions. If the website a user ends up on is bad, then Google has failed to give value.
Nevertheless, since March 2017, page speed is officially included as a ranking factor that will surely influence every website’s SEO performance.
In order to evaluate and eventually optimize your website’s page speed on mobile devices, you should take advantage of a specialized analytics tool such as Page Speed Tool.
As you can notice, Google’s page speed tool will analyze both your desktop and mobile environments. In a matter of seconds, you’ll be able to notice your biggest flaws along with recommendations and suggestions on how to fix them. You should use their guidelines and immediately deal with your mistakes.
However, here are a few common ways to improve your website’s speed on your own first:
Minify your code – you should remove all the unnecessary code and leave only what’s assuring the functionality of your website.
Images size – you should optimize your images so that they decrease in size. Large images will often take longer to load.
Reduce the number of redirects – a lot of redirects will impact your website’s load speed.
Optimization of the Content
Your website’s content needs to be perfectly visible throughout the entire user’s journey. This leaves no room for mistakes. Imagine how it would feel like if you weren’t able to read the entire sentence on a website, just because the content is too big and you can’t scroll further down.
When you offer a “broken design” because your website’s content and structure aren't optimized enough, your bounce rate will jump to high volumes – something that you never want to happen.
Here are some things you must pay attention to:
Flash Incorporation – Flash usage has been in decline since the latest technological breakthroughs. Nowadays, the majority of smartphones use more sophisticated algorithms that replace the use of Flash.
Viewport Configuration – The viewport is a feature that helps browsers scale a specific page according to a specific device. If it is neglected, your pages will look like a mess. Fixed viewports will often cause trouble such as the unfitting of the window – aspect that will oblige the user to scroll in order to advance. That is why responsive designs are better suited for a better mobile performance nowadays.
The Wrong Font Size – This is a scaling problem that can be solved with the use of certain tools such as Varvy. Users will generally have to pinch their mobile screens in order to zoom in the content.
Touch Elements Are Too Close to Each Other – Whenever a user wants to click on a website element – because of your site’s dysfunctionality – they will instead access a different link. Therefore, their experience on your mobile platform will not be satisfying.
Whether your search rankings are small or big, you still need a functional website that displays well-organized content and structures. Even if Google wouldn’t penalize these aspects, your own customers will eventually do. You’ll lose a lot of sales and potential long-term customers. Just to avoid that, make sure that everything is optimized properly.
Unblocking Page Resources
Smartphones are too smart to encounter these types of challenges. No matter what code you implement, a modern smartphone will read it, understand it, and display it. Google crawlers also want to see your page resources. Why? Because it helps at categorizing and optimizing your content for your end users.
In order to find all of your blocked resources, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to do it. Now remember; the old times are gone. Instead of hiding your page resources, allow them to help with your website’s ranking!
Configuring User Experience
Obviously, the user experience is a critical factor that allows your website to be ranked in the SERPS. User experience consists of everything that relates to the actual experience the visitor will have while browsing your website while using a mobile device. Easy, right?
In fact, this is a complex practice that refers to more than the basic implementation of a friendly responsive design and a fast loading speed website. A designer of the website has to put himself/herself in the user’s shoes in order to predict their experience.
What pages will they load first? What categories should be emphasized in order to be clicked most? What elements of the website are less relevant? These questions are important because they reflect the true implementation of the term that refers to “user experience”.
You see, mobile users are goal oriented. According to a study performed by Answerlab and Google, mobile users expect to “get done with something” as quick and easy as possible.
If they want to buy a product, they shouldn’t zoom in, scroll, and wait for it to load. Instead, a few clicks and a purchase solution are enough for their experience (and your results) to improve.
Of course, in order to optimize your user experience metrics, you must take advantage of specific user behavior tracking tools such as Inspectlet. You can also use free tools like Google’s Design and UI tool and Mobile Usability Testing. The key to an amazing user experience lies in the webmaster’s ability to test and optimize consistently!
Mobile SEO is not just a trend. It is every webmaster’s and marketer’s opportunity to gain competitive advantage. If your direct competitors are not aware of the potential that lies beneath a proper mobile optimization, you’ll hardly have trouble in overstepping them.
Take our tips and tricks into consideration and start planning what you’ll optimize next. We’d suggest you start taking each element one by one, and generally focus on gradually improving your website’s mobile functionality and your visitor’s overall user experience.