Webmasters are strongly concerned with their mobile SEO strategy due to the growing boom in mobile devices. More than 50% of the internet traffic comes from handy devices of which 95% traffic is on Google! Hence, optimizing for mobile search is critical.
Marketers who still believe that there is time to plan before the smartphone tipping point arrives should bear in mind that mobile users now account for a majority of web searches. So, now is the time to strike.
Mobile SEO is the method of optimizing your website for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to ensure visitors on these platforms have a uniform and optimized experience. Google rolled out the mobile-friendly update to boost the rankings of the mobile-friendly webpages. This meant that the pages which were not mobile-friendly were penalized by Google.
Google announced Mobile-first indexing for the whole web. And it has now announced that this transition, which was initially scheduled in September 2020, will now take place in March 2021.
Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the website over the desktop version for indexing and ranking the pages. Initially, Google referred the desktop version to rank the webpages based on the user query but since the majority of search traffic came from mobile devices, the Google bot has given priority to the mobile traffic. You may use Merkle’s proprietary Mobile-first Index tool to compare mobile vs desktop pages.
Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the content on the desktop site matches the content on the mobile site, which includes the page title, meta descriptions, meta robots tag, structured data, etc. Perform a sanity check on all the resource URLs of your mobile site set at the “disallow” directive otherwise, Google will fail to crawl it.
Mobile-friendliness is a primary determinant of your online success. So, it’s essential to make sure your website passes the friendly mobile check. You can use Mobile friendly testing tool to check by simply entering the target URL of the webpage. Alternatively, you can also use Merkle’s Mobile-Friendly test tool and check 50 URLs at a time.
How to check if your website is mobile-friendly?
There are various ways one can check for the mobile-friendliness of their Site. Below mentioned are some online tools you can use to perform a sanity check around the same:
– Google Page Speed Insights
– Google Mobile-Friendly Test
– Think with Google- Test my site
– Google Search Console
– Technical SEO
– Browser Stack
Best Mobile SEO practices to make your website mobile-friendly
1.Site Latency/Page load speed for mobile
Mobile phone users usually have a short attention span when it comes to the internet. Page speed is more essential for mobile traffic than desktop traffic. When mobile users look for information, they want to access it quickly. Nowadays, if your website doesn’t load fast enough for your internet traffic, they will bounce off from your page. Most of the mobile user traffic will abandon a website that doesn’t load in 3-4 seconds or less. There are multiple ways one can improve their websites page load speed. Some famous practices include- optimizing images, minimize code (backend), leverage browser caching, reduce redirects, etc.
2. User experience (UX)
If you want to optimize the mobile version of your website for a friendly SEO, the major focus must be the user experience. For creating a better mobile user experience, one needs to have certain features on the website to ensure it delivers a great experience for mobile traffic. Below mentioned are some such features.
- ‘Thumb-friendly’ User Experience
While designing a mobile-friendly website, the developers must make sure to make it smooth and convenient for the users to be able to scroll across and click on different features of your page. The best way would be to design a “thumb-friendly” interface, as mobile users primarily surf the internet with their thumbs on devices.
- Legible text and font size on smaller devices
Since users are accessing your website from devices with smaller screens, you must make sure the font is legible on mobile devices. Whether you pick a bold font or make the font size bigger, you should adjust your font to be easily readable for the users on a mobile device.
3.Optimizing your mobile website for Local SEO
In case your business has a local element, it is of prime importance nowadays to optimize your mobile content for local search results. People nowadays frequently search with phrases like ‘how-to’, ‘near to me’ and ‘where can I buy’ to find local businesses near them. To stay ahead of your competitors, with many online users searching using local phrases on mobile devices, you must adapt your approach and strategy to reach these people. Using local keywords related to your business in your mobile content will help you appear in more local search results.
4.Creating a separate URL for the mobile website
A lot of companies and e-commerce websites these days have started creating a separate URL for mobile users. This in turn creates a parallel site for mobile users which enables you to create an enhanced customer experience and content for people who visit your site through mobile devices. To avoid any URL confusion, most parallel mobile websites use an “m” subdomain.
When people access your website through a mobile URL, they see a version of your site that is tailored for mobile devices. This adaptation allows you to deliver a better and convenient experience for your mobile user traffic.
5. Integrating responsive design
Integrating a responsive design in websites is a very important element of Mobile SEO. When you implement responsive design in your website, you are ensuring that your site adapts to any device a user uses. Whether it is a mobile phone or tablet, your users will get the best experience for their respective gadget.
Integrating R#responsive design makes it easy for your users to browse your site and explore the features. Because of the convenience, it gives to your audience, they can easily scroll through your pages and view your site seamlessly creating a better user experience.
6. An easy and clean navigation bar menu
In any website, navigation plays an important role in how users discover and access information. If your website’s navigation is too complicated to use, users might get confused and exit your site. To make sure you’re making a positive environment for your audience, it is of prime importance to creating a mobile-friendly navigation structure.
One of the ideal ways to create a navigation structure for a mobile-friendly experience is by using a hamburger menu bar. Hamburger menus appear mostly at the top of a page with three lines/dots on a mobile website.
7. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
The whole concept of AMP is to provide a lightning-fast experience for online users on a mobile device. When a standard website page has an AMP alternative available, through HTML tag a link to AMP version of the mobile site is placed and this is what is served to the mobile device users. Implementation of AMP in your webpages can give you benefits like-
- Increased conversion rate
- Fast loading accelerated mobile page.
- AMP pages can also reduce strain on servers, hence improving server performance.
Avoid These Common Mistakes:
- Make sure you do not have 404 redirects or redirect chains. Plan for a regular website health check to avoid these silly mistakes.
- Not using Canonical tags can invite a penalty from Google. Avoid duplicate content issues with the use of Canonical tags on appropriate pages.
- Keeping unplayable content on the mobile site. Use HTML 5 tags or animations to play your media on all devices without a need of any external media player.
- Promotions or ads overlapping with the page content. Use simple banners since screen estate is limited and any overlap can cause bad user experience.
- Higher page load speeds.
- Minute font size and page elements too close to each other.
Benefits of Mobile SEO:
- Increase website traffic
- Lower bounce rate
- Better user experience
- Improved average time spent on the site
- Higher conversion rates
- Reduced page load speed
- Harnessing competitive edge
- Search engine friendly
According to a research conducted by Statista, the number of mobile internet users all over the world is expected to grow exponentially. In 2015, mobile internet users in India was 242 million and by 2022 it is expected to be at 492 million (almost double!). It is because of this exact reason, optimizing Mobile SEO for the website should be a primary focus for all the online business out there which can be done by following the above-explained pointers.