Understanding how to do mobile SEO is rapidly becoming synonymous with how to do SEO, period. The majority of Internet users now use mobile devices rather than desktops, making it likely that in the years ahead a significant amount of website traffic, if not the majority of it, will be mobile phone users.
For this reason, Google’s search algorithm continues to place more and more emphasis on mobile-friendly web page design and function. If mobile users have a hard time using your website, Google will not want them to see it in its organic search rankings. Thus, the key to doing mobile SEO is making sure your website delivers mobile users a top-notch user experience. These are the important steps to take.
Creating a Mobile-Friendly Website
1. Implement responsive design.
Responsive web design is an approach that enables website pages to adjust dynamically for optimal viewing on mobile or desktop screens. For most organizations, responsive design is the most efficient and economical way to make their web pages mobile-friendly. Another alternative is to create a separate mobile website, but this approach involves several complications, including multiple hosting and the setting up of page redirects between the mobile and desktop sites.
The cost and difficulty of giving your site a responsive design depends on your starting point. If, for example, your site is built on WordPress, the answer could be as simple as switching to a responsive theme — in other words, as simple as clicking a button and making a few basic tweaks. At the other extreme, if your site is built on an outdated and/or proprietary platform to which you have little direct access, a responsive design may involve a complete site rebuild.
Regardless of cost or complexity, a changeover is best undertaken sooner rather than later for any organization seeking organic search traffic. Mobile-friendly web content is especially important for local businesses and any other organization which currently receives a significant amount of mobile site traffic.
2. Optimize responsive design.
Once your site has the basic responsive design in place, you’ll want to make your web pages as user-friendly as possible for mobile users. In essence, you will be adopting a “mobile first” philosophy of web design, which means that when in doubt, make your design satisfy mobile users first and desktop users second. This tends to be a big hurdle for companies to get over, but in reality, most users are quite tolerant of design compromises they encounter on a desktop — but quite intolerant of compromises that thwart them on their mobile phones. Key ways to enhance the design of your pages for mobile include:
- Avoid large page header images — they force mobile users to scroll to get to the meat-and-potatoes information they are after.
- Write short sentences and short paragraphs to make content as scannable and digestible as possible.
- Use hamburger menus or other mobile navigational design approaches most suitable to your site. Limit navigational elements as much as possible.
- Keep a click-to-call phone icon fixed at the top of the page to facilitate conversions from mobile users at all times.
- Avoid Flash and pop-ups. Mobile users aren’t always able to use Flash, and they hate pop-ups.
- Give contact forms large fields — and as few of them as possible. Make submit buttons and other links big enough for mobile users with big hands to use comfortably.
- Structure your site to enable the fastest possible page loading. This involves proper implementation of file compression, minifying code, browser caching, content distribution networks, image optimization and a number of other technical details. In addition, you may need to change hosting services or your hosting package to bring page loading speed up to mobile standards.
- Using Schema structured data for your site helps Google place your web content in the search cards it uses on mobile SERPs (search engine results pages). This will give your site higher and more attention-getting visibility on SERPs, which is likely to improve click-throughs.
Mobile SEO Campaigns and Web Development
From the information presented here, you can see how important it is to use a web developer with a solid understanding of mobile SEO best practices. There are so many technical issues that must be lined up on a mobile site that even a few random flaws in its configuration could impede or undermine the site’s SEO potential.
Startups and other organizations building a website for the first time often overlook the important tie-in between SEO and web design — and come to regret it down the road when they are ready to launch an SEO campaign. Building a website to be mobile-SEO-friendly in the first place is much more cost-effective than trying to patch it together later.
To discuss how to do mobile SEO in your organization, contact us now or call 855-883-0011.