Proof that Mobile Matters to Google – Mobile SEO
In the United States, the majority of internet search is done via mobile devices. It just makes sense—nearly everyone has a phone on them at all times and curious questions and queries can strike at any moment. When all it takes is a simple swipe of your phone, it is no surprise that more than half of all internet users are searching for their answers through their mobile devices. Since the rise of cellular usage, Google has emphasized a mobile-first approach to search and search results.
In April 2015, Google pushed through an update to the algorithm that was used to rank mobile searches. A website’s mobile-friendliness was officially confirmed as a ranking signal for the mobile search rankings. Every year since, Google has adjusted the factors and categories a website must have to appear on a search engine result page, causing sites who couldn’t keep up to fall from the first page.
This fares well for users, as it is easier for them to get relevant and quick search results optimized for their mobile devices. But it is sometimes tricky for site-creators to create a mobile-friendly website when most site editing is on a desktop interface.
However, with some simple search engine optimization tips Google’s search engine algorithm is easy to work around. Here’s a handy mobile SEO checklist to use when looking to increase traffic towards your mobile sites.
Mobile SEO Checklist
1) Make sure the site has a mobile version
While this may seem obvious, make sure your website offers a mobile version that has a mobile responsive design. The mobile responsive design will optimize the layout depending on the device it is being used on and will change based on text or context. This will make your site more attractive both to a mobile user and to the search engine algorithm.
The main goal of creating a mobile responsive design is keeping in mind that a mobile device is much smaller than a desktop screen. Thus, your interface and content should be proportionate to a mobile sized screen as well. You can create a mobile responsive design by scaling images for smaller screens, having an easy to view navigation menu, pop-ups with large close buttons, smaller text paragraphs, large tap targets and buttons, and more obvious calls-to-action.
2) Have a fast mobile site load speed
One of the major search ranking factors, site speed will help your page show up in search engines and attract more users to your site. Slower or poor speed leads to increased bounce rates, as users can grow tired of waiting for a large image to load and look to another site for their information instead. There are many tests online that check mobile speed limits.
3) Maintain mobile-friendly content
Mobile-friendly design is half the battle in maintaining a mobile SEO site. The content your site features should likewise be attention-grabbing and holding, increasing the number of times users spend on your site and return to it. That will, in turn, help your site appear higher in the search engine rankings, creating a positive feedback loop of consistent popularity.
Altering your content to best fit mobile audiences is easy and will even help streamline your site’s desktop layout as well. To maintain mobile-friendly content, try to aim for concise and evocative words. Use short paragraphs and sentences for those who like to skim content, attention-grabbing headlines to hook casual browsers, short meta descriptions with relevant keywords to catch all kinds of visitors, and a large, easy to read font that is accessible on all kinds of devices.
4) Optimize content for local searches
While people have been spending more time online, they are doing so to better access the physical resources and businesses around them. Customers have grown to search for specific questions and items when searching for local businesses, such as open restaurants, shoes and facial scrubs, and maintenance services. To show up in “near me” or “can I buy” searches, use local business schema to best optimize your website so that your business and site will appear on local search queries.
Do not lose out on a vast number of potential visitors and customers by forgetting to optimize for local searches. Include the following information on your site to catch those virtual consumers: business name, address and location, phone number(s), business category, open hours, available services, and photos of your business and offerings.
5) Tailor content for social media
Although it might strike fear in the hearts of those who dislike the drama and clamor of social media, it is important to acknowledge and tailor your site for social media when optimizing a mobile site. Most people use the internet to connect to social media sites, so to ignore social media platforms is to ignore a very large potential audience.
When optimizing a site for social media, the main goal is to make it as convenient as possible for people to use the share button on your content. If your content is shared multiple times consistently on social media, search engines will consider your site a high authority site. And luckily, many of the tips used to advertise on social media are similar to other tactics mentioned above, including the use of eye-catching headlines, high-quality images, obvious calls-to-action, hashtags, and consistent posting and engagement.
6) Finally, verify that your site is mobile-friendly
Once you are satisfied that your site is as mobile-friendly as possible, you can confirm its viability with the mobile-friendly test on Google. All you have to do is input your site’s URL and click search. The report will either confirm your site for mobile use or report as to why your site is not mobile-friendly.
If your site is confirmed to be mobile seo-friendly on the Google test but still showing lackluster page visits, you can use Google Search Console to check for smartphone crawl errors. The crawl errors come from the search engines not being able to index your site through crawling. If the search engine can’t crawl, then your content will not appear on result pages. Your content formats, including videos, images, and text, need to be crawlable and indexable on all devices.
By using this mobile SEO checklist, you can make your website more mobile-friendly and attractive to users on their phones, tablets, and desktops. As the internet becomes more accessible and portable, with users being able to go on websites on their phones, tablets, game consoles, and even refrigerators, it is up to site creators to update and maintain their sites for all devices. The better you can keep up with audience trends through mobile search optimization, the greater the return you will receive through site popularity and longevity.