We are living in the age of smartphones. The use of smartphones has grown over the years. So the need for mobile SEO is important like never before.
Thanks to the mobile devices having the capability to browse the web without any hustle.
According to some studies, more than 50% of internet search traffic comes from mobile devices only.
If you are a webmaster or site owner and ignoring the importance of mobile optimization, then that’s a big mistake. In this compressive guide, I will show you how to optimize your site for mobile searches.
So, let’s dive into it.
What is Mobile SEO?
Mobile SEO is the process of optimizing a website for smartphones and tablet users. This process makes websites Search Engine ready and helps to get more organic traffics, conversion, etc.
There are various steps you can follow to make your website mobile optimize. We will discuss it in this article.
Why Mobile SEO is Important?
We have seen a dramatic change in mobile search. With the rise of smartphone use, more and more people are preferring to search using the portable device.
According to a survey, more than 58% of all searches are performed through smartphones [United States]. First time in history, we saw that the mobile search surpass desktop searches.
If you are not satisfied with the above stats then the below one must.
Google has rolled out Mobile-First Indexing.
Google’s Mobile-First Index
On 18 December 2017, Google announced the release of mobile-first indexing.
Mobile-first indexing uses the mobile version of the content for Google indexing and ranking. If you are using a desktop search, then also the same algorithm will work.
Now Google also uses Smartphone Googlebot for crawling web pages.
Before rolling out of this algorithm, Google index and rank webpages mobile and desktop webpages.
If someone uses a mobile device to perform a search then it shows mobile results. And if someone uses the desktop to perform a search then it shows desktop results.
After the major algorithm update (mobile-first indexing), Google will retrieve results from its mobile indexing.
If your site is perfectly optimized for mobile devices, then you are good to go.
Otherwise, you need to take immediate steps to improve it.
Things To Do For Mobile Optimization
There is no second opinion that you should focus on optimizing your site for mobile devices. These are some of the aspects you need to do with your site for better ranking and traffic.
Is your site Mobile Friendly?
This is the first question you need to ask yourself when it comes to optimizing a site for mobile SEO.
There are a lot of tools available for testing your site whether it is mobile-friendly or not. One tool I recommend is Google’s Mobile-friendly test tool.
Just head to Google mobile-friendly test tool and place your site URL. Then it will analyze and shows you the report.
After testing your site through this tool, you will have a clear understanding of how much your site is ready for mobile devices. If you found that your site is not mobile-friendly, then you need to change your design so that it can load on all mobile devices.
Nowadays all the modern WordPress themes pass this test. If you are using custom designs then you need to check once.
1. Check Mobile Usability Report
The new Google Search Console tool has a lot of advanced features. One of the features that are helpful now is “Mobile usability”.
Make sure that you should not have errors in this Mobile usability report.
2. Speed Up Your Site
Page loading speed is also one of the top-ranking factors in Google. As a site owner, you would never want to lose visitors for slow page loading.
According to Google, 53% of users bounce back from a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Visitors expect to load a page within 1-2 seconds.
Although page loading speed depends on a lot of factors, we can’t avoid them.
Now you might be thinking that how to check the page loading speed of my site?
This is a good question.
Well, there are a lot of tools available on the internet to test the speed. One of the tools I recommend is Google’s mobile speed test tool.
You can also use GTMetrix and Pingdom tool for the same purpose.
The above tools also allow you to generate a report. Run a test by placing your site URL on the tool. Generate a report and show it to your developers.
One thing you can do to track the change is to take a screenshot before making enhancements. Then take a screenshot after you make some changes to improve the speed. This gives you a clear understanding of the page loading speed improvement.
Website page loading speed improvement is of the first and perhaps the most important thing you should do.
3. Make Your Site Responsive
When it comes to a mobile website, you have three options.
A separate URL having some sub-domain. The famous one is the use of “m”. Means if you have a website and you want to create a mobile site, then you can place that one in m.website.com. This was very popular a few years back.
This type of approach is not recommended today.
Another one is the dynamic serving. This type of website serves different contents for desktop and mobile users. Technically it serves different HTML/CSS depending on the device searcher uses. Dynamic serving is better than the “m” version of a website.
But this has a serious limitation on the resource serving. So this is not recommended now.
The most used and recommended way is responsive design.
In the responsive design concept, a webpage automatically adjusted based on the device screen size. In this concept, there is no need for different URLs and dynamic serving.
This simple and effective design concept solves a number of technical SEO problems and you can focus on your core.
Still not convinced,
then let me say that Google also recommends using responsive design.
If you are using CMS platforms like WordPress then the themes can do your task. All the modern WordPress themes come with responsive designs. If you are using one of them, then no need to do anything else. Your site is already responsive.
You can use the Responsivedesignchecker tool to check how your website looks like in various devices. You can set your custom screen site in this tool to see how your site looks like.
4. Make Your Content Easy To Read
Let’s say you have an amazing page loading speed and website design. If your content is not in the readable format then what the need of others?
If someone landed on your site, then he/she prefer to hit the back button because the website is not readable. I have also covered this point in the On-Page SEO guide.
So unlike other aspects, content readability on mobile devices is also important.
To achieve this, you need to make your content big and readable texts.
A big chunk of paragraphs having a lot of lines creates confusion and one may easily lose inside it. This may manageable on desktop but can’t be allowed in mobile devices.
Another good practice is to make your paragraphs short. Rather than writing lengthy paragraphs having a lot of lines, cut it to small paragraphs. Paragraphs having 2-3 lines is best for users as well as mobile devices.
Another good practice is to make your website element distinct and there should be some blank space between them. This will helps users to scan through the page.
Google is putting more emphasis on user experience than ever. So by increasing this content viewing experience, you can bet more benefits from it.
The cleaner your website layout and content is, the better user experience can be achieved. If the user spends more time on a page it sends a good signal to Google. It also increases the time on site which is also good for ranking.
So next time onwards, when you are creating content try to achieve the above points. This will have an impact on your mobile optimization effort.
5. Use Mobile-Friendly Popups
Many websites use popups for various type of purposes. It could range from a simple email option to register for a webinar.
You may have seen various types of popups at the time of visiting some sites. This can be a full-screen popup or sliding one.
This might be helpful for desktop devices but not for mobile devices. Many popups in mobile devices create confusion and force users to leave the site.
You need to optimize your popups for mobile devices so that it should not create a distraction. If you are using WordPress, then you can find a lot of plugins for this purpose. I am using OptinMonster and they have lots of pre-designed mobile-friendly Pop-Up templates. And all these templates are designed to capture leads without annoying your visitors.
6. Use Structured Data
Structured data helps Search Engines to understand your content. According to Google, this small piece of information additional information about the content.
You have seen some start ratings in SERP. This is because of Schema Mark up.
This is not the only one. For some cooking related queries, you will get calories, the temperature required, recipe image, cooking time and much more directly in the search result. This is also an example of Schema markup.
Using this type of structured data can show your page in a decorative way in SERP. This leads to more click-through rate (CTR) and organic traffic to your site.
If you are using WordPress then there are a lot of plugins available to implement this feature on your page. But Schema Pro is the best that I remember. A custom website can also use a structured data maker tool to create code snippets.
Google SERP is changing its way of showing results frequently. Simply, structured data can helps you get better ranking and traffic.
Is the implementation of AMP needed?
AMP is an open-sourced project developed by Google. It stripped down HTML copies of existing webpage content. It offers faster load times than normal HTML5 documents. In fact, an AMP page can load 4X faster than the standard page.
When searching on Google using your smartphone, have you noticed a lightning bolt symbol on the left side of a result? This is the sign that indicates the page is using an AMP version.
As page loading speed is one of the top-ranking factors, the SEO community starts assuming AMP as a ranking factor. In fact, some people also recommend using AMP for higher ranking on mobile devices.
Well, there is no official confirmation by Google about AMP. There might be some correlation to it. AMP is a good topic for future conferences and long debate.
Although AMP has a significant impact on the page loading speed in mobile devices, there are some big limitations on it.
First, AMP technology puts serious limitations on page functionalities. Many advanced features can’t work with AMP that might impact on your site.
Secondly, there is a huge issue with your link building efforts. If you implement AMP on your site, it would create a new URL structure.
Let’s say you are building links to your main page URL. This will boost your domain authority as well as page authority. But the same page with AMP will have different URLs and no link juice. If you are relying on link building, then AMP is not for you.
I personally don’t recommend AMP.
We are living on a fast internet connection with 4G. Moreover, 5G in the corner.
For a tiny increase in page loading speed, we should not sacrifices page functionalities and link building.
Rather than implementing AMP pages, you can focus on creating responsive design and faster page loading speed.
So these are some of the things you need to consider when you are doing mobile SEO. Now mobile optimization is not an option, it is a necessity.