It’s no big secret that Google has placed a much stronger emphasis on mobile in the last couple of years which all came to a head with the well-documented ‘mobilegeddon’ in April 2015. Fast forward to November of the same year and Google caused a further stir when they released a full version of their search quality evaluator guidelines (updated in March 2016) which demonstrated a new-found focus on mobile search and mobile user needs. This means websites have to be optimized to be found in mobile search and work well across all devices. If not mobile-friendly, search rankings will suffer.
While the importance of mobile SEO is now widely acknowledged, implementing and mastering it takes time, attention to detail, and regular alterations. So we decided to break down 5 ways you can start optimizing your site for mobile SEO, helping you maximize your mobile search-driven traffic and conversions in 2017!
1. Choose your weapon
There are 3 main methods for starting a mobile friendly website set up.
- Responsive Web Design (RWD)
- Dynamic Serving
- Separate URLs
There are key differences between these methods, chief of which is that RWD and Dynamic Serving keep the same URL across all devices and RWD is the only method that serves the same HTML. Whatever method you choose, it won’t affect your website ranking if all pages are optimized for mobile.
2. Make your pages available for crawling
You want to make it as easy as possible for Google and its Googlebot web crawler to see and categorize your site content. The faster you do this, the faster you’ll get that green tick from Google for mobile friendliness, giving you a better chance of ranking above your competitors.
3. Verify mobile-friendliness
Google analyze a range of different mobile usability issues to determine a site’s mobile friendliness. Another tool you should consider adding to your kit to test this is our very own mobiReady which is a free tool for developers, designers and marketers to test website performance on mobile devices.
This tool provides you with a score of how well your website performs across the spectrum of mobile devices, based on W3C standards, Yahoo’s YSlow and Google’s Page Speed guidelines. Based on your score, you will receive a customized action plan which will help you eradicate any problems.
4. Keep page speed in mind
Despite the business case for mobile SEO, websites are getting bigger in terms of size as more and more of them are being launched. The result of these large, inefficient websites is a poor user experience as they take longer to load which effectively kill chances for mobile traffic and conversions.
5. Other optimizations
Along with ensuring page speed is strong and your website is mobile friendly, there are other optimizations that you should not miss. A common optimization mistake is using a large number of redirects. Redirects are very slow on mobile networks which hurt page speed, therefore you must ensure that you minimize the amount you use.
Another thing that you need to avoid is using software that may not work on mobile devices, like Flash. Webmasters should consider using HTML5 instead. It is also essential to use larger fonts that are easy to read on a smartphone screen, and tap-friendly links. This also includes avoiding large images and videos, OS-specific downloads, resource-hungry scripts, complicated forms, etc. which might work on smartphones but impede user experience.
One of the quickest ways to get your mobile optimized site off the ground is through goMobi, our website builder tool that allows you to come up with fast and lightweight sites that look great on any device. This is the first step you need to take in order to get Google to understand your site.