Everybody who’s serious about their business or their individual brand has some form of online presence in the form of a website or a social media page.
The internet has come a long way to become a vital necessity for any entity, and when you consider the fact that there are over 3.5 billion active mobile devices across the globe, you get a clear image of how important it is to tap into this market.
So what exactly is mobile SEO?
We are going to explore mobile SEO in detail – what it entails, how it works, how mobile usage has impacted/changed our lives and SEO, the tools you can use to optimize your website to be mobile-friendly in terms of SEO, why it is important, and a look at some of the best mobile SEO practices in effect today.
You may be interested in: Beginners’ Guide to SEO
Mobile SEO strategy for business has a huge potential in bringing you potential buyers and it should be embraced wholly. If you have been thinking of going live and would want to ensure you are seen by your website mobile users, then this mobile version guide is for you.
What is Mobile SEO?
In simple terms, mobile SEO is the practice of optimizing websites for mobile devices (smartphone and tablet) users, and this includes making the website accessible to search engine crawlers.
Before smartphones proliferated in society, websites prioritized personal computers, but this limited their reach because not many people had access to computers.
As smartphones started to take over, the need to make these websites fit into smaller smartphone screens gave birth to mobile SEO strategy.
On average, mobile users spend 4.2 hours per day on their smartphones, meaning that the best way to increase access to your websites is to target smartphones, which comes with the following benefits.
- It enhances the mobile user experience by making the mobile pages easier to read and navigate.
- It improves mobile page speed by making the web pages smaller, and the higher the site speed, the higher the likelihood that the user will spend more time on the page.
- It increases user engagement by providing communication tools that can be accessed by a single button.
- It attracts more people due to better interactivity and convenience as it accords to anyone who visits the mobile website from their smartphone.
- The more the mobile users, the more time people spend and the higher their chances of conducting business with you, which helps you grow.
Failure to optimize your website for a mobile version SEO will have a lasting negative effect on your business and reduce user engagement.
You can run all the best ads globally, but if access is limited to people who use personal computers, then there’s very little that you can achieve in the long run in terms of sales.
Doing things the wrong way will also attract a Google penalty, and that’s the last thing you would want to deal with.
Why is Mobile SEO Important?
One thing that has made Google search the best search engine in the market right now is making even the smallest of businesses rank highly if they simply optimize their website for rich search results.
The ability to appear first on the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) of a Google search could push the business up by ensuring mobile visitors act on their buying intent, which is why mobile SEO helps and is very important.
When it comes to crawling and indexing, Google prioritizes smart gadgets through a process called Google’s mobile-first index. The following are some excellent reasons why you should optimize your website for SEO mobile.
It Increases Reach
The number of smartphone users today outnumbers people who use PCs many times over. It would make more financial sense for a business to optimize its online presence for smartphones since many customers use smartphones every day.
By optimizing their websites, more customers can access them easier at any time of the day. Eight out of ten people will immediately leave any website that doesn’t have a well-optimized display for mobile screens.
That should tell you everything you need to know about how volatile consumers are these days.
Increases Website Traffic
Using a smartphone has its perks. You get a clean user interface, and the screen is much closer to your face; however, that also means that people will be quick to notice things out of place.
To ensure that current and new customers continue coming to your website, you have to optimize it for not only desktop users but also mobile phones to make it as interactive as possible. Otherwise, you will be getting one-time mobile visitors who will never come back again – which equates to zero mobile traffic.
A mobile-optimized website will make mobile searches easier, images clearer, which attracts people, and they will most likely make a purchase based on that alone. This will give your brand the competitive edge you need in your mobile SEO strategy.
Further reading: How to Drive Traffic to Website
Boosts Your Social Media Presence
It is estimated that over 80 percent of the time people spend on social media is done through smartphones and tablets.
Linking your website to your social media pages will create a seamless link that your customers can use to switch between your website and your social media pages – rather than relying solely on search results displayed on Google and other search engines.
SEO for mobile sites makes it easy for you to share content from your website to your social media pages, where people can then follow the links back to the website to get more information and make purchases depending on what you want to achieve. This is what Google uses as a ranking factor to boost your page’s rank.
Affects Voice Search
As voice technology advances, new ways of creating convenience are coming up, and one of those is the ability to conduct a simple Google search, for instance, using nothing but a voice command.
Personal and voice assistants are more developed in smartphones, and optimizing your website to allow for these features will make your website stand out with more mobile traffic, and people will be incentivized to come back for more.
Consumers will always choose anything that makes their life a little easier and convenient.
How to Check if You Have a Mobile-Friendly Site
As a business, you can do everything right, from running effective ad campaigns to making your website the best looking one around, trying all the known online marketing tricks, but disregarding mobile SEO optimization will be your biggest undoing.
So how then do you ascertain that your website is mobile-friendly?
Consider the following tips to check if your website is user and mobile-friendly:
1. Mobile-Friendly Tests
This is the easiest way to check if your website is optimized for mobile phones and tablets. You simply open the mobile-friendly test page, enter your URL, and hit the test button.
The tool provides you with all the information in regards to your website’s mobile optimization. You even get a screenshot of how it looks on the mobile and tablet screens.
2. Use Your Browser
Another quick way of telling if your website pages are optimized for mobile devices is by using your regular PC browser, be it Google Chrome or Firefox. Use the following steps to get around this within minutes.
- Open your website on your PC browser, then minimize the window to a small size.
- With your mouse, grab the left side of the minimized window and shrink it as much as you can to the right.
- Check how everything fits into the minimized window. A mobile-friendly website will have all the contents within the screen restructured without anything being cut off.
3. Use Your Mobile Phone
Trying to open your webpage on your mobile phone or tablet is another sure way of telling if a mobile SEO platform works.
All you need is to open the page on the phone and to check if any of the content is being cut from any side or if the mobile browser automatically redirects you to the desktop version of the webpage no matter what you do.
If you have to manually scroll from left to right and back to view the entire page, that is a clear indication that what you are running is not mobile-friendly.
4. Chrome DevTools
Google Chrome is one of the most widely used browsers for both mobile and PCs. Chrome DevTools is a set of web-based and in-built developer tools that allow you to check how mobile-friendly a website is. This can be achieved through the following quick steps.
- Open your chrome browser and the website you would wish to test.
- Right-click any point on the website page and choose the “Inspect” option.
- Click the “Toggle Device Toolbar” next.
- Select the “Responsive” option. If the selected website shrinks with everything being resized to fit within the margins, then that’s an indication that your website is optimized for portable devices like mobiles and tablets.
- You can repeat the same steps on other mobile devices like phones and tablets for confirmation.
5. Check PageSpeed Insights on Google
The final option you can use to check if your website is optimized for smaller smart gadgets is to use the PageInsights tool present in Google to check on your page speed. The tool will provide you with a wide range of data. To access the information, try the following steps.
- Visit Google PageSpeed Insights on your PC.
- Enter your website’s URL in the space provided and click “Analyze”.
- A screenshot will be rendered on the screen, and you will see all the data relating to your website. If any of the mobile content is cut off, then your website is not mobile-friendly.
What are Some Mobile SEO Best Practices? How Can You Improve Mobile SEO?
The good news for websites that are not optimized for mobiles and tablets is that all is not lost. Knowing how to optimize websites for mobile is not that hard.
Now that we’ve understood why is mobile SEO important, there are ways you can further improve the user experience after optimizing the website for smart gadgets. Some of these mobile SEO best practices include the following.
1. Improve Website Speed
Before venturing into the how-to improve mobile SEO, understand that the loading speed of your website will determine its success or failure. No user will waste any more time once they run into loading issues.
Google mobile optimizer also takes into account how fast the site loads in determining its ranking. In a nutshell, getting those speeds up is the first thing you need to do. Make it a responsive site!
You may be interested in: CSS Margin VS Padding for Maximized User Experience
3. Avoid Popups
You will incur a Google penalty if you allow extensive popups for ads, newsletters, or sign-up forms as they get in the way of the mobile users getting Google mobile search results that are qualitative. If you have to resort to pop-ups to get ad revenues, then ensure you follow the guidelines laid down by Google.
4. Integrate Responsive Web Design
A dead site will impact your rankings badly. A responsive web design is highly advocated for by Google as it makes the site understandable for the search engines to allow for easy mobile-first index.
You can verify the extent of your responsive web design by using the mobile SEO tools we mentioned in the last section.
Always keep in mind that Google prefers responsive design!
Related: How to Revamp Website
5. Create Mobile-Targeted Content
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets are not simply smaller versions of desktop websites; thinking along that line will cause many problems when you try to optimize the website.
Think of mobile content that will work best with smaller gadgets rather than resizing everything down and forcing them to fit into smaller screens. This includes making clickable buttons that are big enough for mobile devices.
6. Optimize Meta Titles and Descriptions
Precision is everything when dealing with smaller screens; therefore, you have to use optimized meta titles and meta descriptions without compromising the quality of the information. Meta descriptions and tags, in general, are one of the many ranking factors that Google takes into consideration.
7. Use Structured Data
Structured data also has to do with the limited space switching from the PC to any mobile devices.
The smaller screen means that any mobile search optimization result that is laden with rich snippets (thanks to structured data) on search results will stand out more when compared to what is displayed on a PC.
You can read more on how structured data can improve the user experience of mobile searchers accessing your website via mobile devices.
8. Build Mobile Sitemap by Creating a Separate Mobile URL
Creating a second parallel site (or even multiple separate URLs) for mobile users independent of the desktop one is another way of improving SEO for mobile. This gives you more control as you can develop all kinds of customizations without worrying about the desktop site affecting your desktop users and desktop searches.
However, care must be taken with site redirects to avoid sending visitors to dead pages or the desktop instead of mobile version of your website.
9. Optimize for Local Mobile Searches
Consider your target market in terms of geographical placement when optimizing for mobile local search results.
If the mobile SEO company you are running has a local SEO element to it, then localize it to the best of your abilities to become more familiar to the local mobile users.
This ranges from standardizing the address, the name, phone numbers, the details of the city you are based in in the site’s metadata. Simply put, you want organic search results appearing on mobile devices to be within the vicinity!
10. Mobile Site Configuration
You have to decide whether you will be going with a dynamic, responsive, or separate site configuration. Each of these has its strengths and weaknesses, and Google supports all of them. You just have to compare all of them and go with what you believe to be the most suitable for your SEO mobile optimization plans.
There you have it: a complete mobile SEO guide. All evidence points to how vital SEO mobile optimization is for the survival of your business through your website.
Apart from the mobile-first index rule, more and more people are turning to mobile devices to access everything in their day-to-day lives, and creating a website geared towards that is a necessity.
If getting around to optimizing things for smartphones and tablets is proving to be a little challenging, then get in touch with us as soon as you can, and we will be with you every step of the way.
In One Search Pro, the trusted digital marketing agency with a team of digital marketing and mobile SEO experts who are well versed in mobile site SEO, SEM, social media management, and website development and design who will take care of all your mobile devices optimization questions and concerns.