If you want to appear higher in Google’s search page ranking, your number one priority is to make your site mobile-friendly. To improve your mobile SEO, you need to improve the performance of your site and offer users an excellent mobile experience. In this article we detail some useful tips on how to do exactly that – improve your mobile site.
What makes a site mobile-friendly?
Your website is mobile-friendly when:
- it loads and looks good on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets,
- it loads quickly,
- it displays readable content, without the need for users to pinch and zoom,
- it offers navigation by touch,
- you have ‘added value’ for mobile device users,
- search engines understand the content.
So, is SEO important on mobile?
Placing an importance on mobile SEO ensures your website displays the best possible presentation of your content to the mobile device user. Users are ever increasingly mobile-oriented, and as a result, it has never been more important to make your website mobile-friendly. It is imperative that you try everything possible to make the mobile version of your site an excellent version!
Without proper presentation and fast loading times you are not going to rank well in search engines and will certainly miss out on this potential revenue.
The beginning of this year (2017) saw Google split its indexing and place mobile ahead of desktop to determine its rankings. Meaning if your site is not mobile-friendly, or you display fewer elements and content on mobile, your site will rank lower as a result and you will have a hard time getting your website to rank well.
If your website is not entirely functional on mobile devices, you need to change that, preferably to a responsive design. We wrote an article about responsive design recently and Google also has an interesting article on responsive design fundamentals which is a fantastic starting point for your research.
How to improve your mobile SEO?
To make any significant improvements to your site’s usability on mobile you will need to focus on:
- Making your website responsive
- Reducing your website’s load time
- Removing or reducing pop-ups
- Using fewer redirects
- Verifying mobile-friendliness with Google
- Submitting a sitemap to Google
Why is responsive design the best choice?
Of course, there are several ways a site can be made to be mobile-friendly, but the one Google approves of and considers the most important is responsive. Responsive design has a single URL making it easier for Google to find, comprehend and index.
If your website is using WordPress, it is likely your theme is already responsive and has the ability to adapt to different screen sizes. If you are not sure, you can check with Google Chrome’s Developer Tools. Test to see if it can scale up and down correctly if not, you should contact us about fixing that.
Reduce page load times
Probably the single most important thing after appearance, of course, is load times. People leave sites that take too long to load. Fast loading times is an important ranking factor, and Google is increasingly placing more focus on this.
Use correct image sizes
One instant way to improve your site speed and loading times is to optimise images for the web. Using image sizes that are too large dramatically reduces site performance. Crop images to the exact size required, try not to force a browser to do this for you.
Reduce code requests
Utilise browser caching
Browser caching, tells the browser that page elements can be saved inside its cache. Meaning your users only download new content whenever they revisit your site. Again, this is something we can help you with if you feel out of your depth or don’t have the time to spare.
Redirects are used to send a user from their requested page to another, often due to the requested page being deleted or relocated. Although when done well this is considered good practice it can lead to slow loading of pages across your website. Don’t make endless redirects, always use direct links.
Choose fonts and their sizes wisely
Typography can make the user experience fantastic or terrible. It is wise to check your website on several mobile devices to ensure it is legible, if not, make the necessary changes to ensure a great user experience. Make sure that your mobile site is perfectly readable on mobile devices. Check that your menus and CTAs are big enough. There’s nothing worse than trying to tap on a button or a link, and nothing happens. Mobile users will inevitably become frustrated when navigation is hard and will likely leave before pressing the all important CTAs you have spread across your site.
Reduce the use and size of pop-ups
Google has recently turned its focus towards popups and will rank you lower, especially if your pop-ups are too large. The reason for this is that pop-ups often hinder a user’s access to the content they requested. Remove them or if you do use them, make sure they are small and not over-imposing.
Test your site and tell Google about it
Before you start working on your mobile SEO, you should run a Mobile-Friendly Test on Google to see where to focus your attention first. During your optimisation, you should continue to check to see if you are making progress.
If your site is optimised, you need to tell Google about it so that it can be checked and indexed. Use Search Console to stay on top of the performance of your site.
Incorporate Google AMP
AMP is an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages and makes web pages load incredibly fast on mobile devices. It works by utilising a unique HTML code, which optimises your pages and tells Google to give them special treatment. Meaning, your site’s pages will be cached by Google and delivered at incredible speeds on mobile devices.
This technology is relatively new but has seen rapid growth. We believe every site can benefit from using this technique. If you have a WordPress site, it’s not hard to get started; we can take care of most of the setup. Here you can find more information in Google’s guidelines.
It is a fact that mobile is important nowadays and with Google starting to index mobile first, you need to make your mobile site perfect, not just for Google, but, more importantly, your users. Mobile SEO is about creating a user experience to die for. Once achieved, you’ll soon be on your way to the top of those ever elusive Google search rankings!