Mobile Searches are Overtaking Desktop in Many Countries: What Should You Do to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Search?
The way we search on the internet is changing. Mobile searches are taking over, and it’s starting to cause an impact. The fact of the matter is more and more people are browsing on the go. They’re refusing to confine themselves to a desktop computer.
So how can you optimize your website for mobile searches?
The Change in Habit
For a time, mobile devices meant nothing. SEO gurus and businesses didn’t have to take them into account. That has all changed now because responsive web design exists. Your website must automatically adapt to the resolution of whatever mobile device it appears on.
Google responded to this because desktop websites aren’t viable for use on a phone. They’re too big and the features are difficult to use to their fullest extent from a mobile device.
Google has noted that mobile searches have become prominent than desktop searches in a number of key markets, including the United States, Japan, and the UK.
The growing change in mobile trends shows why Google has taken steps to alter its algorithms. There are special provisions provided for mobile websites now. That as a business should make you stand and take notice.
Search Engine Index Knockdown
Google has decided to actively penalize websites that aren’t mobile-friendly. One study discovered that half of the pages threatened with a knockdown were knocked down. It’s quite early on in the process, but it demonstrates Google is serious about this.
We can accurately predict that these penalties are only going to grow in severity because mobile browsing isn’t a fad. It’s only going to become more of a factor as the years go by.
Any investment in SEO is going to be off-set by penalties if you aren’t ready to optimize your site for the mobile world.
How to Approach the Optimization Process
The optimization process isn’t difficult to follow. It’s a design issue, so your web designer or SEO Company should be able to do it for you. You must approach the process in the right way, though.
In this section, we’re going to show you how to properly approach the mobile optimization process.
- Find Out if You’re Optimized
Never automatically assume you’re optimized for the web. If you manage a website, check if it’s mobile friendly by visiting it from a mobile device. You will know if it’s optimized because the URL will have the ‘m’ tag.
- Perform Testing
It’s not enough to have a mobile optimized website. It must comply with the guidelines set out by Google’s developers.
The Mobile-Friendly Test allows Google bot to launch a background check of your website. The bots will go over the various bits of functionality a user will encounter on your site. If it fails, it means your site isn’t suitable. But even a pass could mean you need to act, should the ‘m’ tag be absent.
- Follow the Rules
There are a lot of mistakes that are easy to make when optimizing a website for mobile devices. Here are just some of them you need to beware of:
- Text that’s too small.
- Unresponsive pages.
- Content not automatically fitting the screen.
- Buttons that are too small.
- Software like Flash, which isn’t supported on mobile devices.
An older site not optimized for mobile can have a lot of things wrong with it. This is why a lot of companies prefer to hand this job over to the professionals.
- Configure it Correctly
There are multiple ways you can optimize a website. These include responsive web design, using separate URLS, and dynamic serving. This is a complex topic in itself, so we recommend speaking to a team of professional SEO experts for more information on what will work best for your specific website.
- Prioritize It
The crucial step in this process is to make everything a priority. Every day you leave this task unfinished is a day where you’re being downgraded in the search rankings.
This isn’t just about meeting Google’s standards, either. Mobile optimization isn’t an obstacle. It’s not a problem. It’s about doing right by your customers. It’s better for them if you can optimize your website for mobile devices.
Going Further than Optimization
Optimization is the act of getting your website ready for various mobile devices people will access it from. What you have to remember is that just because a site is optimized doesn’t mean to say it’s going to offer a positive experience for everyone.
On the contrary, if your site isn’t programmed in the right way it’s going to lead to problems further down the line. A lack of performance and a lack of SEO placement aren’t going to help you. What follows are some steps you need to take to get your site ready for mobile devices.
The way your website is designed will impact performance on mobile devices in a way that it won’t on a conventional desktop PC. This is why companies often miss it out.
For a start, mobile devices are limited on the web. They have a much shorter battery life, a slower connection to the internet, and less computing power. It means normal desktop websites can’t run properly.
You have to take these matters into account when designing a website. Remove any features that require a lot of power. For example, consider removing images and videos from some pages to help reduce the load.
Design your website based on the lowest common denominator device.
User Experience and Mobile SEO
You’ll hear ‘user experience’ brought up in guides like this often. It’s something you always need to think about, but just as important is its impact on SEO.
Google monitors bounce rates. If a site offers a poor user experience, your bounce rates will go up. Bounce rates give the indication that your site isn’t meeting the expectations of your target audience. Google puts two and two together and assumes your site lacks quality, so it goes down in the rankings.
Here are some of the things you can do to improve your website when optimizing for mobile:
- Make content readable without users needing to use the zoom function.
- Scrolling should always be vertical. It’s difficult for mobile user to read horizontally scrolling pages.
- Buttons should be big enough for fingers to click the first time. Nothing is more frustrating than a small button that takes multiple attempts to hit.
- Keep content short and sweet. Mobile users are typically reading on the go, so they don’t have time to stick around for too long.
Elements that Need Attention
Some webpage elements have no place on mobile devices. If they can be used, they often need to be modified first. Here are three key elements you need to pay attention to.
Adobe Flash Player – Flash is entirely outdated. No mobile device can render it. Any element that uses Flash needs to go. It’s unworkable.
Plugins – These plugins are designed for computer users. Most mobile devices don’t support them. In fact, sometimes they can cause security issues and crash devices.
Pop-Ups – The chances are you shouldn’t be using these anyway, but if you do, they’re impossible to work with on mobile devices. Pop-ups are difficult to close on smaller mobile screens. It’s frustrating and it slows their web browsers down.
Optimize for Local SEO
Studies demonstrate that 56% of all mobile searches are performed on a local basis. In other words, they’re searching for nearby businesses, sights, and other locations. It only makes sense that proper mobile optimization includes local SEO.
To optimize for local SEO, build your online footprint. Include details like your company name, address, and opening hours. This should go in your Meta data.
What a lot of people haven’t realized is that Google on a desktop is different from Google on a mobile device. The search results are different because they’re targeted at a different audience.
Track your mobile keywords independently from your desktop keywords to get better results in the rankings.
Thankfully, this couldn’t be easier. Go into Google Webmaster Tools and adjust the search query settings. This will allow you to track your mobile searches and mobile keywords only.
Just remember that it can take a few days for this to work. Google can take some time to properly incorporate your website’s data.
Mobile Optimization and Mobile Ready
Mobile optimization itself is making your website ready for mobile devices. It doesn’t guarantee you any success. Getting mobile ready involves taking the next step. It allows you to rank highly on mobile devices, whilst ensuring you give your visitors a five-star user experience.
If this all seems too time-consuming for you, look no further than professional SEO services. With the help of the experts, you can ensure that you get the right results at an affordable price.
We make no mistakes and we’ll make sure that your website is ready for mobile devices. Your customers will thank you for it, so get in touch with us today to find out more!