Many businesses overlook the importance of mobile optimization, but the truth is that it's crucial for driving conversions and revenue.
We currently have over 6 billion people using mobile phones globally. We also have reports that by 2025, almost three-quarters of internet users will solely access the internet via their smartphones.
In today's digital age, everyone uses smartphones and tablets to browse the internet and make purchases online.
If your website or product isn't optimized for mobile, you could miss out on a huge opportunity to reach and convert potential customers.
But what exactly is mobile optimization, and how do you improve it?
This article will provide the ultimate guide to mobile optimization, including key considerations and actionable tips for improving your mobile presence. Don't let your business suffer any longer. Read on to learn how to optimize for mobile and start driving conversions and revenue today.
What Is Mobile Optimization in SEO?
SEO mobile optimization means ensuring visitors accessing your site on their phones enjoy experiences optimized for their devices, not just desktops.
With more and more people initiating an increasing number of searches from mobile devices, webmasters should pay special attention to their mobile SEO strategies. Aside from more people using their phones for the internet, Google is also already favoring mobile-friendly sites.
This optimization process focuses on improving the mobile user experience by including design features, page speed, site structure, and so on to ensure a high-quality mobile user experience. Ultimately this ensures you are not catering to desktop users and inadvertently turning mobile users away.
Importance of Mobile Optimization for SEO
In the U.S., over 50% of organic internet searches are conducted over mobile devices. In fact, chances are that you are reading this on a mobile device. If so, you probably wouldn't have gotten this far if the page wasn't displaying nicely.
Instead, you would have gone back to your search and found a page offering a better experience. While no one would blame you for that, your customers follow the same path. If your site is hard to navigate, doesn't scroll properly, or information and images don't display correctly, they are quickly on to the next.
Mobile optimization reduces the chances of this happening but does a bit more. Mobile optimization supports SEO by giving you return guests. The premise behind this is simple: users want to visit fun, interactive, engaging sites that are easy to navigate.
Aside from keeping new users on your page for longer, optimization also helps you get more frequent repeat guests. The idea is the same: a good experience encourages the guest to stick around and come back again and again. A lousy experience does the opposite.
Return guests give you better rankings on search engines. Similarly, when people love interacting with your site and bookmark you on platforms like Chrome, Google gives your ranking a boost as well.
The second is that Google now prefers content optimized for mobile. As such, companies dragging their feet on implementing a mobile-first strategy risk being overlooked by Google and other search engines. This means lower traffic, reduced lead volumes, and a drop in sales and revenues.
Key Considerations for Mobile Optimization
Mobile optimization, like other SEO, involves the application of several strategies.
The key ones for mobile optimization are as follows:
Speed and performance
Users have become extremely impatient. With the bulk of information on the internet, they also have tens of options to pick from. So a speedy site has become extremely important; otherwise, you risk losing visitors to competitors that have invested in speed and mobile site performance.
The metrics to look at on speed include:
* Time to First Byte
* Load Time (fully loaded)
* Requests (fully loaded)
* Start Render
* Content Breakdown by MIME type
* Bytes in /Total Size in KB
The question begs, just how fast is fast? The benchmark for a site is three seconds or less.
Mobile-Friendliness and Responsive Design
Mobile-friendliness matters for SEO. So much so that it's a ranking criterion for both Bing's and Google's algorithms when a user initiates a search.
There are three elements to think about when aiming for mobile-friendliness. There are:
This entails outlining user-agent and serving different HTML codes, depending on whether users are on desktop or mobile. Dynamic designs require the use of Vary HTTP headers.
These void caching servers from erroneously serving the wrong versions. This also tells search engines' mobile user agents to access the mobile page version.
These are also mDots and involve creating an entirely separate mobile site you host as a subdomain. This looks something like mobile.domain.com or m.domain.com.
While Google does a great job identifying the relationship between content hosted on a desktop and those hosted on a mobile subdomain, you can never be 100% sure.
One way to do this is to include the rel-''canonical" tab pointing to the desktop version. However, this method is not well-recommended for complicated or large websites.
This doesn't include much, save for adding one Meta tag. You can begin by adding a Meta viewpoint tag. This tag tells browsers to render a page based on screen size.
Content and Structure
While speed and responsiveness can help you pass Google's mobile-friendly test, SEO optimization shouldn't end there. In addition to structure and the more technical end of things, you must also write mobile-friendly content that appeals to readers.
For starters, people on desktops read differently than mobile users. Desktop readers are drawn to the top left section of a site, so you have to optimize this section. However, the mobile user's gaze is more distributed: in short, there is no focal point to optimize. For you, this means all mobile-accessible content must be well-optimized.
Chunking content is another thing you can do. This means grouping related content together using subheads, summaries, whitespace, images, bulleted lists, and styling (italics and bolding).
User experience (UX) is vital to mobile SEO. Search engines no longer assess web pages on keyword use alone. They must also understand user intent and deliver a rich UX to rank highly in organic internet searches.
Because Google is increasingly judging your site based on its mobile version, here are some pointers to help you enhance your mobile user experience:
* Decide what the top tasks for your uses on your site would be and optimize your mobile site around these
* Include a straightforward menu and search option so that finding information is easy
* Use styling elements like white spaces, headings, and borders instead of overdoing dividers
* Keep forms as brief as possible. Name and email should suffice for newsletters, quotes, callbacks, and appointment bookings
* Have a lean, mean site by minimizing the number of colors, animations, and images
* Touch targets on mobile should have a minimum rendered size of 1cm by 1 cm. This allows users to tap on buttons using their fingers and thumbs without numerous errors that can be frustrating.
* Limit the number of font sizes. Essentially you want large fonts not to fill the screen, but not too tiny that content can't be read without zooming. This is something you can check on Google's mobile-friendly test.
* Be tactful about ads and CTA's. Avoid scaring users off with too many ads and pop-ups. Similarly, build a connection before screaming, "but my stuff" at the audience. This creates poor user experiences, and Google can also penalize you for it.
* Test your UX, and do it over and over with every new addition to ensure it fits the bill
Tips for Improving Mobile Optimization
Needless to say, your business's future depends on mobile friendliness and how well you have optimized your site for mobile phones. You simply cannot ignore the mobile-first drive.
So let's look at some tips and best practices to help boost your mobile optimization efforts.
1. Use a Fast and Reliable Hosting Provider
We know that page speed is a ranking factor with search engines. How much of a factor is not very clear, but it's best to err on the side of caution.
So pick a hosting service that meets or exceeds tour bandwidth needs. If you go lower, you interfere with your speed.
Similarly, if you have a major news site, or a site that gets a surge in traffic from time to time, a shared plan with limited bandwidth might not be able to support this.
2. Optimize Images and Other Media for Mobile Devices
Images are an essential asset on websites for many reasons. Among this is the fact that the human brain processes images a lot faster than it does text. However, you have to go about this correctly if you want to protect your SEO ranking.
Some image optimization tips include:
* Resize and compress images to make your website lighter and faster. You can do this manually with plugins or manually.
* Compress images to reduce an image's byte size without it losing its quality
* Pick an appropriate image format: for example, the WebP format saves you 25% more space than PNG and JPEG.
* Implement lazy loading: this defers the loading on larger images that are not required immediately on mobile. This helps mobile images load faster.
* Have image content delivery networks (CDNs) to optimize mobile image delivery. These can save you 40%-80% in image file size.
3. Use a Responsive Web Design or Separate Mobile Site
A site with a responsive design has content that adjusts itself based on the screen size it's presented on. We typically have four screen sizes: desktop monitors, smaller desktop or laptop screens, tablets, and smartphones.
A responsive design delivers stellar experiences without users having to make the adjustments themselves.
A separate mobile site is exactly what it sounds like- a second website designed for mobile users only. This will improve speed, which enhances user experience.
4. Use a Mobile-Friendly Website Builder or CMS
Website builders help you build a website without coding experience. A mobile-friendly website builder gives you access to website elements specific to mobile access.
5. Use Large, Easy-To-Read Font Sizes
Use font sizes that can be read without zooming in but not too large that users need to keep pinching the screen to get the content to fit within it.
Think about the ease of clicking different tabs using the thumb or finger. If your CTAs are problematic, visitors may be churning toward the end of the funnel. With all the resources that go into marketing, losing out on sales in this manner is utterly heartbreaking.
6. Use a Simple and Intuitive Navigation Menu
Keep top-level navigation as simple as possible. Similarly, have 5 to 10 key important pages in mind and place this strategically. Think about how users can find and go to these quickly and easily. These include CTAs.
7. Keep Content Brief and to the Point
Just like writing for websites, keep content for mobile visitors short and sweet.
8. Use Header Tags and Subheadings to Structure Content
This is one of the more basic mobile SEO tips we have.
Use these to demarcate different content sections and help guide the eye.
9. Use Alt Text for Images
These describe the function or appearance of images on a page. Screen readers read these aloud for the visually impaired, and the text displays even when the image doesn't open.
When it comes to mobile optimization for a website, alt text helps search engine crawlers index images properly.
10. Use Schema Markup to Provide Additional Context to Search Engines
When added to a webpage, schema markup creates a rich snippet to appear in the mobile search results. This is important because search engine results highly depend on how a platform interprets the context of a query.
Schema can provide some context to an otherwise ambiguous page, which can help your pages feature more prominently in SERPs.
11. Use Social Media to Promote Your Mobile Site
Organic traffic to your site does wonders for your search engine ranking. This is true for desktop and mobile access. A prominent ranking means increased visibility which is great for your business.
Have your website address and links on all your social media platforms and encourage visitors to go to your mobile site.
12. Optimize for Local Search by Claiming Your Google My Business Listing and Using Location-Specific Keywords
Location-specific words, for example, "nail bar in Houston," and including a location in GMB helps search engines bring your business up in organic searches.
They also improve your local SEO, which translates into better visibility to prospective customers.
Advanced Mobile Optimization Techniques
Aside from the above, which are often considered baseline strategies, we have more advanced mobile SEO tips. The most common ones are:
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
These help you create webpages that load faster while maintaining brand expression and creativity.
Progressive web apps (PWA)
These are apps that use manifest and web workers alongside progressive enhancements to provide users with an experience that is at par with native apps.
All sites that came into existence after July 2019 automatically went to mobile-first indexing. This means that Google primarily uses your site's mobile version for indexing and ranking. In the past, the search engine used desktop versions. This has changed, and your mobile site needs to accommodate the changes to remain competitive.
SEO Mobile Optimization: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some commonly asked questions on SEO mobile optimization:
How Do I Optimize My Website for Mobile SEO?
There are numerous methods you can use to optimize your mobile site. We have outlined most of them in this article. You can implement these in bits as you continuously test your site.
Can SEO Be Done on Mobile?
Yes, SEO can and should be implemented on mobile sites. With Google's mobile-first migration, search engines will penalize you for not having an optimized mobile site, even when you have an optimized desktop one.
Why Is Mobile Optimization Important For SEO?
Mobile optimization ensures good customer experiences. This gives you more organic traffic and prevents churning. These are factors used by search engines to rank your site; hence they support SEO.
What Is Mobile Optimization?
Mobile optimization ensures that mobile users access and enjoy your content on mobile as they would on a desktop. The goal is to provide a seamless user experience so that visitors want to stay longer, return more frequently and ultimately convert.
Optimize For Mobile
While there are some digital strategies you can ignore and get by, optimizing for mobile is not one of them. Ultimately, failing to optimize for mobile means Google penalizes your site. Less traffic means reduces visibility which yields fewer opportunities for conversation and sales. Eventually, failing to optimize for mobile will hit where it hurts most: business revenues.
If you haven't started already, use our tips and pointers to begin optimizing for mobile. Remember to conduct a mobile optimization test to gauge your progress occasionally.
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