These days people look into their mobile countless time throughout the day. 91% of the smartphone users in the US look into their mobile while working on other tasks. These mobile moments give website owners an unprecedented opportunity to engage the users when they expect to get exactly what they need at that particular moment. These need could be virtually anything and not limited to retail products online. The user could be looking for medical advice or guitar lesson or movie tickets or just some content on a random topic in his or her mind. Whatever your business model is, if you have an online presence, it’s important that you optimize your Mobile SEO efforts and rank on mobile devices.
What Is Mobile SEO
Mobile SEO means optimizing customer experience of your site for mobile and make it recognizable by Google. Even if you already have a mobile site, Google can’t recognize it if not configured properly. This, in turn, affects how your pages rank.
In 4 simple steps, we’ll help you create a mobile-friendly website easily and ensure Google understand it. The quicker Google recognizes your ‘mobile’ website, the faster they rank you.
Make Your Website Mobile Ready
Are you wondering how to make your site mobile-friendly? Here are few questions that should strike your mind first.
- Is your content readable on mobile?
- Does your website need pinching or zooming?
- Is your website easy to navigate with a single finger?
- Is your mobile content helpful for someone using a mobile?
If any of the answers is “NO”, you surely need to work on your mobile site to make it more mobile-friendly.
There are four main ways to make a website mobile: Responsive design, AMP, Dynamic Serving and Separate website on Mobile specific URL.
For SEO purpose responsive design is a wise choice. Google supports Responsive Design as it is simple and the implementation is less risky. If you find it tough to make your website code responsive, search for responsive templates online that are easily available and suits your needs. Colorlib or Theme Forest are some sites from where you can buy responsive mobile ready themes.
Rank Up On Mobile Friendliness Factors
The are several factors that Google take into account before determining the mobile-friendliness of a website. Some of the crucial points are:
- The Configuration of Viewport: Fixed size web pages were too large to fit the Mobile screen. To fix this, browsers on those devices scaled down the entire web page to fit the screen. Viewport element gives the browser instructions on how to control the page’s dimensions and scaling.
- Usage Of Interstitial Ads: Interstitial ads are overlays that block a user from seeing or interacting with content. In a Google update, they mentioned that mobile web pages with interstitial will no longer be considered as mobile friendly.
- Font Sizes: 66 characters is the recommended line length for maximum clarity and readability for print and desktop web. For smaller viewport like smartphones 35–40 characters per line provide the best balance for legible and readable text. Design & technical strategist Jason Pamental suggested implementing Typographic Style using CSS yields more balanced results across screen sizes.
- Usage Of Plugin: Plugins should not be used in mobile web pages, Google recommended in one of its developer guidelines. Plugins are a major cause of hangs, crashes, and security breaches. And most mobile devices do not support plugins.
Ensure Googlebot Understands Your Page
The most important step of Mobile SEO is to make Google understand your website’s mobile configuration. Unless Google identifies your mobile solution, it may not credit your website or rank appropriately on Google Mobile SERP (Search Engine Result Page).
For different types of mobile implementation (responsive, dynamic, AMP and Separate website on Mobile specific URL) the configuration is different.
In Responsive design including a viewport tag is the way to configure it for mobile. Viewport tag as mentioned earlier will help browser to render website correctly based on the device’s screen size.
<meta name=viewport content=”width=device-width, initial-scale=1″>
For Dynamic serving, Google requires adding Vary HTTP header. This is how it looks like:
With this header, Google understands that the website has a mobile alternative.
For separate website on Mobile specific URL, on the desktop page, you need to add a special link rel=”alternate” tag pointing to the corresponding mobile URL for the Google to understand it has a mobile part and on the mobile page, add a link rel=”canonical” tag pointing to the corresponding desktop URL, so Google does not consider the content as duplicate.
Optimize User Experience On Mobile
User Experience optimization is an important component in Mobile SEO to improve search engine ranking and avoiding search engine penalties. Followings are few key factors to consider:
- Mobile Page Speed: Mobile network is not as fast as regular internet connections. If you are having a slow website, it’ll take longer for the pages to load on mobile (due to slow internet speed). And mobile page speed is an important factor in Google’s ranking algorithm. Using Google’s Page Speed Insight tool you can understand and correct page speed issues of your website.
- Blocked Page Resource: Some of the page elements are rendered based on other functional files like CSS (as we have given an example of typography styling above). Such files should be crawlable for the Google crawler to understand. It’s an important factor in the usability component, mentioned in one of the Google webmaster resources. Google Webmaster Tools now include a Blocked Resources Report to help you find and resolve these kinds of issues. Website’s robots.txt file often block access to some or all of the page resources. Such scenarios are often seen in WordPress’s default configuration.
- Faulty Redirects: If you have separate mobile and desktop URLs, it’s necessary to redirect the desktop URL to the specific and appropriate mobile URL. Redirecting any URL to the homepage or other pages will be misguiding the users. For example, if a user is searching for a page in Facebook on the desktop, the URL will be facebook.com/xyz. While searching on mobile he or she should be redirected to m.facebook.com/xyz. It’ll be quite disappointing if the user is redirected to m.facebook.com (homepage) instead. Such issues not only cause user experience to suffer but can result in search engine penalties as clearly mentioned in Google’s developer resource.
As we mentioned, in the beginning, more and more users are predominantly opting for smartphones for their online searches, so it’s important to create a positive user experience for your mobile site. These important Mobile SEO strategies can help you improve your website ranking on Mobile search result pages and get more traffic to your website through mobile devices.