Mobile SEO: Tips for Making Your Site Mobile-Friendly

Mobile SEO

You may have heard the term “mobile SEO” bandied about recently, and you should have; it’s been a pretty big topic in the news lately. But what, exactly, is mobile SEO?

Is it Local? Are tablets involved? Can you optimize traditional SEO elements to get a quick win?

Unfortunately, the answers to those questions are, in order, not always, not necessarily and no.

Mobile SEO is the crossroads of SEO and user experience, which means that if your site isn’t optimized or your site isn’t built for mobile, you’re already way behind.

Here are some tips on how to optimize the mobile user experience to drive more traffic:

Site Layout

We’ve all been there – you’re trying to research a product or company while on the go, so you pull up your mobile browser to go to that company’s website, only to find that there’s no mobile version of the site. You’re faced with a clunky user interface that makes it nearly impossible to use your finger and tap the link you want to click, with media content that doesn’t scale properly and fonts too small to read.

Some of the most common errors we see on mobile sites are:

Common Errors Mobile

Touch Elements Located Too Close To One Another

This makes it virtually impossible for users to select the touch target they’re after, which will only frustrate them

Small Fonts

Ten times out of ten, sites that don’t scale properly will have font that’s difficult to read, meaning users aren’t getting your message

Viewing Area Issues

Mobile pages should have a defined viewing area (often called a viewport) to ensure that a) nothing is being left off the mobile user’s screen, and b) users are able to find what they’re looking for (yes, this includes being able to read the text on the page)

Not Utilizing Mobile-Friendly Technology

We’re talking particularly about HTML5, JavaScript and CSS here. We already know that your site isn’t running on Flash (it’s not, right?), but if its code doesn’t support these modern technologies, it will make for a very frustrating mobile user experience

Pay close attention to each of these attributes, because they’re all affecting your mobile users’ experience with your site. Use Google Analytics (or any other analytics platform) to monitor mobile user engagement.

If viewers are bouncing at a high rate or viewing very few pages, it’s a pretty serious indicator that they’re not happy with your site, and enough bounces or low engagement may eventually result in a lower mobile SERP ranking.

 

JavaScript and CSS

Javascript CSS

Java and CSS are the backbone of mobile usability – so much so that Google recently declared that sites must allow Google’s crawlers access to their JavaScript and CSS via the robots.txt file to earn the Mobile-Friendly designation in mobile SERPs.

Further, Google also announced recently that it won’t show description snippets in mobile SERPs for mobile sites whose JavaScript and CSS are blocked. While this doesn’t guarantee a lower ranking for these types of sites, it almost ensures a lower click-through rate, which is a ranking signal.

Eventually, Google is likely to announce that sites that aren’t mobile-friendly will rank more poorly in mobile SERPs. However, if you’re waiting for that announcement to optimize your site’s mobile presence, it’ll be too late.

Never stop optimizing

Whether they know it or not, your audience sees your website as the spokesperson for your brand. That means they expect it to look clean, be insightful and answer any questions that they may have with ease.

As mobile becomes a bigger part of everyone’s lives, your website’s ability to meet your audience where they want to be met is increasingly important.

Follow the tips above to ensure that your site is positioned well for mobile search, and as always, never stop optimizing!

Ryan Durling

Ryan Durling is Digital Project Manager at 451!

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