Why Do You Need Mobile SEO?

View of a Businessman using a smartphone with a Contact icon surrounding by app and social icon - 3d render

Today, most people own a smartphone, using it to access the Internet for general information, social purposes, and even to buy goods. The increased usage of smartphones and tablets has made mobile optimisation and marketing a must for many online businesses. Therefore, if you own a website and you are wondering whether or not you should have a mobile friendly website, the answer is yes.

Mobile optimisation is the process which ensures that when a visitor accesses your website from a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, they have the best experience possible – both practically and visually. Mobile optimisation also provides better brand engagement, more mobile traffic, increased conversions and reduced bounce rate.

There are a handful of factors which you need to take into consideration when thinking about optimising for mobile.

Site Speed

Internet users are greedy folk; we want it all and we want it now. There have been many studies on how long users will stay on a page before abandoning it if it doesn’t load, including this Google study that states that 53% of users will wait no longer than 3 seconds for a page to load before leaving the website altogether. The same study of 10,000 domains found that the average load time for a mobile site is 19 seconds!

If this still isn’t enough to prove the importance of a good mobile site, mobile is a Google ranking factor which means if your site isn’t performing well on mobile this will likely result in lower organic rankings on desktop too.

Head over to the Google PageSpeed Insights tool and you may be shocked to see in black and white how poorly your website performs on mobile. Some quick fixes to improve your mobile speed are:

  • Move to a dedicated server for improved speed and security benefits rather than relying on a third-party hosting solution which may not be able to handle the amount of traffic your website may be receiving
  • Images are usually the culprit when it comes to slow page speed as they take a lot longer to load that text-based content. Resize and compress your images using third party tools or alternatively come CMS systems such as WordPress have this functionality already built it for simplicity
  • Minimise the number of requests and redirects that are slowing down your site speed. If your site has a mess of 301 redirects then this will increase the time it takes to load the destination page. Also remove unnecessary and unused elements that are code heavy!

Mobile Site Configuration 

If you haven’t got a mobile friendly website, then the first thing you need to decide is whether you want to use a responsive, dynamic serving, or separate site configuration. Google supports all three, however, responsive design is favoured.

Responsive Site Design 

Whether it be a mobile device, tablet, or desktop, your website should adapt to the screen on which it is being displayed, with the content readable from the outset. A responsively designed website delivers the same content to a desktop user and a mobile user on a single URL, each page using a fluid grid and a flexible design that fits the size of the user’s mobile device. It gives a user the optimal viewing experience regardless of the device used.

Non-Mobile Friendly Redirects

If not working with a responsive site design, it’s important to ensure that, when 301 redirects are set up, the redirect takes the user to the mobile equivalent of the page rather than the desktop page. It is confusing and poor experience for the user to keep changing between the desktop and mobile version of your site due to poor cross linking.

In the instance that a mobile user may accidentally find themselves on the desktop version of a page, ensure that you immediately redirect them to the mobile version of the page they were trying to access – not the homepage of the mobile site, this will lead in them bouncing off the website as they will think the page doesn’t exist on mobile.

Another great feature of Google Search Console is that it identifies any broken links and redirects so you can work through them manually.

SEO

If you want to rank well in mobile SERPS, be as accurate as possible when creating URLs, title tags and meta description tags. However, do not scarify the quality of the content. Remember google shows only

  • 45 characters of a title tag to mobile users
  • 100 characters in a meta description tag to mobile users.

Pop-ups and Advertisements

Pages that make content difficult to be accessed by the user on mobile devices will likely not be ranked well. There needs to be a compromise between call to actions and user experience. If the first thing a user sees when they click through to your mobile website is a large popup ad that covers the entire screen then rather that entice them it may do just the opposite.

Reconsider the role popups play in the website strategy and ensure they do not cover the page’s main content and are not difficult to dismiss.

Robots.txt

Whilst your website should have been built with SEO in mind, it should also have been built for your users. If you have a multitude of blocked files on your website, this could be damaging your rankings as Google should be able to access your website as a user can – if you’re allowing users to see something but not Google, this looks malicious.

Use another of Google’s tools, Google Search Console, and test your robots.txt file to ensure you have no blocking factors or indexing issues.

Also ensure that you are not blocking any images, JavaScript, or CSS. These days almost all smartphones can handle all three elements so make sure that the webmasters haven’t blocked them. These elements help Google understand if you have a responsive website or a different mobile solution.

Local Optimisation

When optimising for mobile you should take into account content for local search. This usually includes standardising your company name and location in the site’s meta tags. 

Need a technical SEO audit of your site to identify areas that are holding you back? Get in touch with the team and ask about our SEO services.

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