Have you heard the buzz? The number of smartphones has surpassed the number of computers in many countries. Google has noted this trend and increased its emphasis on mobile optimization.
So, if you have a mobile version of your website, then that becomes the starting point for what Google will include in its index and the baseline for rankings. Also known as mobile-first indexing.
There are two things going on here. Not having a mobile-friendly version of your site may negatively impact ratings. If you do have a mobile-friendly or mobile version, then you need to optimize it.
Mobile SEO is huge now and its importance will only increase. It entails optimizing your website for device users. The practice also involves making your site available and accessible for search engine spiders.
You may have also heard that 58% of all searches on Google are now done via a mobile device. The future of search is certainly mobile. This is the reason why every algorithm update from Google has increased focus on mobile accessibility and mobile search.
If you already have a website that’s well optimized for search engines, you are just a couple of steps away from optimizing your SEO for a smartphone. Here are a few key checks that will help you:
Readability and usability
One of the first criteria for a mobile-friendly site is readability and usability. Do readers need to zoom in to read your content? Are the links easily tapped, and does the page require zero to minimize horizontal scrolling? A quick usability test will confirm these and you can fix the issues detected.
Page load speed
Page speed is even more crucial for mobile users than desktop users. This is because, with a mobile phone, we are used to a certain pace of navigation. Some ways of achieving efficient page load speed are by optimizing images, minifying code, leveraging browser cache and reducing redirects.
Configuring your mobile site
One of the most important factors is how you set up your mobile site.
You have three options:
– Separate m. URL
– Dynamic Serving
– Responsive Design
You could use a separate URL(the M. configuration). This setup has two versions – desktop and mobile(.M). The site finds out whether the user is a mobile or desktop user and then uses the appropriate URL.
While dynamic serving is when all your content is dished up dynamically on the same URL. The detecting user agents select different sets of HTML and CSS based on what device your visitor is using.
The third option is to use a responsive web design. With responsive design, your page’s layout and content are customized for each user’s device and screen. There is no need for separate URLs or HTML.
Google’s mobile usability test
You can access this tool from Google Search Console. This tool informs you if your site has mobile usability problems. Simply click on Mobile Usability under Enhancements in your GSC sidebar to access the information.
Or you can head over to Google’s Mobile friendly test. Simply type in your site’s URL and run test. It gives you a full usability report with useful pointers on what’s working and what’s not.
Once upon a time, it was no big deal to block one or all of these. This was done because some mobile devices couldn’t support those elements. But this is no longer the case. The smartphone GoogleBot needs to and wants to see the same content as users do. So, if you have blocked access to any of these, then it may adversely affect your ranking.
Optimize titles and metadata for mobile
Since you are working with a smaller screen size you should display the best of your content in SERPS and it’s best to be concise and informative while writing your titles, meta descriptions and URLs.
Local SEO is as important for mobile as it is for a desktop. Remember to optimize your mobile content for local searches. This means standardizing name, address, phone numbers and including your full address(city and state) in the metadata.
Finally, a majority of mobile users consume your content on the go, in real-time. Your design, content, and usability need to be perfect for the mobile experience. Optimizing your mobile SEO also means you need to think from a mobile user perspective and solve their pain points.