In 2 years, there will be nearly 3 billion people worldwide using smartphones. Currently, a whopping 77% of Americans own a smartphone. With so many mobile devices, it’s clear why mobile SEO for your business is a must have.
The smartphone is the most revolutionary innovation in decades. They’ve changed how we work, how we communicate, how we live our daily lives, and especially how we interact with brands.
The best brands know the importance of mobile seo for websites. But before we explore the mobile world, we need to brush up on the basics and mobile SEO best practices.
An Overview of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is the practice of increasing the quality and quantity of traffic to your website.
Optimized content includes keywords, linking, and a clean user experience.
The term ‘search engine optimization’ sound like a daunting, super technical concept. But it’s actually quite simple.
You don’t need to know the ins and outs of coding, computer science, and computer languages. In fact, it’s more focused on the human experience than any technical strategy.
Search Engine Terms
Before you learn how to optimize, you need to understand the basics of search engines.
Here is a list of terms you need to know:
Organic search results: These are search results you didn’t pay for. A user finds your website through Google when they search for something specific that you offer.
For example, you’re selling artisanal baked goods in Athens, GA. A resident in Athens types in ‘fresh baked goods near me.’ If you’ve correctly optimized your website, it should appear as a top result.
Search engine results page (SERP): This is the list of top results that show up in response to search queries. SERPs were formerly referred to as the ’10 blue links,’ which is how Google used to present the top results.
Now, SERPs might include advertising, featured snippets, answer boxes, and more. Search engines use these pages to best serve the user.
Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP): This open source library simplifies creating websites and ads for all platforms. This project is sponsored by Google. It enables mobile websites to render instantly and is Mobile SEO at its core. Basically, AMPs are simplified HTML that is lightweight and fast loading. One thing to point out, that at this time, Google is not using AMP as an SEO ranking factor but there are many indirect benefits to using AMP that will impact Google SEO ranking factor of your site. I’ll share more on that later.
Search engine spiders: These internet bots are also known as ‘robots’ or ‘crawlers.’ They collect information from web pages and cache them into the search engine’s servers.
Spiders are what visit your website. They validate your coding, keywords, meta tags, hyperlinks, and more.
Why Search Engine Optimization Is Important
There are several ways you can drive more traffic to your website. You can leverage social media marketing and invest in paid advertisements.
But search engines are the top resource. They drive the most web traffic.
Google continues to be most users’ go-to for finding information. In fact, Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day.
Your audience is spending their time on search engines, looking for solutions to their problems. The best place to start mastering search engine optimization is understanding your audience.
What solutions do they need? How are they researching solutions?
When you know this, you can finally answer the most important question: How can you reach them?
The Proper Search Engine Optimization Mindset
This is the most important takeaway for optimizing your website, regardless of mobile or desktop formats — Focus on creating content and web pages for human beings, not search engines.
In other words, you’re delivering content and information with your audience and their needs in mind.
If you try to game the system and use black hat SEO tactics, like keyword stuffing or hidden text and links, search engines will ban your site, essentially killing your business. I only recommend using black hat SEO tactics to those who are extremely experienced and I’ll discuss that further in another article.
The penalties of going against Google’s webmaster guidelines can be devastating. First, they take manual action.
Then, you have to fix the issue and submit a reconsideration request to get back online. This kills your credibility and wastes a lot of your time. Meanwhile, your audience is going to your competitor and your losing money. Remember leave black hat SEO tactics to industry experts and follow the best practiced defined here.
The best mindset when it comes to optimizing for search engines is stepping into your audience’s shoes. Identify what search queries they use to find you or businesses like you.
You want to be the provider of the best content for your audience. Creating great content is vital, but that content needs to be optimized.
Conduct an SEO audit to determine how well you’re optimizing your web pages. This is especially important for mobile websites.
The Mobile Revolution Calls for Mobile SEO
Billions of smartphone users create lots of opportunities for you to connect with your audience and drive traffic to your website.
Consider how customer behaviors have changed since the mobile revolution began. People are regularly checking their phones, reading through their social media and searching for information on the go.
With constant access to the internet, more people are opting for mobile searching now than ever before.
In fact, mobile and tablet internet usage exceeded desktop internet usage for the first time worldwide in 2016.
When it comes to Mobile SEO for websites, there are 3 mobile SEO best practices to consider:
This is a site that displays the desktop version accurately on a mobile device, like a tablet or smartphone.
Making your site mobile friendly is a must. Without your website formatting correctly on a mobile device, you will lose traffic.
However, relying purely on making your website mobile friendly has limitations. The site will not work perfectly with touchscreens.
For example, the text might be too small to read. Images can be distorted, and links might be difficult to click.
Mobile optimized website
What is Mobile SEO? Mobile SEO is the process of creating a version of your website specifically for mobile devices.
It’s essentially a lighter version of your full website. Here are some key aspects of a mobile-optimized website:
- The buttons are bigger
- The content is formatted for smaller screens
- Images fit better
- There are fewer graphics and pop-ups
- There are fewer areas for typing
Also, this version offers a link to the desktop version of the website.
This is a site that adjusts main features to different devices. Overall, the design requires less scrolling and is flexible.
No matter what device is being used, the website fits the screen.
But sometimes a responsive design isn’t enough. Users don’t have the time or attention to go through complex processes on your site or to fill out online forms with lots of text.
Each of these mobile website options has their pros and cons. Find the option that best fits your budget and goals.
Why You Need Mobile SEO for your Website
There are several reasons why you need to invest in properly optimizing your mobile website. The most obvious one is that more traffic is coming from mobile devices.
Without an optimized mobile website, expect:
- Lower ranking in SERPs: Search engines won’t rank you as a top source.
- A drop in traffic: Less of your audience will find you through organic search.
- Higher bounce rates: With slow load times and clunky design, visitors will leave fast.
- Less conversion: If your call-to-action (CTA) is hard to find or click, nobody will buy.
Essentially, search engine optimization for mobile websites comes down to user experience.
As mentioned above, you need to optimize your mobile website with your audience in mind. Focus on the human being visiting your digital presence, not gaming the system for higher ranks.
An ideal user experience consists of:
- Fast loading times
- Content that’s easy to read or watch
- Simple navigation of your site
- Clarity of your main messaging
- A distinct, easy-to-find CTA
There are several aspects of the user experience to consider.
First of all, don’t ignore the latest trends in user behavior. For example, one of the most popular trends now is multi-screening.
In 2016, nearly 47 million U.S. adult users accessed content on a digital device while also watching TV or a digital video.
This gives you the chance to improve brand engagement. If your site is hard to navigate, your audience will run to your competitor.
But with a beautiful, seamless mobile experience, you can attract and continually engage those multi-screening users through your site.
Second, you want to generate positive sentiment for your brand.
Don’t be the outdated website in your industry. Be the one with the awesome looking mobile website, delivering the best content for your audience.
As you build brand recognition, you will stand out as a top resource in your industry.
If you don’t know how to build your digital presence and drive traffic, consult an SEO expert to help you and start studying mobile SEO best practices.
Mobile SEO Best Practices
There are several mobile SEO best practices to follow for optimizing your mobile website:
- Focus on page speed: Reduce redirects, minify your code, and make the most of browser caching.
- Keep an eye on design: Avoid using Flash, which might not be available on a smartphone, and pop-ups, which can be disruptive and frustrating. Also, consider how users scroll with their finger. Prevent accidental clicks by avoiding the path of the scroll.
- Don’t forget local search: If you’re serving locals, optimize for local search by standardizing your name, address, and phone number in your site’s metadata.
- Think concise: When you’re optimizing titles and meta descriptions, remember you’re working with less space. Keep information concise while still being informative.