Smartphones and tablets have revolutionized the way we experience online content. Website design has become simpler, and content has been rearranged to display the most meaningful information first. With mini computers floating in pockets everywhere, search engine optimization (SEO) for mobile sites is crucial to harnessing the potential of any business.
What to consider when optimizing for mobile
Some elements of mobile-friendly sites are more important than others. However, the most successful websites incorporate all of them. A customer’s online experience with a company is often the first one, so website optimization is no less important than more tangible investments. Below are some basic tips to get you started.
For mobile devices, less is more. It’s frustrating to navigate a confusing website on a desktop, but it’s not even tolerable on a 5-inch screen using only your fingers. Be clear about what you want your visitors to know about your business—don’t crowd the message with unnecessary information or too many buttons.
Effective design layouts incorporate optimized images, text and column formatting, and content prioritization. Exploring the site should feel intuitive—after all, it is literally hands on.
Mobile users are on-the-go. They won’t wait for more than a few seconds to swipe back to the search engine results page (SERP) and try a different site. Since smartphones and tablets have less room for processing hardware and are more prone to connectivity issues, website structure holds a much heavier weight in terms of loading speed.
Optimizing images for size is one of the first and easiest ways to increase page speed and improve your mobile SEO. You can also reduce or optimize special effects, but don’t use Adobe Flash as it isn’t universally supported on mobile. Take advantage of the browser cache. Remember that easy access to relevant information is more important than neat tricks—everyone is trying to accomplish something.
Meta descriptions and headings
This comes back to content prioritization. Mobile screens can’t display as much information at a time as desktop computers, so revising titles and descriptions to fit on smaller devices is key in driving mobile traffic from SERPs. When users enter your site, they should experience the same prioritization. Don’t make your visitors guess where they should click next. Trial and error is too tedious for the mobile environment, and consistency is key in SEO.
Research continues to support heavy local traffic in mobile searches and sites. Be sure your company is registered with Google My Business and place your contact information somewhere obvious on your site. This includes address, phone number, and whatever else is relevant to your visitors. How can users benefit from your business right now?
Include a link to the full desktop site
While the ultimate goal is to create an adequate mobile site for users, providing a link to the full desktop version ensures that viewers can access what they’re looking for, even if they have to take the long way. The link should be easy to find but not distracting. The bottom of the home page is a good place to start.
Finally, be sure to test your mobile site for optimization regularly. This tool by Think with Google can tell you how well your site is performing.
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