5.5 Ways The Best Mobile Websites Incorporate SEO
Mobile device use has skyrocketed over the past few years. In fact, more people access the web on smart phones or tablets than desktops. What does this mean for search? It means you’d better up your mobile optimization game if you want to stay in the race. Read on for five (and a half) simple rules to keep in mind when optimizing your site for mobile and a bonus tip that will keep you on top of your SEO moving forward.
1. Think Mobile First
The best websites are designed with responsiveness as a primary consideration. Designing for various devices requires planning around the User Interface (UI) - or planning around how people will move through your site on a device. Make it easy to navigate with the creative use of menus and keep in mind that some effects may not translate to all devices, like hover states.
An often overlooked aspect of managing responsive content is the amount of content on the site in relation to screen size. Screen sizes are smaller on mobile, impacting both the visual display of the information as well as how much users can comfortably "digest". Don't be afraid to dial back on the length - your users will thank you for it.
Just as important as the amount of content is the time it takes to load that content. Pay attention to your page load times. Even though wireless data networks continue to move faster, spots with lower signals or higher traffic could cause your page to load so slowly that users give up before even getting to your site.
2. Optimize for Local Search
For businesses looking to draw customers centered around specific locations, this is a big one. Make sure your name, address and phone number are in HTML and not an image. If they are set in an image, they aren’t indexable by search engine spiders.
Using this information, you can then develop a strategy that targets people based around your geography, helping level the playing field against much larger players in your industry. Finally, don't forget to set up "click-to-call." This functionality allows your users to tap an onscreen icon that dials automatically.
When it comes to social media, make sure you have icons for both content sharing and following. As you generate remarkable content, people are going to want to share that content. Shared content has great organic search engine ranking benefits and you want to make sure you’re taking advantage of that every chance you get, whether on desktop, mobile or tablet platforms.
Speaking of content, make sure that every piece of content you are releasing is remarkable. As Seth Godin has explained, it needs to actually be worth sharing. If you’re struggling to develop great content, consider reaching out to a content marketing firm that specializes in creating remarkable content. And remember - after you’ve created all that great remarkable content, don’t forget to reward those fans who helped you along the way.
4. Brilliance in the (SEO) Basics
All of this talk about about optimization is a waste if you don't have "brilliance in the basics". What do I mean by that? You still need solid keyword research and a strategy for implementation. Don’t forget your H1-6 tags and title tags. And, even though it may not be considered in ranking, make sure you take the time to create a proper meta tags. Those meta tags can make or break whether you’re site is clicked on when you do land in those top three spots.
You also need to make sure that your team has properly configured your robots.txt and domain. Also make sure a proper .xml sitemap set up. If the site can’t be crawled for indexing, all of the other efforts you’ve put into developing a great site will be wasted.
After you’ve set all of this up it’s time to start monitoring your site for performance. Many sites are perfectly fine with a Google Analytics integration but many of our clients find that an advanced analytics platform is helpful, such as HubSpot. Don’t be afraid to dig into the data to see how bounce times differ from mobile to desktop, which pages perform better on one platform over the other and how the time spent on each page differs across platforms as well.
One last thing - remember, we said we had 5.5 tips to share with you. While we’re calling this a bonus tip, it’s really something you should always keep in mind when working on SEO, regardless of whether it’s desktop, mobile or otherwise related.
Bonus Tip: Forget about Google
Give users what they want.
Google’s success as a business rides on its ability to give us what we are looking for based on our search query. This really comes into play when it’s poorly written or submitted as a specific query such as, “Should I fry chicken in peanut oil or canola oil?” (apparently peanut oil is preferred). The newest algorithm updates are especially taking this into consideration for mobile.
Using this info, be sure to monitor your site continually and make course corrections as necessary using your analytics to help inform your content strategy. Don’t be afraid to do a little testing now and again. Sometimes, something as small as a form adjustment or menu reconfiguration can dramatically affect user engagement.