SEO 101: An introduction to mobile SEO

In light of Google’s recent announcement that it will be moving towards a mobile-first future, it’s time for you to take a long hard look at your mobile site. So prepare yourself for mobile-first indexing with our beginner’s guide to mobile SEO. Here, we’ll cover all the basics of mobile search so you can get ready for the big changes coming.

The importance of mobile SEO

According to Smart Insights, mobile SEO is “the search engine optimisation of websites combined with flawless viewing on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets”. Thanks to the increasing boom of portable devices, users are shifting to smartphones as their primary device for access to the internet.

In fact, with 58% of all searches in Google now completed from a mobile device, it has become the preferred method for surfing the internet. So what does this tell us? It tells us that if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that mobile is here to stay. Therefore as a business, you cannot afford to ignore mobile site users any longer.

Optimising your mobile site

First and foremost, you need to make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Start by seeing if it passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. The tool will also give you an overview of any problems your site has and how you can fix them. If your website passes, congratulations – you can proceed to optimise your site further.

Top tip: Google judges mobile-friendliness on a page-by-page basis rather than across an entire website, so if you have limited resources, it’s best to start by making your most valuable pages mobile-friendly first and branching out from there.

Mobile SEO best practices

The main aim of mobile SEO is make sure your site shows up in Google’s search results. According to Google, “mobile pages that provide a poor searcher experience can be demoted in rankings or displayed with a warning in mobile search results”.

Google itself is telling us that mobile-friendly sites that focus on the user experience will see improved search engine performance. Following mobile SEO best practices will also help you see:

  • More website traffic
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Increased time spent on your website
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Competitive market advantages
  • More customer engagement

So here’s what you need to do to ensure your site is mobile-friendly:

1. Responsive design

It goes without saying that a responsive design is crucial. So if you want to rank on Google, your website needs to give your customers the best user experience possible, and that all starts with a responsive design.

By definition, responsive design is when a website is designed to show its content according to device screen site. Having a responsive design will provide a great user experience and also make the crawling process easier for Google. The two best ways to give your visitors the best experience possible are:

  1. Optimise the layout of your content – I.e. move some things around, make some things bigger and not have as many columns
  2. Adapt the content that’s shown – I.e. have differing content presented to people in different screen viewing circumstances

2. Page speed

Mobile users on average spend less time waiting to load websites. In fact, if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of visitors will leave. Furthermore, 80% of those visitors will never return to that website. So if you want to improve user experience, drive traffic and move up in the Google ranks, you need to improve your page’s loading speed and you need to improve it now.

With Google’s “Speed Update” now upon us, there’s never been a better time than the present to improve your page loading times. This month onwards, page speed will be a determining factor in your mobile ranking, so you need to make sure your site is fast-loading, lightweight and efficiently opens in just a second or two.

Start by checking your average download time through Google’s Page Speed Tool and then engage with a digital agency like Bang to fix any delaying errors you find.

3. Give GoogleBots access  

It makes sense – if Google cannot fully crawl your page, then it will not be able to determine if it’s mobile-friendly. So you need to give its GoogleBots access to your site so Google can see if your site is responsive. You can check if you’re allowing GoogleBots access to everything by checking your robots.txt file.

4. Disable popups

You need to be aware of popups on your mobile site. These annoying interruptions (which are difficult to close on mobile devices) can destroy user experience and lead to high bounce rates – and Google hates them just as much as visitors. So while they may work on your desktop site, why devalue your amazing SEO content by hiding it behind popups?

5. Titles and meta descriptions

Since mobile devices have smaller screens, it’s important to keep your website’s information as concise and meaningful as possible when creating your titles and meta descriptions. So use keyword-rich content for best SEO results for these on-page factors.

6. Local SEO optimisation

Thanks to GPS, local businesses tend to get the most mobile traffic that turns into desktop traffic and sales. So take advantage of local searches by optimising your website by adding in your company’s name, address, phone numbers and call out actions.

Final thoughts

We’ll leave you with one final thought. When it comes to mobile SEO, key principles remain the same: allow crawlers to access, read and understand your content, ensure user experience is working well across all devices and keep testing and iterating for better results. Never stop working on your mobile SEO and improving your site’s mobile-friendliness. It takes time, but the results will be worth it when you see your rankings soar.

Want to improve your mobile SEO? Contact Bang Digital today. Our team of digital experts can help you improve user experience, page speed loading time and ultimately, achieve a higher ranking in the search results.