With the tremendous growth in smartphone usage, a large chunk of online traffic comes through mobile devices. Any website has to take this into account to offer the best experience to its users.
There are three primary options to mobile site configuration: separate site configuration, dynamic serving, and responsive. Of the three, Google recommends responsive design as the go-to method of choice. Responsive sites use the same URLs to serve all devices and uses CSS to alter how those pages are rendered across different devices.
This type of design keeps your users on a specific URL, making it easier for Google’s algorithms to assign indexing properties to site content and for users to interact with and share your site. Once you’ve decided to go the responsive design route, optimizing it for mobile is crucial. Why? Last year, Google announced that mobile search queries exceeded website queries. As a business, you can’t afford to not compete aggressively. The good news is, you can achieve better rankings without spending a fortune on search engine optimization. Here are a few simple ways you can increase mobile responsiveness for SEO.
Make Sure Your Website Speed is Among the Best
Your mobile page speed is even more important than your webpage speed, due to hardware and connectivity issues. The faster the speed, the better. According to Adobe, 39% of people will stop attempting to visit a site if it’s taking too long to load. Furthermore, Google algorithms take page speed into consideration and use it to rank pages. Quicker speed can help the page rank higher and convert better.
With a limited crawl budget, search engines aren’t able to crawl as many pages with slow speeds, resulting in a negative effect on your indexation. Slow page speed also affects the user experience and can lead to decreased time spent on the page and higher bounce rates. There are a few ways to increase page speed:
- Enable compression using Gzip to reduce the size of larger files
- Reduce the amount of redirects
- Use a content distribution network to give users quicker and more reliable access to your site
- Optimize images
Design with Mobile in Mind
What you have on your webpage may not apply to what works for mobile users. For example, the oft-used “above the fold” term doesn’t apply to mobile sites where users are accustomed to scrolling quickly. There are a handful of other design and layout tactics you’d normally use for web, but should avoid when creating a responsive site. For example, refrain from using Flash (opt for HTML5 instead) and pop-ups. Not all phones are equipped with Flash, and pop-ups can be difficult to remove and lead to higher bounce rates. Additionally, design your touch navigation screen for different-sized fingers and fluid movement.
Optimize Meta Descriptions & Titles
With limited screen space, it’s important to keep text relevant and concise when creating URLs, meta descriptions, and titles. Meta tags help provide search engines with information about a particular page, and the meta description appears under the URL. This description can also appear when you’re sharing your page across various social channels. A plugin like Yoast can help ensure you’ve have quality text. Include keywords in your description, but don’t keyword stuff.
Length is also important here: Keep descriptions between 135-160 characters, and keep keywords near the front. Any text beyond that will get chopped off on search engines. Lastly, meta descriptions should be unique from page to page. Google penalizes for mass duplicating these descriptions.
Optimize Your Site for Local Searches
If you’re a local business or have local elements, be sure to optimize content for local searches. There are a few ways to do this, including adding your city and state to the following areas:
- Title tag (this can dramatically change rankings)
- H1 Heading
- Alt tags
- Meta description
Additionally, perform a citation evaluation to ensure consistency in the business name and other details across all pages. Having a review page on your site will also be beneficial; add a page that ends in /reviews and make it easy for customers to leave reviews on that page. When you’re just launching your review page, focus on Google reviews before other review platforms.