SEO: Mobile Practices

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 01, 2016

Mobile users now account for the majority of online activity, making them an essential and sometimes more difficult audience to reach than their desktop counterparts. While mobile, people use a variety of devices, including smartphones and tablets, for different reasons than their counterparts at home or in the office. To capture your share of the mobile audience, you need to employ SEO practices that will get your noticed in mobile search results. To attract mobile traffic and good page rank, you must consider the design, structure, and speed of your site so you can make mobile users feel at home. The following tactics can help you supercharge your SEO effort to get your message in front of mobile users who you need to become part of your customer base.

Page Load Speed

Despite often having small devices and slow Internet connections, mobile users expect to get the information they need when they need it. They usually don’t have the time or patience to wait for bloated web pages to load. Also, mobile searches can have contextual relevance based on user location and activity, so pages can quickly become irrelevant if they do not quickly load. In deference to the needs of mobile users, page speed has become an important search engine metric. To make sure mobile users get to see your website, you can use some proven tactics:

• Image Optimization. Make sure you compress your images, so they load faster, improving page load time.

• Minification. When you minify the code for your site, you mobile browsers can load it faster.

• Browser Caching. By storing common elements of your site in the browser cache, you reduce the time needed to display your content.

Use Mobile Site Design and Dynamic Content

Google favors websites built with responsive designs because they deliver a consistent user experience regardless of the platform, from a single URL. For responsive website designs to work, you must have dynamic content enabled, so your site can automatically adjust to mobile platforms. If you have previously blocked dynamic content to optimize the desktop experience, now is a good time to implement a responsive mobile website configuration.

Use HTML5

Some mobile platforms do not support Flash, so design your site using HTML5 instead. HTML5 code gives you access to many impressive design effects and features without requiring a third-party plugin.

Avoid Popup Windows

Mobile users can have difficulty closing popup windows, causing high bounce rates that will bury your pages in the SERPS. Instead, use a minimal design and engaging content to captivate your audience.

Leave Space for Fingers

When you design your website, make sure you leave plenty of space surrounding your links, to make your site easy to navigate using mobile browsers. Also, keep your links away from areas mobile users will likely use to scroll, so users can finish reading your page without accidentally visiting another page or website before getting the information they need. Most mobile users use their fingers, not a pen or mouse pointer, to navigate the online world, opening the door to frustration when they try to tap a link or icon and get an undesired result. When people can quickly find the information they want, they will be more likely to return and recommend your site to others.

Use Concise Page Titles and Descriptions

Mobile screens have limited real estate, so you want to make sure mobile search results contain powerful, concise language that won’t get cut off due to device limitations. To get an idea of how your site appears in SERPs, try searching by accessing the major search engines via popular mobile Web browsers and dedicated search engine apps.

Use Structured Data

Maximize the impression users get from mobile searches by using structured data as defined by schema.org. You can create rich snippets that customize the way your site displays in search results to make your site stand out. When your site looks attractive in SERPs, you will have an easy time attracting mobile traffic to your site.

While applying the above mobile SEO practices to your site, stay alert to new trends that can help direct your development effort. Right now, mobile users rule, so you can win big by serving them with a user experience that meets their needs.