Search Engine Optimization has always been one of the key areas for every business on the internet. Taking the legacy one step ahead, from “Desktop SEO” to “Mobile SEO”; it is now inevitable for every business online to make their website mobile friendly.
What is Mobile SEO?
Mobile Search Engine Optimization (Mobile SEO) is a process of optimizing a website to gain rankings for queries coming from mobile devices in search engine. Just like desktop SEO, mobile SEO will help the website to rank higher when the search is conducted through a mobile device.
Mobile SEO will help a user/customer to find websites that are compatible to their device. They won’t have to take a pain of checking website that are non-responsive and zooming it to read the content.
The main focus will be on improving website loading speed, content visibility without the need for manual resizing, and easy navigation.
How did it evolve?
In 2015, Google announced its new ranking update for mobile search which was nicknamed as “Mobilegeddon” by Search Engine Watch. On 21st April, the update started to roll out and show its effect on the internet. Some website could directly feel the heat losing up to 35% of rankings in just one month.
The winners were those who pre-empted the move and made their website more mobile-friendly. The number was roughly 4.7% between the time it was announced and the roll out.
Following the footsteps, Bing also announced to bring a similar update. The fact of the matter is; if a website is well optimized for Google mobile search, high chances are there for it to perform well in Bing as well.
In May 2016, a newer version of Google’s mobile-friendly update was released which further affected the way results were displayed.
In March 2018, Google rolled out mobile-first index which started giving primary importance to mobile version than the desktop version.
Desktop SEO vs. Mobile SEO
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the need of the hour. A business cannot risk its market presence by not investing in SEO.
Doing Mobile SEO is little different from that of Desktop SEO. Let us look at how different it is:
Now the businesses will know how different it is and the quantum of differential efforts would be required to get the particular business ranking.
What are the Best Mobile SEO Practices?
When optimizing your website, here are the few things that can be focused for a better outcome:
Page speed is one of the most important parameters especially with businesses whose focus is not just metropolitan or cosmopolitan cities. Wireless connectivity issues are higher in rural areas, so page speed is of higher importance for mobile than desktop. Just image optimization will not solve the problem but minifying CSS & JS code, leveraging browser cache, reducing redirects, decreasing number of queries from 3rd party website, etc. are some other parameters to be looked after.
In olden days when mobile couldn’t provide a good web support, one or all the elements were kept off but unlike past, keeping it on will help the optimization as Google will be able to gauge if your website is mobile-friendly or not.
Website design for mobile
Say No to Flash: Not all plug-in especially Flash Player will be available on the mobile phone. If you still wish to create a magical effect, use HTML5 to create that magical effect.
No-No for Pop-Ups: Pop’s have always been an irritating invention and now with most of the users having popup blockers installed, it is important to avoid using such functionality. Even if the blocker is turned off, there are high chances the user might leave the website result in both; loss of customer and increased bounce rate.
Big fat fingers are usual now: The buttons on the website should be big enough so that no two buttons are pressed together accidentally by a user having fat fingers. They should not be too big either to block the content.
Optimization of Title Tag and Meta description: The Title and Meta tag should be as lucrative as possible because you have to stand out even in smaller screen size.
Using Schema.org Structured Data: Due to less screen size and lesser available space, rich looking snippets will have a better impact as compared to desktop.
Mobile Site Configuration: Perhaps the most important decision to be taken is what kind of website you have; Responsive or a Separate site configuration for mobile device.
It is always recommended to have a responsive website that fits to each & every screen resolution perfectly, as same content and URL is being served to all users; regardless of type of device they browse from. And technically, you have to do SEO for a single URL only, unlike in separate mobile site.
What are the benefits of optimizing website?
When we go out in public, we see people on their phone either they are looking for something or they are social upbeat on various mediums. While desktop which was used only for web browsing, mobile has given that power in hands of consumers to do much more on the internet.
According to PEW Research Center report, 2/3rd of Americans are now own Smartphone’s that they regularly use for meeting their social and personal needs.
To cater to a large chunk of customer who uses their mobile phones for surfing the internet, companies have shifted their focus towards providing customers with a responsive and mobile-friendly website to suit their smartphone display. There are other reasons as well to push website owners to shift their focus to a mobile SEO.
More Users = More Business
The number of mobile users is increasing exorbitantly with mobile manufacturing companies launching new models every week and the regular updates are the cherry on the top which to a certain extent has eliminated the use of desktop and laptop for searching.
According to a study conducted by Hit wise, off the total number of searches, 58% of them are conducted on mobile phones and only 42% share rests with desktops. While the difference in the number of queries searched on both the mediums, 27.8 billion more queries were performed on mobile.
With more number of users opting for mobile devices, it is clear that more business will come to those who focus on websites that are optimized for mobile phones.
Improved User Experience and Engagement
No user would feel comfortable using the desktop version of a website on their smartphone. According to a research by Nielsen Norman Group, websites that are optimized for mobile usage significantly improve user experience and satisfaction which creates a positive impact on the user experience and engagement.
With location tracking technology turned on, high chances of business within the proximity to be ranked higher on the business page and local directories. This adds into increasing user experience and engagement.
Improved SEO Performance
A mobile-friendly website will perform the task better and be ranked higher on search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing etc. This also allows a placement growth in traffic through ranks and local directories.
Increased Page Loading Speed
Mobile-friendly websites are optimized for speed which means the user can now do more surfing while spending less time on the internet. This will also reduce the bounce rate as the user would want to surf for more information and spend more time on the website.
Use it Anytime, Anywhere
With the improving network connectivity and cheaper internet packages, users tend to search anytime and anywhere from their mobile devices. The newer technology gives the power in hands of business to target their customers 24/7 which was previously limited to the time when they were on their desktop.
A mobile-friendly website will speak for itself. It will let users be overwhelmed with a smoother interface and to the point information that will result in customer delight. Together, when many such users will be delighted, it will create a Brand Identity for itself that the users will be able to connect with; Actions speak louder than words!
Mobile Advertising is one profit center in itself. Brands tend to spend a lot of money on Advertising campaigns and with mobile optimization; this ads will be reaching a better target audience and will be more relevant. This will provide more optimal results and a higher ROI.
A Bridge Between Online and Offline Media
Mobile devices have the ability to integrate the online and offline media through the use of QR codes. The codes can be scanned on mobile and can be used for advertising purpose which has gained a good market in Japanese and European markets and is gradually setting its foot into the American market. This can also be used as a push strategy where a purchase can be made using QR codes from Billboards, Posters or any other type of advertisement material. Integrating the print and the web media, through the means of mobile will add a new dimension to the outreach of effect and the communication method.
Mobile Presence – Inevitability
With the consumer base shifting its medium of usage for surfing from desktop to mobile devices, it has become inevitable for businesses to make their presence felt with a mobile-friendly website. The time isn’t far away when mobile devices will completely take over the desktop user market with hardly few of them using a desktop for surfing purpose.
A Cost Effective and Flexible Option
An optimized mobile website is a better way to tap user who prefers to surf on their mobile rather than creating an mobile application which is different for each operating systems. Creating an app is a costly affair plus getting downloads and keep the users engaged that they hold on to the app and keep it installed.
While the mobile technology is witnessing a dynamic changing nature, similar has been witnessed in the consumer behavior when looking for the required information. Mobile SEO is the future now and is posting a tough challenger to marketers. The only thing that remains constant is to make it in such a way that crawlers can access, read, and understand the content the way you want. Also, ensuring best user experience regardless of the device used with constant testing will be of a significant importance.