If you don’t have stepped up towards mobile SEO, perhaps it’s not too late yet. Seeing the radical increase in number of mobile shoppers over last 5 years, it is quite easy to say that mobile shopping is on fire. Mobile is the future marketplace and supposed to grow even faster in upcoming years, thanks to smartphone evolution.
If you have been ignoring mobile web, it’s surely the right time to revamp your online strategies and include smartphones and mobile devices in it. Here are few most important points you should consider for better future of your online business through a mobile optimized website.
1 – Three types of mobile optimized websites and the one that Google suggests
When building a website intended for smart phones and mobile devices, Google supports three types of configurations.
In responsive mobile website design, everything in a website stay the same as that in desktop version. Pages implement same HTML and same URL for different devices while layouts and component sizes are re-arranged automatically according to screen size using CSS.
Dynamic content serving website:
This model identifies whether the browsing device is mobile or desktop by reading the user agent specified in HTTP header. The URL still stay the same but HTML and CSS is fetched differently according to the type of device.
Separate mobile website:
If you have a too heavy website to be responsive for mobile devices, a separate mobile site is preferable option for you. All you have to do is to have two separate websites, one for mobile and another for desktop. Mobile site would have mobile specific design and smaller
components while desktop site will use desktop specific design and larger elements.
Based on the application, each of them could be preferable for different kind of websites. But till the date Google has been recommending responsive website design.
2 – Leverage smartphone specific features
You can implement smartphone specific features in your website which come into play when users are fetching your website from mobile devices. It will improve your site’s CTR and conversion ratio.
- You can offer automatic dialing of phone number when user click on the contact number displayed in header of the website.
- You can avail digital discount coupons through SMS which they can redeem when making real purchase at your store.
- You can also facilitate users with the functionality that automatically suggests nearest store location using GPS in user device.
In Google’s words, you should “brainstorm new ways to improve user experience”. Provide additional facilities by making use of user device camera, GPS, accelerometer etc. Offer intuitive/fun functionalities for swiping, shaking and tapping actions.
3 – Optimize the content
Just like SEO, mobile SEO also has a lot to do with content. You must optimize your website content for local searches to increase its local visibility. Inject local keywords into content wherever it is possible and it looks naturally relevant.
Use your content to promote your website but do not forget the value matters. You might get successful in attracting visitors to your site but over long terms, usability of the content will affect SEO a lot.
Ensure clear layouts, easy navigation and big buttons suitable for users’ fingers as mobile devices doesn’t have cursors for surfing the web.
4 – Flourish the user experience
While Google and major search engines are moving towards better web experience, it is also assured strategy for better online business to engage users with user-friendly features. Some of most important things to implement are,
- Label all form controls appropriately.
- Arrange tabs in logical order.
- Keep URLs as short as possible.
- Don’t use pop-ups.
- Have minimum number of links on page. Due to limitations of screen size, mobile users find too much links to be inconvenient.
- Ensure that written text has optimal contrast with background color &
- Avoid frames.
5 – Reduce the site loading time
Minimize coding, Use cache to load pages faster, Use CSS3 instead of images, avoid landing page redirects and tweak every facet of your website that can reduce its loading speed. But remember, don’t try do it too much, user experience is also important for your website.
6 – Play safer. Consider DON’Ts.
Though optimizing the user experience is vital, you must ensure that your effort towards that doesn’t fall on its head. Google advices about some common mobile SEO mistakes webmasters do while mobile optimizing websites. All in all, ensure you perform following steps for mobile optimization,
- Use HTML5 to embed videos in content while do not use video formats like Flash which are not playable on all mobile devices.
- Avoid faulty redirects. This generally happens with dynamically served websites. For example, your user requests an inner page from his mobile device and your website redirects him to the homepage in mobile site as configured in server.
- Some websites provide a specific content when requested from desktop while display an error when the same content is requested from a mobile device. Google call it smartphone only 404s, which you should avoid.
- Don’t promote your mobile apps with app download interstitial and pop-ups. Instead, use simple banner images to promote your app.
- When you are serving users with smartphone specific URLs make sure you link to original desktop site from your page and vice versa, link to your mobile site from your desktop site. Make sure you link to the same page instead of a wrong one that is intended for another purpose.
- Optimize page speed.
7 – Test, analyze and re-analyze
After your all actions have converted into actual work, ensure that quality is not leftover with it. Implement quality tests with your own webmasters and with actual users. Conduct open-ended surveys and identify weak points.
A good way to identify strengths and weak points of your website is to analyze actual traffic using Google Analytics. Analyze pages for bounce rates and engagability, trace user click-throughs & identify emerging funnels. Determine common user workflow with Google visitors workflow and investigate mobile search queries using Google webmaster tools.
Finally, find some good resources to stay in tune with latest trends and keep updating your site with interesting content and features. If you can’t do it yourself, get mobile SEO professionals to help you build a future-ready mobile website.