Search engine optimization (SEO) is becoming increasingly dependent upon accessibility to all devices. This is, in part, because access on mobile devices has increased exponentially over the last few years. Many sites have noticed that their incoming traffic is increasingly on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets – sometimes as much as 50% or more! Almost half of all Google traffic is mobile. Nearly a quarter of online sales last Christmas came from people who were on smartphones or tablets. More than three-quarters of Americans use their mobile devices while they are watching television.
For this reason, it is imperative that a business site is optimized for both desktop and mobile access. Google, in particular, has begun penalizing sites that are not “mobile-friendly” by docking their ranking in relation to similar sites that are mobile-friendly. In addition, Google now adds a notation by those sites that are adjustable to mobile screens when the search is executed on a mobile device.
There are tools available for improving optimization, and making a site mobile-friendly at the same time. Google offers a couple tools that will aid in this endeavor.
- Google Page Speed Insights, which allows a user to test the speed of a site on both desktop and mobile devices. This tool will highlight elements that may result in a slower load time and those which will be exacerbated on a mobile device.
- Google Mobile-Friendly Test, which checks usability and viewing factors and reports back on what it perceives as a detriment to potential visitors, and, for most of them, how to fix them.
Some of the things to focus on when creating or editing a website to improve SEO and mobility include:
- Speed. As mentioned above, speed is very important. If a site loads too slowly, visitors will often not wait to see the site, but will find a faster site instead.
- Redirects. Many sites use redirects based on the device being used to send mobile viewers to a mobile-optimized version of the site and desktop visitors to a desktop-optimized version of the site. If the redirects are working incorrectly, sending desktop viewers to the mobile version, and vice versa, this creates an unpleasant experience and will cause visitors to associate the site with an unprofessional feel.
- Content. Not all devices support the commonly used video or other media formats. Using universally supported formats will provide a better mobile experience.
- App Ads. If the site has an app available, it is fine to advertise that within the content or with a reasonably sized ad, but Google penalizes sites that block the content with a full screen ad for the app.
As always, quality content and intuitive navigation are primary concerns in search engine optimization and mobile SEO, no matter the category of a site.