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Why mobile SEO needs to be your new best friend!

Google recently produced some research that suggested mobile searchers have a higher buyer intent. They are much more likely to buy from a search done via their phone, than from a browser search. This may be because mobile phones have become a part of everyday life. They are an instant gateway to any question a user may have, and more importantly for a business, any purchase they may want. These users should be the ones you are trying to attract and mobile SEO needs to be your new best friend.

You need to first make sure that your site is visible to these mobile searchers. Luckily, Google has now switched to a mobile-first index, which means that the spiders are indexing the mobile versions of websites, not the desktop ones as was previously the case. When you’re doing a search on a laptop or desktop, the results are based on Google’s mobile index.

In this article, we look at how you can successfully make mobile SEO part of your marketing strategy, ensuring you make your mobile site is optimised to the maximum and you achieve results! 1. Comparing Mobile SEO vs. Desktop SEO The goals of these two approaches are usually the same, with content being the major focus. User experience is also paramount as you need to ensure users can easily navigate your content and find what they need quickly. One of the main differences is, however, that with desktop SEO there’s generally no geographical focus, whereas with mobile SEO is mostly about the local search. Google knows your location when you search via a mobile device. 2. Responsive Site & Content It is definitely important to have, as Google recommends, a responsive site. You need your site to play nicely with the mobile spiders. Code needs to be written so that the site structure is fluid. Even though it is just one site, it needs to adust to look one way on your mobile site and another on the desktop version. Most sites are originally designed purely for desktop users however it would be a good plan to flip this and think about mobile users first! Look at how aspects such as layout, graphics, videos, or content creation will look for the mobile user and make sure they work well here first. If you need any more convincing about how important this is, check your Google Analytics. Most sites get up to 80% more mobile traffic than desktop. Make sure you understand how responsive code works, and you are not just relying on it to rearrange contents for you. Learning CSS is a good plan and isn’t that complex to master. 3. Understanding the Technical Aspects of Mobile SEO Always start with the title tags, H1 headings, content, image alt text, URLs, and meta descriptions when optimising SEO on a page, just as you would when doing your desktop site. You should put a special focus on your title tags and meta descriptions as these will be a lot shorter on mobile search results. Make sure these truncated versions are more concise and compelling as you need to make the best impression on your mobile searcher and have a lot less wording to do so. A trap that some can fall into is to block CSS or JavaScript. Don’t. It used to be commonplace to block CSS or JavaScript because older devices didn’t support them, so less code ensured faster load speeds. Now, Google’s spiders want to crawl your site as humans see it. And if CSS and JavaScript are blocked, Google can’t see what your page actually looks like, so you might experience visibility problems. Pop-ups on a mobile site are also a no no. They are incredibly annoying to the searcher. They are likely to feel frustrated and leave the site. Using schema markup is also a good idea, and if you manage to get a rich snippet in search results, you’re even more likely to stand out when people are searching for you. Never use Flash on your website! Use HTML5 instead if you want your site to have animations or special effects.

4. User Experience is critical

User experience is critical to success because of how convenient it is to search on a mobile device. So what should you optimise to ensure they have a positive visit to your site? Start with click size. Any clickable area, whether it be a menu button or shopping basket icon, needs to be large enough for finger taps. The distance between clicks is also important. Too close and your user will get frustrated when they can’t click what they’re trying to click. Say bye-bye to most frustrated users! Conversion lost. Any contact numbers need to be visible with a click to call link coded. It will be another potential frustration if the user cannot click to call. Make it easy for them to call you, not leave your site frustrated! Mobile menus need to be easy to navigate, or again you risk the customer leaving your site to find one that is easier to find what they are looking for. Forms are another aspect to pay attention to as they need to sit well on the screen and be easy to use. If the fields are too small, it’s tough to click them to select them. You also need to make sure there is an option of keyboards for forms. If a user needs to type in their name, the standard keyboard is fine, however, if they need to type in a phone number, set that field to pull up the number keypad instead of the standard keyboard. This simple code change will drastically influence the number of form completions you’ll see on mobile. Another part of the user experience will be the font. If you take a look at your mobile site, is the font easy to read? It isn’t a good idea to use a small font just to squeeze in more content for example. Being easy to read is way more important. Images also need to be thought about. Use your website code to serve up different images based on screen size. 5. Mobile Site Speed Google uses page load speed as a ranking factor. Now that they are using a mobile-first algorithm we need to pay attention to it. Aside from helping your rankings, a speedy loading will no doubt help convert searchers into customers. You can use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool for suggestions on how to speed up your mobile site, but you will need to use other speed testing tools in order to determine your own loading time. We have some tips here on how we suggest you can get your site loading faster than ever: Quality hosting is essential. Make sure your host is optimised for fast performance.

Test your naked load speed (without any plugins). If this is much faster maybe address which plugins are slowing you down.

Optimise images before loading. For example, you could convert a 3-megabyte PNG file to a 210-kilobyte jpg image that looks the same on your users’ screens. If you do this with every image on your site, the loading speed could be drastically reduced.

Too many direct can slow down your site. Only use if absolutely necessary.

Optimise your site code by making sure your HTML, CSS, and Javascript are clean. Minify the code to compress the files and reduce file size.

Use site caching, so that your browser will remember the site in its final configuration. That way, it can simply display the page without having to load the HTML, apply the CSS, load the images, and then fire off the JavaScript.

CDN stands for Content Delivery Network, and it’s a collection of geographically different locations that serve your content. When a page is requested, its assets are served by the CDN server that’s closest to the user’s location. This is important to use. 6. AMP, Apps and PWA AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. They are created with special coding language that is based on a stripped-down version of HTML and CSS and loads almost instantly.

However AMPs are not an option for all business because they do not look as visually appealing as fully designed pages, so they tend to be mainly for news sites.

For a fast, streamlined user experience, consider an app instead. You will have to get approved by the App Store or Google Play first, but a good halfway house is a PWA. This is a hybrid of a mobile website and an app. You can download it directly from your browser without going to the App Store (or worrying about App Store approval). It functions basically like a mobile website but looks like an app on the user’s device. There’s also a newer hybrid combo of PWAs and AMP, commonly called PWAMP, which are progressive web apps built on AMP pages. Any of these options should help your loading speed depending upon your type of business. Make sure you choose the most useful one for you.

7. Local SEO needs to be your best friend

A recent Google study showed that 76% of users who searched for something nearby visited a related business within 24 hours of searching and 28% of those visits resulted in a sale. Google knows you’re searching from a mobile device, and if that search has anything to do with local businesses, it’s going to show localised results. Therefore make sure your content is localised and your city is mentioned (be sure not to keyword stuff). Another good way of achieving this is by writing some locally-focused blog posts – they allow you to talk about specific information about the local area. NAP stands for name, address, and phone number. Make sure that your NAP information is displayed on every page of your site and your phone number is click to call. Make sure this information is marked up with Local Business schema – a type of code that shows Google that you’re a local business. Be sure to include your location keyword phrase in your title tag, in your H1, and in your image alt text and include your location keyword in your meta description. This won’t help you with ranking, but since it appears under your blue link when you show up as a search result, it’s helpful to include the location info to boost the likelihood of a clickthrough. If you don’t already, start targeting links from local businesses. Google’s local algorithm values links from local businesses, even if the authority metrics are lower than what you’re used to seeing. Citations are also very important. These are mentions of your NAP information on other websites. Basically, they’re your directory listings. Google expects to see the same NAP listed every time it sees your information on another site. In conclusion, now that mobile phones have become an integral part of our everyday life, hopefully, you now have the tools to make sure your mobile site is at the forefront of your SEO strategy!

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