For small and medium business, mobile search presence is a relatively untapped marketing strategy – especially for those who have brick and mortar locations. More than anything, the mobile is one of the fastest growing search platforms in the world. Mobile optimisation techniques are also more sophisticated than ever.
To get yourself a piece of the market, you would want to make sure that your website and your business strategies are mobile-friendly. How do you optimise for mobile friendliness? Here are some of the most important factors.
Why Do I Need a Mobile-Friendly Website?
You might be asking yourself, why should I care about mobile users? Here are the cold-hard facts.
Mobile users are currently accounting for 15.3 Million smartphone users in Australia during the third quarter for 2015, with an additional 11.2 Million tablet users. A lot of searches on mobile devices boil down to wanting to buy something, otherwise known as commercial intent.
The thing about the prevalence of stronger commercial intent on mobile phones is that people tend to have problems most of the time and they do not have immediate access to their desktops. This translates well into quick action, and people will reach for their smartphones to look for the answer or do a purchase.
This is the very reason that near me results have exploded by 150% between 2015 to 2017. Mobile search users have local intent because the integration of GPS navigation software like Google and Apple Maps allows anyone on the go to find places that carry the products people need.
Finally, Google is currently developing further efforts to build their lucrative mobile network. As they are trying to reflect user behavioural trends, there’s a possibility that mobile-first indexing for SEO can further make the value of mobile site behaviour even more important when it comes to SERP visibility.
Factors Important to Mobile Optimisation
Now that you know how groundbreaking the mobile device has become for the search engine landscape, there’s a few factors that you can optimise to make the most out of your customer’s brand experience. These factors can be found on any successful mobile site platform and they improve on the chances that your domain becomes more popular.
Simple Text Readability
The first complaints that our team takes care of when it comes to responsive design is text readability. Your site should have easily readable text that does not require zooming and horizontal scrolling.
Proper mobile site design requires a smart UX consisting of only up or down scrolling only whilst keeping the content readable. The text overflow should look great and smooth. The frames should not overlap or obstruct any of the content once it adjusts.
Whilst responsive design takes care of this, always remember that mobile users have a lot of options other than you and any delay from letting them consume your content is a big red flag.
No Obtrusive Ads
A lot of people dislike ads in their content, and this is especially true with the mobile search landscape where up to 70% of people note their dislike for it. The real estate of the screen in many mobile devices is already limited as it is, so any advertising that is obstructive to UX can increase bounce rate.
Smart ad placement is important in a mobile website, making sure that there’s as few pop-ups as possible. It would also be in your best interest to follow the Initial Better Ads Standards to get the best ascribed placement for any display network ads.
Quick Page Load Speeds
Page load speed is a ranking factor. We’ve discussed this in a lot of our former articles and we’ve always stressed the fact that, at the very least, your site should load in less than 3 seconds. This is the same mantra for smartphones and tablets.
Not only does page load times affect your overall SEO ranking but it also lends to the increase or decrease in bounce rates. Since mobile users are expecting quick and easy pain relief for their problems, any site that cannot provide that quickly enough can expect a significant drop in customer engagement and commercial intent.
To improve page load speeds, you may want to reduce the number of plugins on your page or use the protocols from Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP).
Easy to Click, Designed for Fat Fingers
I personally hate sites that are hard to click on mobile (except TVTropes because they’re awesome). I have big fingers and that’s problematic.
The same is true for many people who like browsing around with their phones, so it’s important to make sure that buttons are big enough. You would also want to make sure that link preview is enabled for your users’ convenience.
The truth of the matter is that a lot of users who have clumsy fingers, and something as easy to click online as a navigation button, drop down menu or even a radio button is a lingering frustration to users. Make sure they work properly with touch devices.
Fully Compatible Images and Videos
Images and videos are the staple elements of mobile websites. From memes to news to product demos, your site should provide people the ability to watch a responsive video that loads at the size of their current width – be it portrait or landscape.
Responsive videos and images have been an old frustration, but these days it should be a norm that everything works fine in your page.
Videos that are not compatible to modern browsers or require older plugins like Flash should be updated or purged to prevent any possibility of UX inconvenience to your users.
Optimised for Local Intent
If your business has a local address, you would want to make sure that your mobile site is designed with local SEO in mind. There’s a number of ways to do this, but the easiest way is to make sure that your company name, address and phone number (NAP) and other contact details are uniform all around.
Make sure that you have map entries on sites like Google Maps and other directories, then make sure to copy paste this address information from Google My Business to your contact pages.
If possible, add your locale to the title tags and meta description to optimise for local keywords. Include your city name, state/province name and ZIP/post code in your site metadata.
SEO Ready Copy
As with any website, make sure that your pages are optimised to show to your SERPs that you are worth sending their visitors to. Use titles as specific and concise as possible, whilst use the meta description to create a branded, long-tail keyword rich phrase together with your NAP.
Control the word density of your pages and make sure to put anchor texts in ample spaces away from each other. Don’t use your keywords as anchor texts for other websites, but rather use synonymous secondary LSI keywords.
Utilise related phrases for your website as much as you can.
Intuitive User Experience
An intuitive user interface, amongst others, is one of the most valuable factors to keep users long-term. Google’s mobile-friendly test is accurate only up to the point that it checks for core functionality and display function.
You would want to make sure the flow is funnelled properly to your landing pages. Sit down and make sure to use good colours – branded or otherwise, and review the design to make sure that your users are comfortable when they browse on your site.
Always remember to prioritise user experience and function but strike a balance with appeal.
Do You Really Need a Mobile-Friendly Site?
A mobile optimised site is a site that converts nicely. If you do things right, you can expect a strong boost in your visitors and a reduction in your bounce rate due to people enjoying the overall experience of browsing your site.
Optimising for local SEO and making sure that customers can properly utilise your site on their mobile when they need it can provide a strong turn-around and a loyal following due to its reliability. Mobile friendly is a step into the right direction.