Mobile SEO: Best Practices to Optimize Website for Mobile SEO


mobile seo optimization tips best practices

Mobile SEO makes sure that your website provides an amazing user experience to visitors who access it using mobile devices. In fact, Mobile SEO optimization is one of the most important On-site SEO techniques to improve search engine rankings for your website. Did you know that people spend over 4 hours every day on Mobile phones? If your website doesn’t look great on mobile devices, chances are you’re leaving money on the table.

 

What is Mobile SEO Optimization?

Most website don’t account for the different screen sizes of user devices and provide an inferior user experience such as slow load times and scrambled layout on mobile devices. Mobile SEO Optimization considers Mobile SEO ranking factors such as site design, site structure, load times and more to ensure that your website loads quickly and looks great on mobile devices, no matter what the screen size.

 

Tips & Best Practices for Mobile SEO Optimization

Here are some of the SEO tips & best practices you can think about when optimizing your website for mobile SEO. You can use them to understand how to optimize your website for mobile devices.

1. Page Speed

Since mobile devices are not as powerful as desktops, it’s important to pay more attention to page load speeds. Here are some of the ways to increase page speed for mobile devices:

  1. Optimize images for SEO
  2. Optimize videos for SEO. If you’re using YouTube videos, ensure you also do YouTube SEO to improve video search rankings for YouTube & Google.
  3. Minify code
  4. Reduce Redirects
  5. Use browser caching
  6. Create Accelerated Mobile Pages for your web pages

 

2. Don’t disable or block CSS, javascript, or images for mobile websites

Previously, some mobile devices couldn’t support CSS, Javascript & Images, so site developers & webmasters used to block these elements or hide them on mobile websites. Today’s mobile phones are more than capable of supporting them. Also, the Smartphone Googlebot wants to see the same content that human users do. So don’t hide any element on your mobile website. Also, it helps Google understand if your website is responsive, or if you have a separate mobile based website.

 

3. Design websites for mobile

Mobile optimized websites should provide a single column vertical layout that enables users to easily scroll down to read through your content.

Don’t Use Flash

Also, don’t use Flash as it may not be supported on all phones, out-of-the-box. No one will download additional plugins just to view your site, and this will spoil their user experience. Instead use HTML5 to create the same effects that you would otherwise provide using Flash.

Don’t display popups

Popups are annoying on websites, more so on mobile phones. It can be difficult & frustrating to close popups on mobile phones and this will result in high bounce rate.

 

Bonus Read: How to Reduce Bounce Rate in Google Analytics

 

Design website for fat finger

Touchscreen navigation can invariably lead to accidental clicks if your buttons are too small, or too big, or very close to the scroll bar. So design your website such that it’s easy to navigate on mobile devices.

 

4. Optimize Page Title and Meta Descriptions

Mobile devices offer less screen space when users perform searches on mobile phones. So ensure that your title, url and meta description are concise and to the point, so that google shows them fully in search results, and they’re not truncated instead. Also, ensure that you do SEO for Title Tags of your pages.

 

5. Use rich snippets to stand out

You can add rich snippets to your mobile web pages to help your website stand out in search results, using Schema.org structured data.

 

6. Local SEO Optimization

People use mobile phones to do a lot of local searches – to find nearest restaurant, cafe, ATM, banks, bus stop, etc. If you’re a local business, ensure that you optimize your mobile web pages and content for local SEO by using a standard name, address and phone number across your website, and including your city & state names in your website’s metadata.

Here’s our detailed step-by-step Complete Guide to do Local SEO Optimization for your business. Also, learn how to Add Your Business to Google Maps to optimize your business for local searches.

 

7. Use the right mobile site configuration

There are 3 ways to set up your mobile SEO optimized website. Your web pages can be responsive, dynamic serving or part of a separate mobile site altogether. Each mobile SEO technique has their pros & cons as shown below.

mobile seo site configuration pros and cons

Google prefers responsive websites but supports all 3 mobile site configurations as long as you set them up correctly.

Let’s look at each mobile SEO technique in detail

Responsive web design

Websites built using responsive web design principles use CSS3 media queries to automatically adapt the same content to mobile and desktop users, using a fluid-grid layout and flexible design. In this case, the web pages automatically adapt elements based on user’s screen size. Responsive designs define page elements and screen layouts based on screen width, orientation & resolution.

example of mobile seo responsive website design

Here’s a simple CSS3 media query to change the font size for screens with less than 420px width

@media screen and (max-width: 420px) {
     body {
     font-size:12px;
       }
}

Responsive Design makes it easy to adapt your website to any mobile device whether it has a tiny screen, or it’s a large tablet. You can also use a Responsive Design Testing Tool to test how your website looks on different screen sizes.

 

Dynamic Serving

If you don’t want to redesign your entire website but only a few key pages such as home page, about us, etc. then you can also use a single URL to display different HTML and CSS elements based on the user’s device (also known as user agent). For example, if you’re restaurant, you can use dynamic serving method to display only restaurant reviews and map to mobile visitors, instead of your full website. You can achieve dynamic serving a “vary” HTTP header as shown below

GET /page-1 HTTP/1.1
Host: www.example.com
(...rest of HTTP request headers...)
HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Content-Type: text/html
Vary: User-Agent
Content-Length: 5710
(... rest of HTTP response headers...)

Dynamic Serving enables you to dynamically serve different content to mobile & desktop users, based on their user agent. One problem with this mobile SEO technique is that user’s browser needs to correctly detect the user agent, else it will show the contents for the wrong device.

 

Use a separate mobile website

In this mobile SEO technique, you can create a separate mobile website altogether for mobile users. This allows you to create completely custom content for mobile users. While browing on mobile, you must have seen being redirected to websites beginning with “m” or “mobile” sub-domain. They’re examples of separate mobile site configurations.

If most of your visitors are mobile-based, and you need to provide highly customized mobile content then you can go for this approach. However, like dynamic serving, it relies on correctly detecting the user’s device and redirecting them to mobile website. Also, you need to ensure that your have correctly configured all redirects on your desktop website, to ensure that mobile visitors are correctly sent to the mobile version of your website.

 

Conclusion

There are various mobile SEO techniques to optimize your website for Mobile SEO. However, it’s important to carefully evaluate each approach based on you requirements and constraints before you arrive at a decision. No matter what approach you use, it’s essential that your website is optimized for Mobile SEO, to be found easily on search engines and grow your business faster. Otherwise, people will bounce off your website and your search engine rankings will fall quickly. Hopefully, the above tips & best practices provide a mobile SEO checklist that you can use to optimize your website for mobile devices.

 

Do you have any tips & best practices for Mobile SEO optimization? Please share your experience with us.

 

About Sreeram Sreenivasan

Sreeram Sreenivasan has worked with various Fortune 500 Companies in areas of Business Growth, Sales & Marketing Strategy. He’s the Founder of Ubiq BI, a cloud-based BI Platform for SMBs & Enterprises.