SEO Success – The Critical Importance of Mobile Optimization

Feb 15, 2016
DotcomWeavers

As we talked about in our last blog post tips-for-seo-success-part-1-on-page-content the good news about Search Engine Optimization is that the fundamentals haven’t changed all that much over the past year…your primary goal is still to incorporate words and phrases that people are using to find your business and products. However, like we also said, achieving SEO success is still tricky business.

In this second post of our two-part series on SEO, DotcomWeavers explores the importance of improving your Mobile SEO. Let’s take a closer look.

Before diving into the key steps to improving your Mobile SEO, we need to ask if you’ve already improved your On-Page SEO. If not, be sure to read our last blog post http://www.dotcomweavers.com/tips-for-seo-success-part-1-on-page-content/. Why? Because improving your On-Page Content (the words, images, videos, charts, graphs, etc. that appear on your website)—in Google’s own words—will likely influence your website’s search success more than any other factor.

Still, that doesn’t mean Mobile SEO isn’t important. In fact, when you consider that 187.5 million people in the United States now own a smartphone, it may be the most important step after you’ve optimized your On-Page Content.

So, what is Mobile SEO? In short, it’s making sure your website is optimized for mobile users. Your goal with this strategy is twofold:
1. Make sure Google recognizes your site.
2. Make sure the folks who visit your site on a mobile device have a pleasant experience.

Sounds simple, right? In theory, it is. In practice, though, far too many websites aren’t yet optimized from a design, structure and speed perspective. Amit Bhaiya—founder and CEO of web development firm DotcomWeavers—recommends asking the following “mobile site design” questions to ensure the best search results.

Is Your Mobile Site Indexed By Google?
When Googlebot does what it does best (search for new and updated pages to be added to the Google index), you want to make sure it finds your mobile site. A great first step to ensure that happens is to create a Mobile Sitemap (an XML Sitemap that contains URLs of web pages designed for mobile phones) and submit it to Google using Google Webmaster Tools.

Does Googlebot Have Access To Your Site?
If your mobile site only allows access to mobile phones, Googlebot can’t access to the site. In other words, your mobile site is unsearchable. To remedy this issue, allow any user-agent (the software and hardware utilized by the user when the user is accessing a website) that includes “Googlebot-Mobile” to access your site.

Does Your Business Sell Locally?
If yes, it’s important to optimize your mobile content for local search. You can do this by updating your site’s metadata to include the city and state where you do business.

Are Your Redirecting Mobile Users To The Same Page They Saw On Their Desktop?
According to Google, when you redirect a user to the corresponding mobile version of your desktop page, it’s important to make sure the content you’re redirecting them to matches the corresponding URL as closely as possible. Google provides this example as advice: “If you run a shopping site and there’s an access from a mobile phone to a desktop-version URL, make sure that the user is redirected to the mobile version of the page for the same product, and not to the homepage of the mobile version of the site.” The reason Google offers this insight is because some sites use the non-recommended redirect to boost their search rankings. The reality, however, is that Google hates the practice because it creates a negative user experience.

Regarding others steps to improve user experience, Bhaiya offers these insightful questions:

Does Your Mobile Site Use Flash?
Flash is still a great program for non-mobile websites, but that doesn’t hold true for mobile versions. Beyond the fact that running Flash on a mobile device is a big drain on battery power, the more important reason to stay away from the program is that Apple doesn’t support Flash on its iPhone and iPad products. Here is a long explanation of Apple’s reasoning for the decision.

Bhaiya says a better solution for animation is the HTML5 Canvas element. “It does a great job across all types of devices, including mobile,” he explains. “Plus, it doesn’t require special software and seems to have less bugs than its Flash counterpart.”

How Often Do You Use Pop-Ups On Your Mobile Site?
We’ve already told our readers about the benefits of pop-up ads for eCommerce websites, but using pop-ups on mobile versions of your eCommerce site can be risky business. Because mobile screens are significantly smaller than desktop monitors, pop-ups typically take up the viewers entire screen when displayed on a mobile device. While your pop-up might be relevant to the viewer (if not, it better be), there’s little chance it’s more important than what they were viewing before the pop-up interrupted their reading.

Is Your Site Designed For ‘Fat Fingers’?
“Fat-finger design” may sound silly, but it’s actually a serious consideration. The idea behind the changes aren’t actually the result of our nation’s fatter fingers but our smaller viewing screens. To make sure your mobile site is as finger-friendly as possible, check for the following enhancements:
• Larger buttons that are easily clickable on a smaller device
• Larger text that is easily read without zooming in
• Links that are separated from other links to avoid missteps with navigation

To learn more about the “friendliness” of your mobile site, click here. Or if you’d like to speak with a professional about improving your SEO, contact DotcomWeavers at [email protected] or 888.315.6518.

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