As more and more users adopt to Mobile from Desktop, it’s become crucial to add, Mobile marketing strategy into the overall Marketing Goals. In this blog “Mobile SEO Checklist”, I am going to share How to drive business growth with fast and well-designed mobile site?
Mobile SEO Optimization Checklist
- What is Mobile-First Index?
- Mobile UX Best Practices (Homepage & Landing Page)
- AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages (Do you really need?)
- Website Loading Speed
- How to Remove Trailing Slash?
- Remove www Google SERPs
- Mobile Navigation best practices
- Avoiding Popups
- Responsive Website Design
- Use Google Mobile Usability Test
- Optimize title and Description Tags for Mobile SERPs
- Use Schema Structured Data To Stand Out in Mobile SERPs
Why is Mobile SEO Important?
In a short time, mobile devices have surged ahead of traditional computers in consumer demand and online traffic. 58% of searches in Google are now done from a mobile device. That is 27.8 billion more queries performed on mobile than desktop. And, more mobile devices are being shipped than desktops and laptops and soon it will account for the majority of web visits which it already does.
- Mobile is winning from Desktop
- Mobile content determines Google search ranking (Google Mobile-first index)
- Mobile search drive sales, especially e-commerce.
- Mobile SEO affects voice search (Injection of schema mark-up)
What is Mobile-First Index?
Google’s mobile-first index ranks the search results based only on the mobile version of the page. Before this update, Google’s index would use a mix of desktop and mobile results.
SEO is now about optimizing for “Mobile SEO”. As per Google announcement Mobile-Friendly Update. The focus has been shifted from Desktop algorithm index to Mobile due to the increasing number of searches on mobile platforms. Mobile devices to Google means smartphones and does not include tablets.
Expect your site to be penalized if not according to “Mobile Friendly Update”.
You should be Ok, if;
- Your website loads across all devices
- All content rendered and displayed both on Mobile & Desktop
- Loads fast
- UX is better than desktop at least.
Understand and optimize for the mobile customer journey.
There are multiple websites where you can see how your websites loads across devices. Please, checkout Mobi Ready. A free tool for developers, designers, and marketers to test website performance on mobile devices.
When it comes to mobile there are different ways one can optimize.
- Get a separate URL beginning with M.yoursite.com
- Dynamic serving based on the device
- the notorious – Responsive design
Mobile SEO UX Best Practices (Homepage & Landing Page)
Create the first impression by providing:
- Value Proposition
- Call to Action
Test CTA copy
Display high-level business categories on the homepage
Highlighting main business categories on the homepage with a combination of image + text allows visitors to explore content and learn more about the uniqueness of the business.
Having a search bar on the homepage allows people to start exploring content. According to Google, users who search usually convert more.
Search Bar on Homepage
AMP Accelerated Mobile Pages
What is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Accelerated Mobile Pages are key to mobile optimization success especially if you have a website with a massive amount of content assets. AMP is another way of Google being efficient with their technology and resources.
- Launched in Feb 2016 by Google
- It is an Open Source Project
- AMP helps web publishers to load pages instantly
- It is like a normal HTML page, but a stripped-down version
- It is similar to Facebook Instant and Apple News
- Median load time for AMP pages is 0.7 sec
- Not much development required
Advantages of AMP
- Speed and Performance – Superior user experience
- Reducing page bounce rate and better conversions.
- AMP compliant content always gets displayed first in search(organic search).
- Increased mobile device site loading.
Boostin Keywords Ranking.
- Being Featured on the Google Search Top Stories Carousel Leads to a Higher Click-Through Rate (CTR)
- AMP will help reduce load speed. I think it will bring down from around 11secs to 7-8 seconds. Most importantly it’s an SEO mobile ranking factor.
- Voice Search Optimization – Google gives priority to fast loading websites for mobile voice searches.
Recommended WordPress plugin from Google: AMP for WP – Accelerated Mobile Pages
Do you really need AMP Pages?
You will have to ask yourself – whether you really need AMP implementation? now that you know what Accelerated Mobile pages are.
Technically speaking if your website loads fast and meets the norms, it does make sense to skip. If you have a website with ads and the objective is to generate revenue off the ads – most certainly, AMP implementation is advised. Or if you have a website where you have CSS load that is critical to design/layout codes as CSS codes take server time to load.
AMP makes it possible for the Ad-sense ads to load fast & cache CSS code that in return will not have an effect on server response times & user experience.
Mobile Website Loading Speed
- PageSpeed Insights provides page analysis and optimization recommendations.
- Google Chrome User Experience Report provides the user experience metrics for how real-world Chrome users experience popular destinations on the web.
- Documentation on performance on Web Fundamentals.
Trailing slash creates redirects. We all know how redirects affect website SEO and indexability.
I noticed trailing slash first on my website and upon research found an easy solution. If you are using WordPress website most likely you have trailing slash after all links.
After the trailing slash is removed from website URL settings, it takes Google 2-3 months to reflect the changes on Google Search Console.
How to Remove Trailing Slash in WordPress Websites?
- Login to WordPress:
- Visit the Permalinks Section
- Select Custom URL structure without the / as shown in the screenshot below.
Remove www Google SERPs
Space is a big issue here in Bay Area San Jose CA. Similarly, certain devices have limits to the number of characters displayed on search results. for example on Mobile Google search results cuts off part of the title and meta description. Similarly, it cuts of the Display URL.
In order to increase CTR, it’s important to have the URL visible and avoid Google from not completely cutting off the URL but instead reduce the length by removing the www. beginning of the URL.
If you query your website URL does it show www in Google Search Results.
Mobile Menu Navigation Best Practices
Creating a separate menu based on Mobile users preferences increase CTR and reduce bounce rate. Here are some of the best practices you can starting testing for your mobile index and nav strategy.
- Get rid of your Navbar
- Avoid dropdown menu
- Keep important elements within reach
- Link Phone number and addresses
- Disable Popups
- Optimize forms for Mobile
- Use Collapsible sections/accordions
- Be Descriptive
- Limit the number of menu items to seven
I know: everyone HATES popups. Please use Pop-ups only when you are able to truly measure the engagement. Crucial to identify whether if having pop-ups would be a great option at all.
I’m not going to get into that debate here. But I WILL tell you that Google also hates popups… especially for mobile users, when it covers the whole mobile screen.
Remember: Google’s #1 job is to show its users amazing content. And if that content is hidden behind a giant popup? It’s not all that amazing anymore.
In fact, Google rolled out an update that specifically targets “Intrusive” popups.
Use Google’s Mobile Usability Test
Please test your website: Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
Responsive Website Design
It’s one thing to see how Google views your mobile site. But nothing beats actually seeing your site on different devices.
So if you use responsive design on your site, I recommend checking out this free tool.
It’ll show you how your site looks on iPhones, tablets and more:
Optimize title and Description Tags for Mobile SERPs
One way to improve CTR is to have appealing text in the Title and Meta descriptions of the page. Recently, Google started to show featured image in Mobile Search Results to increase relevancy and improve user experience.
Use Schema Structured Data To Stand Out in Mobile SERPs
Schema is one of the most important elements in SEO strategy. Schema allows the website to communicate with other Search Engine’s i.e. Google, Bing, and Yahoo with consistent website tags.
Schema can help increase audience reach.