It’s no secret that the mobile-age of the internet is here. Everywhere you go, you’ll likely see people glued to their mobile devices and the search engines have taken notice. This is a golden opportunity for your business and you need to make sure that you’re doing everything humanly possible to take advantage of search engines’ support of mobile search.
Mobile Site Indexing
Technology is advancing at speeds that are hard to keep up with, leading to more powerful and faster smartphones, and allowing people to replace their desktops or laptops with just a single, palm sized device. At the end of 2016, mobile and tablet internet usage officially surpassed desktop traffic for the first time worldwide (51.3% vs 48.7%). This is a trend that’s likely to keep growing, and it’s crucial for small businesses to adapt to this change by making sure they have a website that’s well optimized for mobile devices.
Google is constantly striving to be accommodating to its users. By collecting information on every web page in a massive index catalog, Google formulates accurate search results for various queries. Google wants users to be able to visit mobile sites where all the content loads properly and they can interact without zooming and scrolling around. Recently, Google began rolling out an algorithm update referred to as “Mobile-first indexing” which eventually will primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content and structured data to rank pages on that site. The good news is that if you already have a responsive site, you shouldn’t have to change anything, however if you have primary content and markup that is different across mobile and desktop, then some changes will need to be made to your site.
Pop-Ups Are the Devil
Pop-ups are often used to catch a person’s attention, however when it comes to mobile sites and a good user experience, pop-ups are anti-productive. Best practices for optimizing a mobile site includes staying away from pop-ups as much as possible. Pop-ups can be very frustrating to close on a mobile device, especially for large fingers that we talked about before. They can also lead to a higher bounce rate on your website as some users tend to immediately leave your site when a pop-up appears.
If you must use them, use them responsibly so that you do not get hit with the Google intrusive mobile interstitial penalty. There are a couple of variations of intrusive interstitials (transitional web pages) that Google is on the lookout for. Google will lower the rankings of sites that use pop-ups to make content less accessible, as well as ones that come up before you even get to the main pages of the site.
There are a few exceptions to this rule that will not result in a penalty. If the interstitials are implemented due to legal obligations for things like age verification or cookie usage, Google will give you a pass. Other acceptable uses would be for things like login dialogs and content that is behind a paywall. If you have banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and that are easily dismissible, Google is likely to overlook your pop-up usage. Another negative affect is that pop-ups can weigh down your site speed to a turtle’s pace.
The Importance of Instant Gratification
Another important aspect of optimizing a website for mobile use is maximizing its speed. Factors like ease of use and streamlined navigation are very important when dealing with mobile optimization, but site speed is just as crucial. Making sure your site loads quickly to ensure the most immediate delivery of content to user as possible is an essential part of convenient mobile web navigation.
There’s a variety of ways that a professional SEO strategist can monitor and improve site speed. Enhancing images on a site for speed is important, since image content can often slow down site loading time. Applying enhancements to the site on the backend to optimize them for lighter strain on load times is necessary. Minimizing code used on a site is also very useful, as excessive or unnecessary coding structure can also drag down how quickly the site can fully load for a user. Since we are all about instant gratification, you don’t want to discourage potential clients by having them bouncing off your site before they even get started.
More technical approaches such as leveraging browser caching and reducing on-site redirects are useful as well. With technology always advancing, we want to make sure we are keeping up with the latest tactics and trends. Regardless of which strategies are used, improving loading speed and overall user friendliness for a site, are crucial for mobile site optimization and directly influencing organic rankings for your site.