It is no surprise that more and more people are using their cell phones to access the internet. By 2014, 20% of internet traffic is projected to be mobile (Source). As mobile internet usage continues to grow, so too does the importance of optimizing your website for mobile searches.
This post goes over some of the methods and practices that have proven to be successful when it comes to optimizing your mobile website.
Have a Mobile Friendly Website
The most important (and most obvious) thing when it comes to Mobile SEO is that that your website be mobile friendly. An estimated 61% of mobile users who land on a non-mobile friendly site will leave and go to a competitor’s website. Yet a large number of sites on the web still do not have a mobile-friendly version. With the number of mobile internet users continuing to grow, it is becoming more and more important to have a mobile friendly website.
Google announced in June of this year (Source) that websites using the same URLs on all devices are favored in mobile search over sites that do not. The easiest way to achieve this is to have a “responsive website design”. Responsive websites work across all devices with a single URL and therefore, no need for redirects (which can slow things down).
Besides responsive design, there are other methods to keeping the same URL structure for your mobile site such as dynamic serving/RESS. If, for whatever reason, you do not have the option to keep the same URL, remember that it is better to have a mobile site without the same URL than none at all.
Other Reasons for having same URL structure include:
- Social Sharing: Makes sharing links to your website easier.
- Redirects are slow and negatively impact SEO
- Google suggests it.
Responsive Web Design
In addition to the benefit of having the same URL structure, a responsive web design will also carry over the on-page optimizations made on the desktop version of your site. This makes optimizing your mobile website much easier than starting from scratch.
Reasons to have a responsive web design include:
- Same URL Structure
- Looks similar to Desktop site (Usability)
- No Duplicate Content
- Link Building: Backlinks from both your desktop and mobile sites will combine for a stronger backlink portfolio.
- Google Recommends it.
Local Search is even more important for mobile devices than on desktop. This is largely due to the fact that mobile users are often looking for location and phone number information and also because of the limited screen real-estates on Google.
There are several common mistakes that Google has identified in regards to mobile websites. These include:
- Unplayable videos
- Faulty redirects
- Smartphone only 404 Errors
- App download interstitials: Site’s app promotion disruptive to visitor experience.
- Irrelevant cross-linking: Linking to irrelevant page on desktop version of site.
- Page speed: Page speed is particularly important for mobile.
The most important thing is that you have a mobile friendly version of your website available to users. If possible it is best to use the same URL structure for your mobile site as you do for your regular desktop site. The best way to achieve this is with a responsive website design which is beneficial for many reasons. Be sure that your mobile website follows Google’s Guidelines. There are additional steps that we can take to improve our mobile websites SEO performance, including optimizing for local search, which is even more important for mobile than it is for desktop.
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