Mobile Site SEO: Checklist, tips, and tools for small to medium-sized businesses



You think mobile SEO is insignificant, and mobile SEO services are worthless?

Mobile is predicted to dominate online sales with 54% share by 2021“, predicts 99 Firms.

So what can you do about it?

Option 1: let it go; do nothing! You have been making your fair share of sales previously. You’ll do well in the future too.

Option 2: You prepare to take most of those orders by delighting mobile users on your site. 

Now, option 1 doesn’t call for any specific measures at all; just party, fiesta, you know! 

Option 2 gets and keeps you on your toes downright. Delighting customers, enhancing their experience, getting them to order, and staying ahead of the competition is not a picnic. You’ve got to be vigilant on multiple fronts. Else your prepared competitors win the race with a few milliseconds swiftness.

So, how do you stay ahead and improve the mobile users’ experience on your site?

With a mobile optimization strategy that improves your mobile SEO.

And how do you improve your mobile SEO?

This is just the right question to ask if you haven’t optimized your site for mobile users yet.

Our SEO wizards have a systematic SEO process with MYSTERIOUSLY HIGH success rate. We picked some gems out of the process for you – so you too can ensure more of the right kind of organic traffic on your website that converts. 

But for the still-quite-skeptic-ones of you, here are some of your questions answered:

FAQS About Mobile SEO

1- What is mobile SEO?

Mobile SEO is a set of practices to optimize your site for the mobile (and tablet) users and search engine’s spiders – but mostly mobile users!

The idea is to give your mobile users the same comfort, accessibility, ease of navigation, and information on their small screen as you do on the desktop sites.

2- Why is Mobile SEO Important?

58% of the total searches on Google are done from mobile phones,” says Hitwise.

Of the total mobile users, 87% access a search engine EVERY.SINGLE.DAY!

But what do they search for?

Well, grab some popcorn and sit tight; this is where it gets interesting!

82% of mobile users use mobiles to search for local businesses,” Google affirms.

What for? What do you think?

For doing quick research about their repute, maybe? To see what have they got to offer? Or to make a brief comparison between businesses? 

And ultimately, to make a quick purchase! 

As you expect to get most of your orders from mobiles, you need to have your site optimized for mobile. 

Why again?

  • Because if your site is not optimized for mobile users, it won’t show in the mobile search results – not as a preference.
  • When Google, or any search engine, receives the greater part of overall traffic from the mobile devices, it is quite predictable they’d favor mobile-optimized sites over the desktop versions. So while mobile has a small space to display search results, most of them would be the sources optimized for this small screen.
  • Even if the visitors do not access your site through a search engine (and the ranking doesn’t matter in that case), the website won’t perform well on the mobile screen as it is not optimized for this screen. 

So, if the visitors don’t like the look and the feel of your site (on their cell phone screens), don’t expect them to go the extra mile to turn to your desktop site. For a visitor, hitting back and clicking the next search result is an easier option. 

Bottom line:

You need to have a stellar mobile SEO plan in place if you want to give your users a smooth mobile experience. That’s the only way to ensure that the only way he goes is towards that “order now” button, not back and over to your competitor’s site.

3- What is the difference between mobile SEO and the regular/desktop SEO?

Kelly Bowden at Web FX did a fantastic job explaining the differences in detail. Rest assured, there are quite many of them for you to consider optimizing for both of them. However, if clicking that link is too much to ask for, here are the few important considerations:

  • Mobile SEO calls for a far better site speed than desktop SEO. It requires a better navigable site structure and responsive design.
  • Mobile SEO is more competitive as mobile users have a shorter time and attention span.
  • The nature of queries (and thus the keywords you need to optimize your content for) differ in both. Mobile users are more prone to using short, more relevant, location-based, and usually time-sensitive queries, more than desktop users.
  • The copy for the mobile users needs to be to the point. Or attract the attention of the users with the most important information. If they stay with you, they can have all the details later.

The end to the list is not close if you wish to dig deeper. However, these are important points to emphasize the differences between mobile and desktop SEO.

4- What is the mobile-first approach?

With the increase in mobile queries online, mobile users have become more important for search engines and business owners.

Therefore, they are more focused on optimizing the sites for mobile users before they do so for desktop users, aka the mobile-first approach. The idea is to make mobile users experience pleasant (just like previously, it was practiced for desktop users).

5- How can you improve your Mobile SEO in 2020?

SEO is all about the user’s experience. 

While optimizing the technical aspects of the search engine, you are doing so to get the best results for your target users. It is basically a balanced combination of content marketing and SEO that enhances the user’s experience on your site.  

As the search engine algorithms keep evolving, so does the need to optimize your site for them (and users). In the case of mobile SEO, this evolution and the resultant need are a bit too rapid.

So, how do you improve Mobile SEO and enhance user experience in 2020 is the point we all gathered here for, in the first place.

Let’s get straight to this now!

Mobile SEO Checklist and Actionable Mobile SEO Tips For A Well Ranking Mobile Website

Now that you are convinced that mobile SEO is important (aren’t you?), how do you know if your site is well optimized for mobile users? If not, how do you carry out mobile site optimization? What should be your mobile site optimization strategy?

Let’s get started with the Checklist to see if you have optimized your mobile site the right way. If not, you’d find out what to do and why!

Point of inspiration here, it’s never too late. With a leap of faith, jump right in!

Have you optimized your mobile site’s load speed?

Picture this:

You are in a metro on your way back home after a long, exhaustive office day. You plan to pick up your food on the way, take out your cell phone and check your options.

Time’s ticking fast….

As you type your query, several results show up. You go scrolling to the bottom of the SERP and choose to place an order with a familiar name – the 4th result that appears on your screen. You click on the result and wait for it to load.

Your home isn’t far now. Order prep would take some time too. You have used up even the last bit of energy at the office, so waiting is not an option.

Time’s passing fast. 

The only thing that doesn’t seem to be working right now is this damn site! This wait is so annoying and pinching and everything but pleasant. 

To hell with the familiarity. You can place your order elsewhere!

So, you touch the “back” sign, go to the top result, quickly place an order, and eagerly wait to get there for the pick-up.

Your familiar place’s website’s slow load speed kills the germs of loyalty inside you.

And someone else wins you over the other results for having a good load speed. If their services are good and they’d keep their speed optimized (along with other SEO factors), they have probably won your future orders already.

Fact check: 

Did you know that load speed is one of the many factors Google considers in ranking your site?

Low load speed means get ready to be penalized by Google. You’d be well on your way to the bottom of SERPs, even if other factors are optimized well. 

Why? Because you are ruining the user’s experience, and Google cares about that far more than it does about you.

What do you need to do?

  • Keep an eye on your mobile site’s speed. Regularly keep checking it on mobile devices to see it loads fast. Check with think with google to see an authentic site load speed report. 

Here, have a look at Neil Petal’s mobile site speed:

  • Use compressed images to improve speed. If you aren’t using plugins like Smush, tools like TinyJPG are the available alternatives.
  • Keep the code nice and neat, minimize redirects, and use the power of caching to fuel your sit’s load speed.
Pro-tip

Keep an eye on your competitor’s site speed with Think With Google and always stay ahead of the curve. Also, get useful insights on achieving the lightning speed you dream of, with a detailed report on what’s keeping you from it.

Have you unblocked site code and other parts to Google Crawlers?

Google bots need to be able to access all parts of your site to determine their usability and index them well.

In the past, when mobile phones were rare, not all of them could support your JavaScript, CSS, or images. So, these elements used to be blocked on mobile sites. Nowadays, do you see one such phone around? 

Exactly. Well-time conclusion! No need to block these elements – especially when they are a great help for the search engine to see if your site is mobile friendly and has a responsive design.

What do you need to do?

Check out site.com/robots.txt. in Google search console to see the elements you have blocked to the crawlers. Update the list and remove these elements from the list if you find them listed here.

Have you implemented the best mobile site configuration?

There are 3 site configuration you can choose from:

  • Separate/parallel site configuration:

When a user accesses your sites, the server figures out the device type first. It redirects the device to the device-specific URL. If the URL is www.canzmarketing.com on desktop, it would be m.canzmarketing.com in case of a mobile device. Hence, it is also called “M-configuration.”

Interestingly, Google has warned the use of this configuration on the grounds of “difficult implementation and maintenance.”

A screenshot of Google for developers explaining what a separate URL configuration is.

Source: Google Developers

  • Dynamic serving:

Dynamic serving is the name given to configuration where the same URL has different preset HTML/CSS code for different devices.

So the same URL is served to all the users with their device-specific preset.

A screenshot of Google for developers explaining what a dynamic serving configuration is.

Source: Google Developers

Google doesn’t recommend this serving configuration, either. This, too, is a hassle to maintain. Especially the advancement in technology requires you to create a device-specific code for every new device rolling out.

  • Responsive design:

Responsive web design is 1 URL, and 1 HTML code served to all the device types the same way.

This, by far, is the best and the recommended configuration that adapts and renders itself according to the device type accessing the website.

 

Alt-text: A screenshot of Google for developers explaining what Responsive web design is.

Source: Google Developers

With responsive web design, the user experience on a site remains the same across a wide variety of screen sizes.

For instance, this is Canz Marketing on our beloved lappy’s screen, and on an android phone:


 

See how the same site adapted to different devices and rendered so well?

What do you need to do?

While Google itself recommends using the responsive website design, do you think you have a better choice?

Not that you said “yes’, but a responsive website is SEO’s best friend. So stick to it!

Here’s your guide on the essential considerations for implementing responsive web design.

Have you strategized pop-ups?

You probably don’t want to have a deserted site while attempting to make it more populous. Do you?

Unfortunately, pop-ups often serve the function of deserting your site well – while you hire them for the opposite.

Pop-ups are often a huge nuisance when they show up now and then and block the content like an inflexible, obstinate idiot. 

What comes next? 

The user likely scoots out of the site (and your sight) as if it is haunted.

What do you need to do?

Lucky for you, this is not always the case.

When you have a good campaign and have strategically planned the pop-ups, they lead the way you want. 

Read the best practices of using pop-ups on your site that don’t annoy your audience but convert them.

Have you implemented Schema.org – structured data?

Structured data – the code on your site that the search engines read to display your results as rich snippets on SERPs – is written in a format called Schema.org. 

Here, have a look at this rich snippet.

A rich snippet on SERP on the Search query - Dalgona Coffee.

Now, if you paid attention, you’d have found out a lot more information than the capacity of a regular organic result.

For instance, in this case, in particular, you can find out:

  • the ratings, 
  • total votes this recipe won, 
  • the time required to make it, 
  • and the number of calories in a cup of this coffee

Now imagine beating your competitors on Mobile SERPs with all this information. Imagine how well you’d stand out and get clicked with such a rich snippet among plain, boring results? 

Sounds good, right?

To sum it up, the structured data code when implemented on your site helps:

  • the search engine understand your content better, 
  • display it well on SERPs and 
  • stand it out of all the other results. 

The result? 

High click-through rate!

What do you need to do?

Read Neil Patel’s stellar guide on Structured data for beginners to implement the structured data and have a respectable position in SERPs. 

If coding is not your cup of tea, find out the non-coding plugin alternatives here.

Have you optimized for SERP results?

Now, this one might be a little confusing! What else are you doing SEO for?

Answer this:

Have you ever looked into the anatomy of an organic search result? What does a typical result in SERPs look like?

Say, you typed a keyword “SERP’ in the search bar, and several organic results showed up.

Let’s break one of them down to its components:

A SERP result on the search query broken down to individual parts.

  • There are details of the source with the complete URL, down to its slug.
  • There’s the title tag or SEO title of the source.
  • And a meta description, aka Google snippet.

When you scroll down the SERPs, you base your decision on clicking a source mainly on all of these elements. 

  • URL might help you decide the reputation of the source. 
  • SEO title gives you a sneak peek into what to expect on the page.
  • Meta-description gives you a better insight into the content.

If these 3 (or even the latter 2) elements convince you, you’ll already find yourself on that result page. 

What do you need to do?

Shortly put, as the website owner, you need to keep an eye on and optimize these elements. The plan is to make them attractive enough for a user to see and click through to your page. 

On mobile devices where there already are fewer results competing for users’ attention, the quality of these elements becomes even more relevant.

So, make sure to give away as much info as needed to attract them while following the best practices. You’ll find the following reads useful along the way:

How to craft the perfect SEO Title Tag?

Meta description – 2020 SEO best practices

Have you optimized for the local searches and voice searches yet?

If Google says, “20% of all the searches are location-specific, ” who will deny the fact? But Google also says most of the searches are done from mobile devices.

All the more reason we’d consider mobile devices and localized searches a match made in heaven.

On another note, there is a deep relation between a mobile site and voice searches. 

Quoracreative claims that “20% of the mobile device searches are voice searches”.

The tone of the Voice searches is different – more like a regular conversation style. 

Therefore, your mobile site needs to be optimized for these searches, in addition to being optimized for the regular text queries.

But wait! There’s a third angle too. It’s a trio!

Search engine journal states that “58% of consumers use voice search to find local business information”. 

So, for a big fat win, you need to optimize your mobile site for location-specific voice searches. 

What do you need to do?

Dig deeper into the subjects; optimize your mobile site for voice searches and local searches.

First thing first:

  • Optimize your content, titles, and meta description for location-specific keywords relevant to your business.
  • Add a location map and enter a genuine address on your website.
  • Add your business listings in online directories and niche specific platforms like Google places, Yelp, Yellow pages, etc. Encourage current clients for positive yet genuine reviews on all the platforms possible. 
  • Optimize for the keywords/phrases (especially long-tail phrases) that users use in voice searches if you want to appear in SERPs for those queries.
  • Optimize, especially for the local/near me voice searches. Voice searchers on mobile often use this feature while on the go, probably when they are more pressed for time.
  • Your mobile site’s speed plays a significant role in your ranking to voice searches. Especially when the voice search is a near me search, the user is probably on the way to get to you. So, delayed speed is a known cause of a low conversion rate.
  • Additionally, leverage the power of structured data to attract most of the searchers.

So, is your website really mobile-friendly? 

Whether your target audience likes to stay on your mobile website or not depends on how mobile-friendly your site is?

But what is a mobile-friendly site in the first place? Let’s have a brief on this too:

  • The site has a responsive design.
  • It has high readability i.e.
    • Strategic headings distribution
    • Small sentences and paragraphs
    • Big, clear fonts
    • Well-formatted content, bullet points, bold and italicized where needed.
  • It is easy to navigate through. The search option is prominently placed (and works too).
  • It’s fast and user-friendly. 

This, and everything else mentioned above and much, much more! 

What do you need to do?

Optimize your mobile site for each of the mentioned points. 

Take this mobile-friendly test and see if your site is mobile friendly? Dig into the reports and see if you need further optimization?

Here’s our test result. What is your’s?

Canz marketing’s mobile-friendliness test result - a way to measure SEO.

But what has mobile-friendliness got to do with the mobile SEO anyway?

Though SEO is Search engine optimization, it really is about Searcher’s Experience Online. If you don’t already remember, SEO is all about enhancing the user’s experience.   

And mobile-friendliness is also about a smooth and pleasant user experience.

Enough said — time to take action. 

Done your best? What next?

So is your mobile site up and running?

Now check how it is doing? Get started with the tips, optimize your mobile site, and welcome skid loads of the right kind of traffic to your mobile-friendly website.

Trust us! Mobile website optimization is not as difficult as it may sound. However, if you need to speak to our Mobile SEO experts to feel better or get help, you’ll find them standing with you EVERY STEP OF THE WAY!

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