Optimising your content for mobile

We know that optimising content for mobile is essential if you want your customers to find you when it counts.

In 2018, Salesforce reported that 60% of all ecommerce traffic comes from mobile devices. In the same year, and after extensive testing, Google announced the rollout of mobile-first indexing. Mobile-first indexing recognises the huge growth in mobile search by using the mobile version of a page for indexing and ranking. 

If your business does not have an optimised content strategy for mobile, it’s time to make it happen.

But before you rush off and throw yourself head first into the launch of a full mobile strategy, read on. We’re sharing the best ways to optimise your content for mobile and get recognised and ranked by Google.

Our experience shows that an effective mobile strategy starts with  the technical aspects and design changes that make your site mobile friendly. Throughout this process, keep SEO best practices for optimising your website and content for mobile at the front of your mind.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Optimise for local mobile search

Research by Uberall shows that up to 82% of smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches with local intent.

That’s up to 82% of people using mobiles to search for information on businesses, services or products. They might be looking for store opening hours, location or product availability. 

To optimise for local search, you need to know the search intent of your audience and what they expect to find when they type or talk into the search engine. This way, you can choose the most relevant keywords and content format to help them find and understand the information.

The right keywords are the reassuring neon sign that tells users their search was successful. They say: “Hey! Our store is near you and has exactly what you’re looking for!”.

These local keywords work in combination with schema markup to help search engines understand where you are located and improve your chances of appearing in local search results. Use schema markup to add information such as your business name, phone number, business hours and full address, to your site’s metadata. 

Our experience shows that clients often overlook the local visibility that Google My Business, Yahoo Local and Bing Places pages provide. Don’t forget to support your efforts with up-to-date profiles on sites such as Thompson Local, Yelp or Hotfrog too. 

Optimise titles and meta descriptions

Page titles and meta descriptions need to fit into a much smaller space for mobile compared to desktop, so they need to be optimised and streamlined.

Title tags on mobiles sites have the same number of characters available as those on desktop. However, we know that your title is likely to be broken up over two or even three lines when viewed on mobile SERPs. So, when you’re writing title tags, you need to consider whether your page title works well over more than one line.

Mobile meta descriptions should have a maximum of 115 to 120 characters. Optimise these to include concise relevant and engaging information, plus a clear call to action. 

Ensure your buttons are an ideal size for mobile

You should try to keep the number of actions that are required on a mobile device to a minimum. The less time a user has to spend finding what they are looking for, the better.

Avoid accidental clicks by ensuring your buttons are not too small or big and are not positioned directly where a finger might be scrolling. How annoying and frustrating is it to be sent off somewhere else when you’ve spent ten minutes navigating to a page? Aaargh!

Optimise images for mobile

We know images can slow down load time on mobile devices. Matthew Young highlights three key points to ensuring your images load quickly:

1# Use a page speed tool to identify which images causing issues.

Tools such as Google’s PageSpeeds Insights tool will help you pinpoint the images that need optimising.

2# Compress your images.

This can include selecting a space-saving image format or rethinking how the images are going to load onto a page.

3# Define your image dimensions.

Not defining your images means that the browser renders the image as it loads other page elements. However, with image dimensions defined, the browser will pre-render the space according to your instructions. This saves you precious loading time.

Use deep links for apps

Deep links allow you to pass information to and from applications on a user’s device. This is called contextual deep linking.

These deep links help users get to the most relevant content as quickly as possible. They also promote the use of mobile applications. This brilliant TechCrunch study shows why you should be using deep links:

The graph above specifically shows the difference in the percentage of users that ‘activate’ their account, i.e. sign up within the app or convert.

Deep links provide the user with exactly what they are looking for in their initial search query. If a user is directed to the homepage of a mobile app, they’re much less likely to become an active user. One of the core principles of digital marketing is to match your content to user’s intent and deep linking helps you achieve just that.

Ensure your content formatting is suitable for mobile

With such a small space, mobile content should be succinct and written to meet users’ needs. Use shorter sentences that are broken up into clear paragraphs. Effective subheadings also make content easier to digest.

Keep all the information that the user needs together. People don’t want to trawl through lots of pages on mobile sites to find what they’re looking for. Sentences, links, headings and forms should all make sense as self-contained areas of information.

If your site uses forms, we know you are more likely to gather essential information from the user if you make the form quick and easy to fill out. Use the shortest form you can and request only vital information.

Dig into user intent

By ensuring your site is mobile friendly and your content is optimised for mobile, you can expect to see higher search rankings and increase traffic your mobile site. But to really understand what customers want from your content, you need to understand the motivation behind the search. 

On the go searches are the result of micro-moments. A micro-moment is a real-time, intent-driven search. It requires just a quick glance to identify relevant information to act on immediately. In a nutshell, this means your content needs to be short, sharp and to the point.

If you are planning a content audit for mobile, you should definitely make your next stop, Tom’s post on Micro-moments

As Tom states in his post, there’s no single solution for building micro-moments into your marketing strategy. Every brand has a different set of moments and users to target, which is why our SEO experts take a tailored cross-channel approach to building SEO strategies. 

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