Mobile SEO

Mobile SEO: So You Passed Google’s Mobile-friendly Test, What Next?

Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm landed on April 21st 2015, bringing with it significant changes under the ‘mobilegeddon’ or ‘mobocalypse’ label.

As the emphasis on mobile continues in 2019, the search giant’s mobile-friendly testing tool remains the go-to place for evaluating whether a website is at risk of dropping down the mobile rankings.

According to Google, a page is deemed mobile-friendly if it meets the following criteria, as detected by Googlebot:

  • Software that is not common on mobile devices isn’t used (i.e. Flash)
  • Text and other content fits the screen so users don’t need to scroll horizontally or zoom
  • Links are placed far enough apart so that users can tap the correct one

If your website fails the test, Google will provide specific recommendations about what to fix or where improvements can be made. When there’s a lot of work to be done, the best strategy is to get a good mobile website, and quick.

Unlike Panda and Penguin in 2011 and 2012, the mobile algorithm update doesn’t penalise sites and operates in real-time on a page-by-page basis. This means any changes to your website or mobile site will be picked up quicker.

Mobile Search vs Mobile Optimisation?

You might have a mobile-friendly website but that doesn’t automatically mean it’s optimised for mobile search.

Mobile search or mobile SEO is slightly different from traditional SEO and requires specialist knowledge. When building strategies, our search specialists consider the different ways people search on mobile devices.

We know that there are several key areas to focus on, including technical implementation, coding and content. It’s not just about how your site renders on mobiles and tablets.

User Experience

The single most important factor for mobile SEO is user experience. This impacts how visitors engage with your site and, ultimately, whether they convert or not.

Once your website’s design is mobile-friendly, make your most important information easy to find. You also need to guide users with clear calls to action.

Page Speed

We know that speed is not part of this mobile update. However, as it’s already a ranking factor and crucial to user experience, good page speed is essential for mobile SEO success.

Use the PageSpeed Insight tool to find out how quick your website loads on mobile devices and Google will provide specific recommendations to improve it. They may suggest compressing large images or deferring JavaScript.

Content

Understanding user intent is particularly important for mobile search, especially since Google’s Hummingbird update. Our experience shows that content needs to be tailored to target voice search and should include more conversational search terms.

It’s also important to format your content properly for mobiles and tablets. This includes optimising page titles and meta descriptions to the correct length for mobile search results pages.

Technical

It’s vital to monitor how Google is crawling and indexing your website, but it’s especially critical if you have a separate mobile website. Webmaster Tools and crawler tools such as Screaming Frog allow you to keep track of redirects so you can fix mobile crawl errors, fast.

Local

People reach for their mobiles to find places to eat, drink, shop and visit when they’re on the move. According to Google, around 30% of mobile searches include location-related terms, so remember to include these in your content. Use appropriate structured data where possible and submit your site to Google My Business.

If your SEO strategy doesn’t cater to mobile search, now’s the time to act. Even with a mobile-friendly website, there’s still a lot to do. We know that Google’s focus will shift to mobile even more as mobile search continues to grow. Ready to take action? Our SEO specialists can help you prepare for a more mobile future.

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