With an ever-increasing number of people using smartphone searches, coupled with Google’s upcoming mobile-first index, it’s more important than ever that websites are optimised for mobile. While mobile-friendly sites have been in the digital marketing sphere for some time, this year the trend will become even more prominent.
Since the announcement of the gradual roll-out of the mobile-first index in 2016, Google has made it clear that if you don't have a quality site for mobile, it won’t make it to the top pages. In other words, if it doesn’t have a responsive layout, has a slow page loading speed and a poor navigation structure, your rankings will suffer. This is particularly important for businesses that only have a desktop site, or those that have thin SEO content on their mobile site.
If you want to generate good leads, reduce bounce rates, boost conversions and achieve a top position on SERPs, now’s the time to optimise your site for mobile. Here are some useful ways to do this in 2018:
A Study has shown that 53% of mobile users abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. When you add this to the fact that Google has just announced that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile-first indexing from July 2018, it’s crucial that mobile sites load quickly and respond quickly to user interactions. To check your site’s loading speed, you can use various Google tools to test different pages such as PageSpeed Insights and Chrome User Experience Report.
To ensure that your site is compatible with mobile, you should use a web developer who has experience in responsive website design. This can help to create a smooth browsing experience and keep mobile users engaged for longer, which in turn can generate leads and boost your conversion rates. You can also use open source initiatives like AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) to create a fast and high performing website.
We already know that content is vital for rankings – and this is true for mobile too. The good news is that there are plenty of simple ways to get your site’s content up to scratch and ready for the mobile-first index.
Your first port of call should be to make sure that the content is easy to read and clear on smaller screen sizes. You may also choose to add some links in long text so that users can get to where they need to be, and use headers to break up the page and make it more visually appealing.
Text size and touch elements are also key for mobile. There’s nothing more frustrating than missing the button or repeatedly touching the wrong one because it’s too small. To overcome this, make sure that tap targets are suitably sized and provide enough space between elements. This can make the site much easier to navigate on a mobile, which in turn can increase conversion rates.
You’ll also need to develop your content around mobile-friendly keywords. These are usually long-tail keywords that seek an answer, and often start with who, what, where, when and why. It’s also worth bearing in mind that a significant number of people are now using voice search. In fact, studies show that around 20% of mobile searches are now voice search, which is expected to increase. Taking this into account, you’ll need to think about how people speak and ask questions in order to optimise your content to reflect these queries.
A common mistake businesses make is having a site for desktop and then adjusting it for mobile. Rather than treating it simply as an extension of desktop, you need to make mobile your prime concern. After all, the majority of your customers will now be accessing your site via smartphones, so it makes sense to prioritise the mobile experience. To analyse user behaviour, you can use Google Analytics device reports.
To comply with the mobile-first index, businesses should carry out a thorough audit of the mobile user experience on their site. There are several important questions to ask yourself when doing this. For example, how user-friendly is my site? How easy is it to find information? Is it simple to navigate? Are my contact details easy to find? Do I need to minimise pop-ups? Optimising all of these areas can have a significant impact on user experience, especially on small mobile screens.
As Google’s mobile-first index becomes more widespread and developments in smartphone technology continue to evolve at a rapid pace, mobile optimisation will be at the forefront of most digital marketing strategies this year. By following simple steps like these and focusing on providing an excellent mobile experience for your audience, you’ll stand a much better chance of staying ahead of the competition and ranking highly.
If you need help optimising your site for mobile for 2018 and beyond, get in touch today.