Imagine your alarm clock has just gone off for the 3rd time, it’s Monday morning, and the sun is peeking through your blinds. You have about 30 minutes to get ready for work before you have to leave the house (maybe you’re regretting that second snooze, huh?), and you have a busy day ahead of you. Before making the tragic first step from the comfort of your bed onto the cold floor, what’s the first thing you do?
Check your phone. As sad as it is, most of us are addicted to technology to the extent that being more than an arm’s reach away from our cellular comrades (even in REM cycle) is too much to bear. So, you grab your trusty rusty and check for messages, check the news, and your emails. Maybe someone’s sent you a link to a pair of shoes that are like, so totally perfect for you, or a funny YouTube video to make your Monday a bit better.
The point is, our interaction and engagement with the information superhighway no longer begins when we sit down at our desks, but the moment we click our phones. Therefore, mobile optimisation is increasingly key for all things on the world wide web.
What is mobile optimisation?
Mobile optimisation is the digitally defined process of allowing mobile users to access your site in an optimised look, feel, and experience for their mobile device; whichever type it may be. Not only does it refer to optimisation of appearance, but it also refers to how search engines (Google…chiefly Google) index and/or rank your site; which in turn directly affects your traffic, user engagement, and, well, everything basically.
I say Google chiefly because 94% of all global device driven search traffic is accounted for by, you guessed it, Google. The Silicon Valley giants even have a tool you can find here to check if your site is mobile friendly to the phone fanatics out there.
Why is mobile optimisation important?
Mobile search optimisation is becoming more important than ever in digital marketing as mobile traffic continues to eclipse desktop traffic. Have you ever clicked onto a familiar site and had to do all sorts of zooming and searching for things? If so, I’m assuming you did what we all do; sighed, and clicked out of the site onto the next most relevant search result. This scenario can pose a big problem if your site is the one in question being clicked out of, as according to research by Google mobile device users have a high intent to purchase than their desktop-using counterparts. Even more, 78% of mobile searches result in offline purchases at retailers and professional services. This mobile target market is focused, ready to purchase, and it’s your mission, ney, your obligation to be there and see when they are scrolling for your products and services. Especially in the wake of Google’s mobile-first indexing.
Okay, but what is mobile first indexing?
Google recently announced that it’s making the switch to a mobile-first ranking system. This means for the first time in the history of the web, Google will rank websites based on the quality and accessibility of mobile versions of sites instead of standard desktop versions. Think of it this way, a new type of Googlebot only interested in mobile-friendly criteria will crawl your site and decide if all of your assets, user experience, quality, and performance standards are up-to-date. If you have already optimised for mobile users-great! If not, your page could fall behind in the search results pages (SERPs) and be overshadowed by sites that have. Even if you’re sat at your desktop right now thinking “Well, mobile users aren’t our target so we don’t need to optimise for them”, think again! Your site will be judged by its mobile capabilities regardless. But never fear! We are here to help with some beginner steps to get your site phone friendly.
5 Steps to make your site mobile-friendly
1. Get rid of flash
With mobile optimisation, think ‘out with the old, and in with the new’, starting with any Flash you have on your current website. Nowadays Flash is not a best-practice recommendation regardless, but the plugin may not be available on your user’s phone and therefore not even render. Instead, try using some HTML5 to create new and improved special effects to keep your users engaged while creating a unique experience.
2. While you’re at it, get rid of popups
While certain popups may be helpful on desktop sites, it can be a nightmare for users to interact with these on mobile sites. Think of it this way; your phone screen is relatively the size of a desktop-sized popup – and scaling that down to fit within a device screen just isn’t practical. Save your bounce rate and eliminate this unfriendly boundary.
3. Adjust your titles & meta descriptions
While on the subject of screen size, consider this factor when creating titles, URLs, and meta descriptions. Phone screens are small! So rely on readability. How do you do this? Focus on being concise with your keywords and understanding user intent. It’s important to remember this doesn’t mean sacrificing important information, but being short and sweet.
4. Organise your structured data
Take advantage of using schemas to organise information for Google and create rich snippets in the SERPs. While Google gets more structured information about your business (for example, maybe its offline office address or phone number), users get a more in-depth search result that can show ratings, shortened URLs, and more. It’s a win-win! For more information on schema markups check out a guide here, and for a simplified way to implement the code onto your new mobile-friendly site check out this user-friendly code.
5. Think about your audience & local SEO
Is your target local or international? If you have a local audience, remember to consider this when optimising. This is known as local SEO or search engine optimisation for an offline store’s online presence. This will help your client show up on the map pack as well as the carousel of results on the SERPs. For mobile optimisation, this is INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT. Think about it like this, have you ever been out and about and try to find a place for lunch? You’re starving, your friends are picky, but what do you do? Pick up your phone, type in ‘Thai food that also has pizza’ (come on guys, really?) and pick the most relevant search result within the closest proximity. To learn more about local SEO check out this blog.
Last but not least…
Don’t get overwhelmed if you haven’t started the process of optimising from a mobile mindset. Tools like Google Search Console can make your life a lot easier, and the Mobile Usability tool within it will even give you an overview of what is and is not mobile friendly on your site. So don’t wait! Optimise your site today for more mobile-friendly tomorrow.