If you want to see consistent organic traffic you can’t ignore your mobile audience. Roughly half of the world’s Internet traffic is on mobile – which is a pretty big percentage. This isn’t too surprising since most people are glued to their smartphones from the moment they wake up until they lie in bed for the night.
The convenience of having constant access to the Internet has also changed people’s behaviors and expectations when it comes to finding information and interacting with businesses. They expect to find everything they need online and they want to be able to communicate their concerns anytime they feel like it.
Google has already recognized the importance of mobile search and has since completely switched over to mobile-first indexing. If your website is not optimized for the mobile experience, you’ll have a much harder time showing up on the first few pages of search engine results. This means your competitors will end up getting all those clicks and your traffic will never get any traction.
Here are some essential mobile SEO strategies you can implement to better address an ever growing mobile market.
Audit Your Site
Before diving any deeper, the first thing to do is to perform an SEO audit of your site. This will allow you to pinpoint and fix any major technical and content-related issues.
Here are a couple of tools you can use to get you started:
These should help you identify issues with your on-site and off-site SEO, backlinks, keywords, and content, just to name a few.
Switch to a Responsive Mobile-Friendly Design
Responsive web design is all about ensuring your website adapts well to screen sizes and resolutions. It shouldn’t matter whether your visitors are viewing your website on their smartphone, tablet or computer. The design, content and overall experience should translate well on any screen it’s being viewed on.
If your website was originally designed with only computer screens in mind, some issues may arise when trying to make it more responsive. In these cases, it’s sometimes better to redesign it from the ground up with a clear focus on the mobile experience.
It’s much easier to adapt mobile-focused designs to desktop than the other way around. If your site is too complex, or has too many advanced features, you might also want to just create and maintain a separate mobile site for it.
To verify if it even needs to be redesigned for mobile devices, you can use Google’s handy Mobile-Friendly Test. If it shows up as mobile friendly, then it can be easily indexed by Google’s site crawlers.
Optimize Page Speed
If your website takes more than a couple of seconds to load up, a good portion of your visitors will be tempted to hit the back button and move on to the next search result. This becomes more of a problem when your visitors are stuck with a poor mobile connection with slower Internet speeds.
Search engines keep track of how long someone spends on your site after they click on your link from the search results page. When people don’t spend much time on your site, search engines will consider it a bounce. A higher bounce rate gives the impression that your site doesn’t offer much value to the reader and will eventually downgrade your position in the search rankings. If you want to lower your bounce rate and improve your search rankings, you have to make sure your pages load up as quickly as possible.
You can test your page speed by going to GTmetrix or Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
Improve the Mobile User Experience
Another way to ensure the people will spend more time on your site is by optimizing your website’s layout and user interface to cater more to mobile users. This improves their overall user experience, which in turn will increase the average time each user spends on your site.
Avoid intrusive pop-ups that block access to your page content. A lot of pop-ups can easily block an entire smartphone screen, so use them sparingly and make them easy to exit out of. Make sure your menu and call-to-action buttons can be easily found and clicked on. Format your content so that readers can easily scroll through it and quickly understand your main talking points. These are just a couple of ways you can make your site easier to use and your content easier to consume for mobile users.
Have a Solid Local SEO Strategy
Modern smartphones can provide a user’s location with good accuracy even if its GPS functions are turned off. This extra information gives search engines, apps, and other services the ability to provide more personalized experiences.
For example, when someone searches for restaurants, search engines will put local establishments higher up the rankings because they’ll be more useful than places that are hundreds of miles away. Mobile users are also more likely to be on the go when they’re browsing on their smartphones, which makes localized results even more useful.
If you want your page to show up in relevant local searches, you’ll also need a solid local SEO strategy. Otherwise, search engines won’t be able to match you with users in the area.
To start off, your website needs to have updated addresses and phone numbers. You should also have content that targets local keywords and addresses the needs of your local market so that you’ll have better visibility. Claim your Google My Business and Yelp pages since search engines also crawl through those sites for relevant local information. Something as simple as adding your website address and phone number to local directories makes it easier for potential clients to call you and ask for additional information.
Optimize Content for Voice Search
The use of voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant is steadily increasing. According to Google, as of 2018, around 27% of the global population is already using voice search on mobile.
The main difference between text and voice searches are the way search queries are worded. Voice search keywords are much longer and conversational because users will typically ask a question as if they’re talking to another person. Instead of typing in ‘best tailor New York’, someone is more likely to say, ‘Who’s the best tailor in New York?’.
You can capture more of these voice search keywords by adding content that directly addresses people’s most commonly asked questions. To make this easier, you can add an FAQ page or add knowledge base articles to your site. This type of content is more geared towards providing short and direct answers to people’s questions.
What’s unique about voice search results is that voice assistants will read back results that are on the featured snippet, which is not always going to be the same as the highest ranking search result. The featured snippet that shows up on top of all other search results will contain one or two sentences that directly answer a question.
Look for New Mobile Keywords
When you check your website analytics, find out which pages are getting more traffic from mobile users. This should give you a better idea of what type of information mobile users tend to look for. You’ll most likely find local and voice search related keywords there. But you may also be able to identify additional keyword trends that can help guide your keyword research and improve your content strategy.
Your mobile audience should be one of your top priorities. You not only need to make sure your website is properly designed to provide a great user experience for mobile users, you should also consider the content they will want to see. To help guide your decision making, make sure to check your analytics and use the proper SEO tools to find out how you can better serve mobile users.