When we own a website, we do a lot to help it get discovered in the SERPs. Optimizing involves improving the aspects of the site so that it can bring in traffic and conversions.
We drive traffic to our site, including but not limited to, keyword research, increasing page speed, and link building. Quality backlinks show Google that your website is credible and worth citation.
When optimizing your website for desktop, it is also crucial to optimize for mobile devices as well. In 2020, mobile devices (except tablets) generated 51.3% of the world’s web traffic.
With that being said, here are ways we can optimize websites for mobile phones.
Test your website with Google’s mobile-friendly tool
When I’m working with my SEO clients I will regularly tell them to test their site’s mobile friendliness.
Google offers free online tools to evaluate how mobile-friendly your website is and provides tips to help you optimize it.
We have over 30 search engines in the world, but Google remains king. It takes up about 91.75% of the search engine market share worldwide in 2020. It makes sense to use all the tools Google has available for us.
One of the tools we should utilize is Google’s mobile-friendly test. This tool helps us check how easily a visitor can view a page on a mobile device. When you enter your page’s URL, it will analyze and tell you whether the page is easy to use on a mobile device.
Google’s mobile-friendly test will help you find issues and provide the necessary resources to fix it.
Use a responsive web design
It’s crucial to choose a responsive web design. This design will allow websites and pages to adapt to all devices and screen sizes. If you want to achieve this, start by choosing a WordPress theme that is optimized and won’t affect your website’s overall performance.
There are thousands of themes in WordPress alone, so testing each of them is time-consuming. Fortunately, most themes are responsive. This is particularly true for the WordPress theme directory.
However, before you choose to install, ensure that you’ve read the theme’s description. In most cases, the developer will provide an explicit explanation of its features.
Test your site’s mobile speed
Studies have shown that a slow page load time translates to high bounce rates. A page from 0 to 10 seconds has a 123% probability of a mobile visitor bouncing from it.
For this reason, we should make sure our web pages don’t take more than 3 seconds to load.
If you want to test your site’s mobile speed, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. This is how it appears after we analyzed one of the URLs.
This site’s mobile speed is 2.2 seconds, which is a good rating for a mobile website. Now, if you didn’t get a perfect rating, here are ways to help you land a perfect page score.
- Compress your images – It helps web pages load faster and takes up less space on a web host.
- Implement caching – caching reduces bandwidth and reduces network traffic.
- Minify your code – It helps reduce load time and bandwidth usage on websites.
- Use Content Delivery Network (CDN) – It delivers content at top speed to visitors from different geographical locations.
Use accelerated mobile pages (AMP)
As part of Google’s mission to make mobile surfing a smoother experience, Google launched the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project. Since it was unveiled in 2015, many site owners use AMP to boost their pages’ performance on mobile devices.
AMP is an open-source HTML aimed at making a better and faster mobile experience. What makes AMP fast is limited tags, streamlined CSS, designed to be heavily cached, etc.
If you want to create your AMP pages, start with the AMP plugin for WordPress.
Use schema markup
Schema markup is a code that helps users get informative results from search engines. Adding schema to HTML helps enhance how your page appears on SERPs by displaying a rich snippet beneath or above the title page.
Here is how a schema looks like on SERPs.
Why is schema markup important?
- It provides rich information for the users.
- It helps improve CTR and conversions.
- It provides relevant traffic to your website.
Schema helps you rank better for all types of content such as:
- Local businesses
Redesign your pop-ups
Although pop-ups have been an effective way of grabbing a reader’s attention, they have also become a problem, especially when viewed on mobile devices. Google implemented penalties for websites that do not follow the pop-up rules.
To avoid being penalized, follow these guidelines to optimize your pop-ups on mobile.
- Use device-specific display rules
- Use a responsive layout and design
- Ensure that your website visitors have the option to decline pop-up offers
- Do not show intrusive pop-ups
- Optimize the load time
- Avoid images
Integrate social media buttons
Adding social media buttons to your website helps increase traffic. Therefore, It’s crucial to optimize them for mobile users.
For instance, leveraging WhatsApp for mobile devices. When people click such a button, it takes them directly to their WhatsApp mobile app.
Make the buttons more prominent. Bigger buttons may come off as needy, but there’s no denying that they get clicked more than smaller buttons. Also, choose the ones your visitors use frequently.
This is also a crucial factor when it comes to link building. Social media shares may not directly affect your ranking, but it’s an excellent way to improve your brand’s name, popularity, and trustworthiness. It increases the chances of you to get organic backlinks.
Flash is a multimedia platform for adding animations, explainer videos, mobile games. It is embedded in web browser video players.
Here is an example of a flash website called clouds over Cuba.
If you think your website will bring extra value to readers by providing audio, animation, and video interactivity, then a flash website might work.
However, the downside of using flash for those who want their website to appear in SERPs.
- Flash takes longer to load than HTML websites
- Flash does not appear in search engine previews
- Search engines have a hard time indexing content of flash websites
- Google banned the use of flash from the AMP project.
Also, most mobile devices don’t support flash, especially Apple phones.
Here is how the website cloud over Cuba appears on an iPhone browser.
With a growing number of people using mobile phones, a flash may hinder them from viewing your website.
Half of the global traffic comes from mobile devices. Therefore, optimizing a website for mobile use is an essential aspect of a digital marketing strategy.
We can do that by using Google tools (since Google takes the number one spot among search engines), using responsive web designs, improving mobile web speed, using AMP, and more.
Mobile optimization is crucial to maintain or increase SERP ranking.
James is an SEO consultant based in London. Working with clients around the world to get more traffic from search.