In our always-connected world, it’s important for any organization to be able to reach people no matter where they are or what device they are using. This was made especially clear earlier this year, when Google announced that it would take websites’ mobile-friendliness into account when determining how they rank in search results. The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) community dubbed this change “Mobilegeddon,” since it had the potential to affect a huge number of websites which had not yet been optimized for mobile.
The reason for this change was made obvious when Google revealed that as of May 2015, more searches take place on mobile devices than on desktops or tablets. If a website isn’t taking mobile users into account, it is not only providing a less-than-optimal experience for a large portion of its audience, it will now be less likely to rank in search results, meaning that it will be harder for users to find in the first place.
How Can I Make My Site Mobile-Friendly?
The need for mobile-friendliness makes sense in theory, but how can website owners make sure they are doing everything they can to receive the best possible search rankings and reach as many users as possible? Searchmetrics recently released their Mobile Ranking Factors 2015 report (registration required), which looks at data gathered before and after Google’s mobile-friendly update to determine which factors affect mobile search rankings. Here are some of the insights the report provides:
Performance Is Important
Since mobile devices operate on limited bandwidth, it’s important for websites to load quickly without requiring the download of large files. The report found that the average loading time for the top ten mobile search results is 1.10 seconds. Also, the top mobile search results had smaller average file sizes than the top desktop searches, demonstrating the need to keep file sizes small for mobile users, which will provide better performance.
Pay Attention to UX
Since mobile devices have smaller screen sizes, website owners need to ensure that they are providing a good user experience (UX) that allows people to navigate the site easily and intuitively. The report found that the top mobile search results had larger fonts, fewer interactive elements, and fewer images than the top desktop search results. This demonstrates the importance of keeping content simple, clearly structured, and easy to read for mobile users.
Content Is King, But Don’t Forget About Social Media
Providing quality, relevant content is one of the most important factors for receiving higher search rankings. While the report found that the top mobile search results had a lower average word count than the top desktop search results, it also found that it is important for content to include a variety of terms which are related to the keywords which people are searching for. This means that content can’t simply be stuffed with the terms that a site owner expects people to search for; it has to include value for the site’s users.
In addition to content, the report also showed that the top results in both mobile and desktop searches have a large number of social signals through Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. This demonstrates the importance of sharing content on social channels and engaging with your audience.
The Searchmetrics report contains many more valuable insights, but much of it can be boiled down to the need to create relevant content and a good user experience for every user, no matter what device they are using. If you need help determining whether your site is receiving the best possible search rankings or whether you need to address any issues that may be negatively impacting people’s ability to find you online, please contact us, and our SEO experts will work with you to help you achieve the search rankings that you deserve.