August 16, 2023
Why Your Small Business Needs Mobile SEO Services
Mobile devices have become the primary means of internet access in today’s digital age. According to SimilarWeb, 65.93% of all internet users browse from their smartphones versus 32.06% who surf the net using desktop computers and laptops.
As Google adapted to this growing trend by modifying its algorithm to focus on mobile searches, businesses should do the same. Even companies with a loyal customer base risk losing potential customers and falling behind competitors by not adapting. This is where Mobile SEO comes in.
What is Mobile SEO?
Mobile Search Engine Optimization is the practice of improving the website experience of users on smartphones and tablets. This means tweaking the design, content, and other page elements so that mobile web browsers properly render your website.
The nature of mobile search
Short queries, high search volume, and a preference for local results characterize mobile search. Mobile users use voice search and rely heavily on autocomplete suggestions to refine their queries. They also expect faster page load times and a seamless user experience.
Challenges of Mobile SEO
Benefits of Mobile SEO Services
Businesses that have invested in professional Mobile SEO services are rewarded with tangible and intangible benefits such as:
Improved mobile user experience
A fully mobile-optimized website will allow users to easily interact and navigate between web pages. With improved user experience, your business can raise customer satisfaction, reduce the number of mobile users exiting your page (aka bounces), and raise conversion rates.
Greater visibility in search engines
Google wants all websites to comply with Mobile SEO best practices, those that do so will be in their good graces and rewarded with excellent positions in mobile search results. This, in turn, will help your company build a strong online presence and make it easier for potential customers to reach your mobile site.
Increased website traffic
A good position in search engine results usually translates into more website visitors. That’s because the number one result in Google Search results gets clicked by 27.6% of all internet users. Websites get fewer clicks the further down they are in the rankings.
Conversions can be a numbers game. So the more website visitors you get, the higher your chances of turning them into sales. In short, Mobile SEO = better rankings = web traffic increase = more leads = more conversions = higher revenue.
Mobile SEO best practices
You now know what Mobile SEO can do for your business but how exactly would you optimize your website? In this part, we’ll show you which page elements need attention and how to ensure they are rendered properly on mobile platforms:
Adopt a mobile-friendly website design
A mobile-friendly web design automatically scales down images and font sizes to fit the limited screen size of mobile devices. A good design will also rearrange page elements, that have horizontal placements in the desktop version, in a vertical sequence in mobile browsers. When done correctly, the mobile site will look like a minified version of your website.
Avoid excessive JS and CSS
Page load speed is a ranking factor because Google understands that not all mobile users enjoy high-speed internet connections. Some of them may live in areas with spotty data reception or their internet service provider is just subpar. Whatever the case is, the standards dictate that websites should load fast enough even if users have a shitty internet connection.
Prerender your website (optional)
Use short metadata
Screen size limitation is a challenge not just for design but also for content. A long heading that looks good on desktop may look ugly and take up several lines when displayed on mobile. That said, the title tag, meta description, and headings should be concise and not exceed character counts. Keep page titles and headings under 60 characters and limit your meta descriptions to under 120 characters.
Shorten your content
Even short paragraphs on desktop will appear longer on mobile devices. That’s why it’s best to keep page copy introductions brief and reduce the number of sentences in a paragraph. This way, users can skim your content and get the information they need quickly.
Add plenty of white space
There’s a lot of pinching and swiping when browsing on mobile devices. Users may accidentally tap something if there’s insufficient spacing between text blocks, buttons, images, or links. This is especially true if the user has oily or sticky fingers. That said, increase the margins between page elements to minimize unwanted taps.
Compress and lazy load images
Modern CMS such as WordPress and Webflow have built-in functions or plugins that will compress and convert JPG, GIF, and PNG images into WEBP format. This new image format is preferred by search engine bots as its file size is smaller than its predecessors.
Lazy loading images means configuring images to be loaded upon request. So when a user opens your mobile website, not all images are loaded immediately. Only the ones in the top fold of the page are rendered initially, the rest are loaded when the user scrolls down the page.
Utilize aria-labels and alt-texts
The number of people using screen readers and other assistive technology is growing over the years. These apps help visually impaired individuals access the internet by reading aloud the text of a website. Screen readers can’t process images, buttons, and links that’s why aria-labels and image alt-texts are needed to describe what that object is. aria-labels and alt-text will also help Siri or Alexa find your mobile site in voice searches.
How to implement Mobile SEO
Now that you understand the best practices of Mobile SEO, it’s time to implement it on your website. Here are three ways to make your website mobile-friendly:
A mobile-responsive design is arguably the easiest way to optimize your website for mobile devices. In this implementation, the HTML code stays the same on mobile and desktop versions but the CSS adjusts how it's displayed in different screen sizes. You can see this setup in action on Serphead.com itself. Just browse our website on mobile and on a desktop to see the difference.
In dynamic serving/rendering, the website URL stays the same but the webserver is configured to provide different HTML codes depending on the user’s device. This method can be problematic as servers can mistakenly provide the incorrect version of a page. A server might show the mobile version to desktop users, for example.
The third option is to create two sets of URLs and two sets of HTML codes, one for mobile and one for desktop. A client of ours, BSpin, has gone this route. Their desktop URL is https://bspin.io, while their mobile site’s URL is https://m.bspin.io. One thing to note is that this Mobile SEO configuration requires the correct application of rel=canonical tags to let search engines know which one is the original version.
Mobile SEO tools
So you followed the best practices and implemented Mobile SEO, what’s next? How would you know if your website truly is mobile and user-friendly? There are several tools to test your website and you don’t have to spend anything for them as they are free. These are:
Google Mobile-Friendly Test
The Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool checks whether a website is mobile-friendly and provides suggestions for improving its mobile-friendliness. It’s a simple test that tells whether or not your website can provide a seamless user experience on mobile devices.
Google PageSpeed Insights
Google PageSpeed Insights is a tool that analyzes a website's core web vitals which are LCP, FID, and CLS. LCP or Largest Contentful Paint refers to the load time of the main content. FID or First Input Delay measures the time when the user can start interacting with the page. CLS or Cumulative Layout Shift measures how much the page elements move unintentionally as they load.
Just paste your URL to the address bar and click the Analyze button to get a diagnosis and list of all issues that slow your website’s load time.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another free tool but is more comprehensive than the tools listed above. Log in using your Gmail credentials then add your website as a property. Once added, head to the Experience section in the sidebar to see the areas of improvement on your website.
GTMetrix measures LCP, FID, and CLS just like Page Speed Insights. The difference is that this tool also measures how fast your website loads in the real world. GTMetrix is really helpful if your business has an international customer base.
Paid subscription tools (optional)
If you want to cover all the bases, you may want to check out SEMrush and Ahrefs. They are all-in-one SEO tools to check mobile usability but also provide businesses with various features such as keyword research, organic traffic analysis, and on-page SEO recommendations.
DIY or hire an SEO agency?
A website that is optimized for mobile is no longer optional but essential. But the question is, should you do it yourself or hire a Mobile SEO agency to do it for you?
Anyone can optimize their website with proper guidance. Just the tips we’ve enumerated above should get you started. However, beginners will take a longer time to do a complete technical SEO and mobile optimization. There’s also the danger of breaking the website if a critical mistake(s) is made.
A website’s content management system is also a factor in Mobile SEO. Lack of a CMS or one with little SEO functionality (looking at you Wix) will make it difficult for beginners to implement the needed changes to the website.
Here at Serphead, we can fully optimize your website for you. Our Mobile SEO experts have been in the industry for 15 years and have a proven track record of success and experience working with businesses like yours. Our Mobile SEO services are not just a one-time thing either. As long as you have us, we’ll continue tweaking your website to comply with Google's mobile-first index standards.
Leave Mobile SEO to us so you can devote all your time to growing your business!