50% of web traffic comes from organic search, and with the latest changes in Google weighing on your mind, you may be wondering if you are doing enough to rank your site on a mobile search.
As Google’s mobile-first update rolled out, latecomers to the mobile playground scrambled to get their sites up to date with best practices. Many sites that suffered the slap haven’t yet seen their rankings go back up even after their sites have completed optimization steps to be mobile-friendly.
If you are worried about your own website and wondering about what optimizing steps you need to take, continue reading this article to learn the necessary steps to claim your rightful spot in the SERPs.
Optimization Steps for Ranking Your Site in the Search Engines
As you look at your Google Analytics dashboard or another SEO tool, you may not be happy with what you see and feel your dreams of being an internet superstar slipping away. If your website has experienced a drop in traffic or if your rankings are going up as you want, there are ways to optimize your website, so you have the opportunity to win in the mobile SEO game.
Instead of being afraid of the new updates that favor mobile-friendly websites, it is time to use this update as a competitive advantage. With over 58% of searches coming from Google are now done on a mobile device, you can’t afford to ignore these updates.
1. Use Google’s Mobile Usability Test
Google offers many tools to help you create a site that is high-quality and helpful. When you are working to make your website mobile-friendly, you can use their mobile usability test that is available through Google Search Console.
If mobile users aren’t able to use your site easily, this tool will let you know. Not only will you be able to see users are having challenges with your mobile site, but you will get tips on how to fix these challenges.
Taking action on even one of the tips offered to you in this section can help how your site performs in the search engines.
2. Responsive Web Design
There are a couple of main ways to make your website mobile-friendly. One of those ways is by creating a separate version of your website designed for mobile users. This is usually called the “M” version of a website.
While you will serve a mobile version of your website to mobile users, you won’t be providing them with the best experience with this method. Besides for not providing the best user experience possible, you will create a lot of extra work for yourself or the development team.
When you have a responsive web design, the design is able to tell what device the user is viewing your website from. When it figures out the device, it then serves content that will look the best on that device.
There are many different platforms to build your website and you may have even outsourced the building of your website. Find out what the fastest themes and templates are on the platform you are using so you can get the best results.
3. Don’t Go Overboard with Your Pop-Ups
It can be tempting to put a big pop-up on your website so users will opt-in immediately but Google isn’t in love with the user experience this provides. You may decide you want to do away with the pop-ups on your page altogether or you could opt to use a smaller pop-up.
Whenever implementing any changes on your site, always ask yourself whether these changes benefit the user that is coming to your site. If you don’t think your pop-up is going to give most of your readers the best experience, you might want to leave it out of your design.
If you want to test how a pop-up will affect your site, you should keep a close eye on your rankings. If you notice they start to go south, remove the pop-up and go back to a clean design.
4. Focus on Site Speed
One of the recent Google updates put a heavy emphasis on site speed. Some of the ways you can increase your site speed and user experience are:
- Optimizing images
- Using cache
- Using AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
- Using a CDN
If images on your site aren’t optimized, this can cause your site to load very slow. You can optimize images through “squishing” your images which will reduce the size of your images. Reducing the size of your images is a major way to decrease the time your website takes to load.
Using browser cache is easy. Whenever you update your website, make sure you clear your cache, so your new website version is available to visitors.
AMP is a stripped-down version of your website. It is designed to help your website load quickly on mobile devices. AMP pages load around four times faster than pages that are not AMP.
CDN stands for content delivery network. A CDN can greatly increase the speed that visitors are able to load your website. CDNs deliver your content from different places all over the world and choose whichever delivery point is closest to your visitor.
If you are a local business that only has viewers from one area, a CDN isn’t important. When you have visitors from all over the world, a CDN will make a big difference. CDNs are optimized in a way that enables content such as images to be sent is the quickest way possible when a visitor queries your website.
5. Be User Experience (UX) Oriented
Ranking in mobile has everything to do with focusing on your user’s experience. Google needs to keep their search user-focused and part of delivering a good service is making sure SERP users get the best results when they use Google.
Here are some important fixes you can implement for a better UX:
- Use White Space
- Use Attractive CTAs
- Use Bullet Points and Number Lists
- Keep Your Website’s Pages Consistent
- Fix or Redirect Any 404s
When your visitors are reading on a small screen, give them more white space so it is easier to read. If your text is too close together they are likely to spend less time reading and click away to another site.
Attractive CTAs won’t only get your users to take the desired action, but it will make their experience pleasing to the eye. CTAs keep people engaged with your site by guiding them from one place to another. Look at your website and see where you can add some to your content.
Using bullet points or numbered lists is another great way to break up content. Providing variation is moderation will allow you to keep your readers engaged and on your website.
Your website visitors are used to a certain experience once they land on your site. If you use a specific format most of the time – you should use it all of the time. Consistent formatting will make it easier for your visitors to know where to find content and how to consume it.
If you have broken links on your website, this provides a very poor user experience. Your visitors not only are likely to click away when they find a 404 but they are likely to get a bad feel for your brand. Fix any 404 error by redirecting or posting content on the URL in question.
6. Optimize Title & Description Tags for Mobile
When you are writing your title and description, you will have different limits on desktop and mobile. Google tends to play around with these limits but right now you can add more text in your titles and description for mobile.
If you want to get a higher CTR, additional compelling text can be helpful. You can choose to have your text cut off in desktop view to get higher CTR when people search for your results in mobile searches.
Creating powerful titles and descriptions is important when you want to increase the number of people that click through to your content after seeing it in the search engines.
7. Monitor Your Site Regularly
Keeping tabs on what is going on with your website will allow you to stay on top of issues as soon as they come up. Many times webmasters don’t pay attention or notice possible problems until their website traffic starts to decrease.
Instead of waiting for a problem to surface, keep an eye on your site speed, possible problems that will cause 404 errors, update old content on your site and anything else you know is important to keep monitoring.
The Journey to the Front Page
As you journey to the first page, you may experience detours and challenges. Following the optimization steps in this article will help you avoid many of these challenges and push you toward success in the search engines.
Being at the top of the search engines could save you thousands of dollars that you would have otherwise had to put out for ads on AdWords, Facebook, Instagram or other advertising platforms. The time and effort you put into fixing your site to be mobile-friendly is worth it since the results you get can last for years to come.