Best Practices for Mobile SEO

Written by: Jason Bayless | June 13, 2016

In April 2015, Google upgraded mobile friendliness to a significant SEO factor. But, what does mobile friendliness mean and how do you achieve it? By following some basic best practices in mobile search engine optimization (SEO), you can easily become mobile friendly, bump yourself up in the rankings and increase your visitors.

The basics
According to Google, following best practices in mobile SEO results in a site that:
– presents content equally well on a cell phone and a computer or tablet without pinching or zooming,
– remains easily readable on all screen sizes,
– users can navigate easily with a finger,
– presents helpful information to one using a mobile device,
– Google properly understands.
Essentially, Google rewards caring sites that take into consideration mobile users’ diminished computing power, potentially dwindling battery and a slow Internet connection.

Mobile Methods
You can make a website mobile through a multitude of methods, but the most common include:
– AMP,
– dynamic serving,
– mobile URLs,
– responsive design.
Google prefers responsive design, the simplest method. If you’re using a site like WordPress or Tumblr to serve your site, the first step toward this simply means choosing a theme that indicates it serves content optimized for mobile devices. Google tests for responsive design with respect to key usability issues. Some of these usability factors scream common sense such as an easily readable text size on any size screen, a legible font, adequately sized tap targets, and site responsiveness via finger touch. It’s also vital to set your viewport, avoid interstitial ads, tweak your CSS file to recognize and represent differing screen sizes, and avoid using plug ins. Google provides a mobile friendly test you can run on your site to identify problem areas.

Local SEO
Users want local information in about 56 percent of mobile searches. Optimize for local SEO by including your business name, address and phone number on each page, commonly in the footer. Create a free Google My Business page and ensure that you enter your business name, address and phone number exactly the same as on your website. Google counts these matching occurences and ranks sites higher the more they occur. Include your city in each page’s title and a short description. For instance, “Tulsa | Your Business Name, Catchy Slogan.” Keep it 70 characters or less, since Google uses the first 70 only.

Quick Tips
Optimize the site for speed. Google considers your load time an important mobile ranking factor. If you include videos offer multiple quality levels so there’s a quickly downloaded option available. Reduce the number of mobile redirects used, to increase page speed.

Don’t block page resources in your robots.txt file. Google needs clear and complete information on your site. That includes your css, javascript and images.

Avoid design requiring horizontal scrolling. Users expect vertical scrolling.

Use short, simple forms. Don’t expect mobile users to complete a lot of information and respect their limited data.

Track your mobile keywords separately. According to Search Engine Land, 62 percent of organic searches return different results, depending on whether conducted on a desktop or a mobile.

Implementing mobile SEO best practices takes little time, but reaps rich rewards. You’ll draw more site visits and attract increased local business by optimizing for mobile.