In a bid to capture an even greater share of the mobile search market, Google has finally rolled out a mobile index for its search results, which will take priority over its desktop results. While most of the ranking factors will remain the same, mobile speed and UX will be great determinants of mobile success.
Roughly 60% of Google searches arise from mobile devices, although conversion rates tend to be lower over mobile. This fits in well with the theory users that tend to use their phones to look for information and their desktop device to make purchases.
The statistics of mobile search prove its utility, regardless of the mobile first index:
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- According to comScore, 78% of mobile searches for local businesses lead to a future purchase from that business.
- 50% of mobile local searches result in an instore visit that day
- 50% of local mobile searches are for business NAP information
- 57% of customers would not recommend a site with a poor mobile interface
With the mobile first index, sites without a mobile friendly design will see a huge portion of their traffic disappear. That’s why I’ve offered some tips to help you prepare and optimize.
According to Google industry benchmarks, it still takes the average site 15 seconds to load over a mobile device. That’s bad news considering that 40% of customers will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Here are some ways you can optimize your page speed for a responsive website or mobile domain:
- Render above-the-fold content before loading content below-the-fold
- Enable compression on images
- Reduce server response time
- Enable browser caching
There are a number of ways you can design a website for mobile, including:
- Dynamic mobile domain
- Responsive Web Design (RWD)
- Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
- Progressive Web-Apps (PWA)
Responsive web design used to be the gold standard, but RWD does not prioritize speed like AMP or PWA. RWD was designed to simplify web design by using block interfaces that are responsive to the size of the user device.
AMP is essentially a stripped down HTML copy of your existing mobile page and is designed to load lightning fast. In fact, Google has prioritized AMP web pages in the past and many speculate that it could soon become a ranking factor.
PWAs are websites that are designed to look and feel like apps. While more costly to develop, PWAs offer exceptional page speed with more intuitive interfaces. Deciding on one or the other depends on your budget and technical skills. Most CMS’s offer AMP plug-ins to automatically optimize your webpages with the AMP format.
Optimizing your Technical SEO
Along the same lines, there are steps you need to take to optimize your technical SEO for mobile. This includes:
- Optimizing meta tags for mobile screens and voice search
- Updating structured data to signal that specific content is meant for mobile
- Rendering images in smaller pixelations
- Optimizing hreflang tags for users in different regions or who speak different languages
- Adjusting search console and xml sitemap to index and crawl mobile specific pages
Creating Mobile Friendly Content
On the same note, you must optimize content for mobile to both maintain your page speed, as well as deliver a more valued user experience. Everything from text and image size to the length of content must be altered to fit the viewing habits of mobile users and device limitations.
Eliminate all pop-ups, flash, and CSS above-the-fold to give users a fast load out and an undistracted mobile consumption experience.
On the same note, it’s keen to optimize content for voice search queries. For example, breaking up posts into individual subtopics that answer direct user questions not only leads to a more value mobile experience but a greater opportunity for a featured snippet.
Smoothing the Mobile Journey
Focusing on your UX and UI are crucial in increasing your mobile dwell time and reducing your bounce rate. Not only does your website have to compete against other mobile websites, but native apps as well, which tend to load faster and offer more immersive experiences.
Prioritize micro-interactions with noticeable tactile responses. From tapping to swiping, try to create rewarding experiences, even if it’s just a pleasant sound or visual page response for each page action.
Focus Tracking on Mobile
Finally, whether it’s enlisting in social media optimization services or local SEO, focus your tracking on mobile users. This includes measuring attribution models to include mobile first touches, conversion rates by mobile users, and traffic from mobile devices.
With the arrival of the mobile first index, expect to see a huge impact on your KPIs. Follow these tips and monetize this new trend.
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