This is a guest article by Anna Robeson. Want to become a regular contributor? Check out our guest blogging guidelines.
Internet users nowadays access websites from a multitude of devices, not just PC’s and laptops, but also tablets and mobile phones and this leaves website designers with a delicate issue that needs solving: making sure that no matter the screen size and the device from which a site is being accessed, the quality of the web browsing and the experience remains excellent for the mobile visitor.
This is no easy task to accomplish, especially since, according to specialists, the most website surfers use their mobile or tablet instead of their laptop, and if a site is not correctly designed to offer smooth browsing, users will simply leave the website and will not visit it the second time. And because a high bounce rate (the percentage of visitors who enter a site and leave it immediately) is detrimental to your website, mobile visitors and your business, optimizing your design to accommodate such users should be a top priority.
The concept of Mobile SEO deals with exactly this problem: it caters to the careful optimization of sites for the mobile web. Your brand image and the way potential customers or partners see you results from not only the quality of your products, but also from how professional you and the employees they come in contact with behave, and most of all, from the way your website is constructed. All reputable SEO companies know that scoring high in search engine rankings is therefore not the only side of a coin. Being user friendly, and most of all mobile optimized is key. Here are a few mobile SEO tips to get your site up and going in the right department:
1. Responsive Design
This approach allows easy tracking because you are no longer forced to serve different URL’s to your customers if you build the mobile version of your site using plugins ( MobilePress for instance for WordPress) or using responsive design. As a result, you site traffic and your back-links will all be pointing to the correct URL and you will be losing no traffic and no link juice. Responsive design also makes it unnecessary to design different versions of the website in accordance to screen sizes. This saves up a lot of time and most importantly, lots of nerves. Lastly, but most importantly, mobile visitors like a Responsive design because it is consistent through different media.
2. Mobile Sitemap
Generating a mobile sitemap is essential so that users find their way up and around your site, so this is the next logical step. You can easily set up a Sitemap using user-friendly tools. This will help with content indexing, and it will also make it easier for the mobile visitor to find the things that he needs on your pages.
3. Submit your Sitemap to Mobile Search Engines
Having generated a Sitemap is not enough, you also have to make your site score high in search engines and be visible to mobile visitors. Submitting your sitemap to Mobile Search Engines makes your site open to queries (submitting to Bing webmasters gives you better indexing).
Be sure to know exactly the language in which your site is coded in (XHTML) because each of these coding languages are interpreted differently by search engines and they will serve search requests differently depending on the language your site is coded in.
4. Mobile Site Optimization
Load time, ease of access, user friendliness are essential aspects that mobile visitors actually pay much attention to. As page scroll speed and such other aspects are important for a website, optimizing your mobile site so that your users don’t waste their time is a must. Remember that load times for PC’s, tablets and phones are not all the same, so the mobile version of your site needs to be as light as possible in order to ensure fast loading times. No visitor has the patience to wait for slow loading websites, so make sure your load times are under one second. Surfing on tablets of mobile phones is also not ideal, so make sure your site is keyword rich and easy to get around on.
5. Pop-Ups or Overlays
While a PC can handle some Pop-ups and overlays without giving up or becoming obnoxious, mobile devices aren’t able to handle pop ups very well. Make great efforts to offer your customers a completely pop-up free website in order to shield them from ugly user experience and yourself from a bad brand image.
6. Social Media
Engaging on social media platforms is essential to mobile visitors, especially since they will most likely visit your site because of status updates or tweets that involve your URL. Sharing content or updates of relevance is as important as incorporating social media buttons into the site itself so that users are encouraged to actively engage with one and other through your site.
In conclusion, it is essential that website designers do not ignore their mobile visitors because they are surely overgrowing the conventional PC users and will become the predominant half of daily visitors, so pleasing them by means of mobile SEO optimization will make the difference between those sites which make it and those which don’t.