A Guide to Website Optimization for Mobile Devices

For every website, being mobile friendly is now a must. Traffic from mobile devices is now higher than those from desktops and laptops and so it is important that you test your website mobile friendliness as it is now a key factor. It has been included in Google's ranking factor. To learn about search engine optimization, read this Introduction to SEO

Also read:

A Simple Guide to Website Performance Evaluation

How to fix a slow-loading website

How to Get Best Speed Performance with WordPress

Why Take Mobile Optimization Seriously?

Searches on Google from mobile are more than desktop, Amazon made more sales from mobile in 2015 and Facebook is being used more frequently on mobile than tablets or desktops. These highlight the importance of a mobile friendly website and how it can improve your sales and profits.

Read also: OnPage SEO Guide for top search engine ranking

Websites that are not mobile friendly cannot achieve good sales results today and their ranking will drop and visitors will also drop. Ranking and visitors are directly correlated. According to internet reports, the top 5 websites on the front page attract over 60percent of the traffic related to the keyword. That means, you must take the ranking position of your website seriously.

Also read: How to Use Keywords in Website Content for SEO Gains

Is Mobile SEO Different from normal SEO?

Google takes into account, a number of factors when accessing the ranking of a webpage for mobile search. Apart from the most common factors including content, titles, descriptions and links, Google also takes into account some other factors including the following:

1. Layout of the page - Google checks the page layout to see that the page can render properly on mobile without having left and right scrollbars.
2. Accessibility - buttons, text and images should be large enough and be accessible with ease without the user having to zoom in or out.
3. Speed - Speed is a ranking factor for desktop and a very important usability factor for mobile. Google is very serious about page loading times on mobile and that's why they have introduced and pushing for the implementation of accelerated mobile pages.
4.Location - When using a mobile device to conduct a search on Google, your actual location is known and the result is customized for your location.

One interesting thing about mobile assessment by Google is that it is done on a page by page basis and not a site wide signal, so it doesn't matter if not all your website pages are mobile friendly.

Now, Let's Look at How to Optimize your Website for mobile Devices

The first thing you need to check is whether your website passes the mobile friendly test or not. Google has introduced a nice tool for testing your website's mobile friendliness. All you have to do is enter your URL and click the ANALYZE button. The tool will give you a list of things to improve in case the page does not pass the test.

Click to test your website's Mobile Friendliness

f your website passed this test, then it is great! You can now concentrate on improving the overall user experience on mobile devices.

Option 1: Fix the problems.

After your test, you will be shown areas that require attention. You need to fix the problem.

Option 2: Change your theme.

Sometimes it could be more difficult trying non-mobile friendly theme compatible with mobile devices and in such cases, it could just be best to switch to a theme that is already mobile friendly.

There is a lot of work involved in changing your theme but in this case the benefits gained from mobile traffic are much more and certainly worth the money and time spent.

Option 3. Adopt A Responsive Design

This is the option that has been recommended by Google and used by the majority of the websites designers. It has a lot of advantages, one of them being that you won't have to maintain a different set of pages for desktop and mobile. This also implies that any SEO work you do for your desktop version will apply to the mobile version.
Don't forget that besides the mobile friendly test, another way to test your website on various mobile devices is to use the mobile device emulator that is built in in Google Chrome. Open a new chrome window and navigate to the website to test. Right click anywhere on the page and select INSPECT from the dropdown menu. Click the mobile icon and select the device from the dropdown list located on the top of the page.

Also read: Search Engine Manipulation: What It Is And Why google Frowns At It

Common mistakes with mobile friendly websites

Our experience in moving client websites to mobile friendly version has identified some common mistakes with moving to mobile-friendly versions. We will look at each one of them:

1. Avoid blocking Googlebot from accessing all of your website: Google is able to see a website like a normal user so you shouldn't block any resources (JavaScript or CSS files) from being accessed by Google. Ensure that Google can access all the required resources.

2. Having a responsive design is not enough. You need to test your website thoroughly on mobile and try to improve the user experience. One of the things you can consider is hiding certain parts of the website from mobile users.

3. Have good conversion optimization: Passing the mobile friendly test and having a fast loading responsive website is a great first step but this does not ensure that you will also get conversions from mobile. Ensure your actionable points are clear and easy to access. For example, make your buy now button very accessible and easy to complete.

4. If your design pushes your buttons, product offerings, or other important areas of your website down the page, then you need to make changes so that these are closer to the top and visible to the user without having to scroll too much.

5. Try to eliminate any thing that make the users put in extra effort to use your website and the services that are provided.

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