Mobile searches continue to grow and exceed desktop queries since it was first announced by Google a little over two years ago.
This led to Google’s Mobilegeddon in 2015, which was also referred to as mopocalypse, mobilepocalyse, or mobocalypse, and followed by the announcement of mobile-first indexing in 2017.
To say that the tech giant and is emphasizing on mobile-friendly websites is an understatement. A mobile configuration is the future.
In a recent report by BrightEdge, based on its own customer data, the numbers showed that 57 percent of its traffic comes from mobile and tablet.
This backs the claim that 54 percent of total internet traffic in the US is also generated from smartphones and tablets, according to a report from StatCounter, a free web tracker, and traffic analysis tool.
Some search categories, however, are more popular on mobile than desktop.
Based on an analysis report from Hitwise, a company that measures behavior across devices, between 10 April and 7 May 2017, the number of mobile searches by industry are:
- 72% Food and beverage
- 68% Health and Sports
- 64% News & Media
- 62% Lifestyle and Automotive
- 56% Metal
Combined with the fact that smartphone penetration continues to rise, especially by millennials at 98 percent, going mobile is definitely vital to any business.
Regardless of your target demographics, you are sure to enjoy a piece of the market pie as well. In a Q3 2016 survey from the Nielsen Company, data revealed that smartphone ownership is as follows:
- 87% of men
- 89% of women
- 98% of people 18 to 24
- 97% of people 25 to 34
- 96% of people 35 to 44
There’s even a huge smartphone ownership in seniors with 68 percent of them, age 65 and above, owning one.
Among the phones available in the market, Android takes 51 percent, Apple iOS at 43 percent, and Windows Phone at 2 percent.
How to Go Mobile and Make Google Happy
If you want to survive mobilepocalypse and ensure good ranking with mobile-first indexing, it is best to comply with Google’s wishes and rules.
- The tech giant doesn’t care what URL format you use, provided that all Googlebot user-agents will be able to access all page assets.
- There are three mobile configurations that you can use – responsive web design, dynamic serving, and separate URLs. Among the three, the third option is where URLs don’t stay the same, which is not a problem where Google is concerned, but could pose a problem to web developers.
- There are differences between mobile, tablets, multimedia phones, and feature phones that you should fully understand. Mobile devices generally refer to smartphones, which means a tablet is not categorized as one whenever Google speaks of mobile devices.
- To help Google accurately serve mobile searches for your particular content and website, you must signal Google when a page is formatted for mobile.
- For a Googlebot to detect a mobile-friendly page, crawlable resources must be kept available. This means no blocking of robots.txt for search engines. Doing so will also ensure that your website will display and work well on a mobile browser.
- Avoid providing mobile visitors with a poor search experience or risk being demoted in rankings.
How to Optimize for Mobile
A poor search experience in mobile has major consequences, starting with a warning that will be displayed in mobile search results. This can impact your reputation and pull your ranking down by a notch or two.
To prevent this from happening, remember the best practices in mobile SEO.
Ensure optimum page speed
Research shows that users expect a mobile website to load in just three seconds. Any second more and they will abandon the website. Any second less and you will hit gold. But the reality is that most websites in the US load at 9 seconds.
If you want to serve mobile searches to your consumer at the expected time, you should do the following:
- Reduce redirects to accelerate mobile page speed.
- Minify codes to remove excess and redundant CSS and JS files.
- Make sure above-the-fold content loads first before below-the-fold content.
- Minimize server response time. The first byte of your resources should be transmitted from the server within 200 milliseconds after a request is made.
- CSS should be at the top of HTML files, while JS should be at the bottom.
- Reduce file size by using gzip compression.
Make sure to check if your resources are blocked or not by using mobile SEO tool or examining your robots.txt file.
Design your website for mobile
Because of the demand for fast-loading time, there are elements in a website design that you need to eliminate to make it mobile-friendly. The rules are simple:
- Don’t use flash, use HTML5 instead if you really need to create special effects.
- Don’t use pop-ups that will result in higher bounce rates because consumers would likely keep closing them.
- Design the page for the fat finger to avoid accidental clicks that will frustrate mobile users.
Due to the limited screen size in mobile devices, titles and Meta descriptions should be optimized for less screen space. Make sure you don’t sacrifice conciseness and quality of information when creating URLs and Metadata.
Optimize your website for local search
Your mobile content should be optimized for local search if your business has a local element. According to Google, more people are conducting local searches, looking for stores and businesses near them. Eighty-eight percent of them use a smartphone to search locally and 84 percent on a tablet or computer. Fifty percent of these smartphone searches lead to a store visit, while 18 percent lead to a purchase within the same day that a local search is made.
To benefit from this:
- Make sure to feature your address across mobile devices, tablet, and computer, complete with directions.
- Fine-tune bids for specific areas using location bid adjustments
- Customize ad copies according to location and context
- Standardize your business name, address, phone number, and city and state name in the metadata.
Is your web page mobile friendly? Use the online mobile-friendly test tool Google has provided to find out. Make changes whenever necessary. Don’t miss out on the benefits of a mobile-ready website.