mobile-friendliness

So why is mobile-friendliness so important?

Today’s successful companies are digital, and digital runs on mobile.

According to “webfx.com“:

2% of all website traffic comes from mobile phones

61% of consumers say they are more likely to purchase from mobile-friendly websites

96% of those searching on mobile use Google as the search engine

52% of pay-per-click (ppc) come from mobile

66% of emails are read on a mobile device

Over 50% of YouTube views are on mobile

18% of Facebook’s users only use mobile

40 minutes per day is the average time spent by users on mobile

There’s nothing like a great brand based on a stellar product, but what if your website is not quite as friendly as you think it might be.  Website speed is one of the leading indicators that impact user experience, and speed plays a critical role in mobile-friendliness.

According to Google, “although more than half of overall web traffic comes from mobile, the data shows that mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop. In short, speed equals revenue.”

This is why it’s crucial to invest in mobile website optimization as part of a search engine optimization plan.  SEO can boost your mobile website ranking in the search results. Also, optimizing your mobile site for the different search engines provides more reach to your users and potential customers. Mobile SEO optimization is essential for website performance and revenue growth.

mobile-friendliness

Test your mobile-friendliness

Testing your mobile-friendliness is something that Google is now paying close attention to, and it can help or hurt your SEO rankings, which can directly impact conversions.

In case your site doesn’t pass the Google website mobility friendly test, don’t worry.

Here are some of the top suggestions for making your site and your brand shine:

improving your website’s load time,

implementing the right H2 Integrate responsive design,

improving the overall user experience,

minimizing and deleting popups

implementing a clean and easy to use the navigation bar

optimizing for local searches

optimizing the title tags and optimizing the meta descriptions

optimizing the images

the right mobile keyword research and SEO

  1. Let’s take a look at website speed

The next major Google update will place a heavy emphasis on ranking due to website speed.

So now is a great time to invest time, money, and resources to optimize site speeds fully.  Those sites that are successful will rank higher by Google.  Conversely, sites that do not achieve high scores for site speed will lose ranking points.  Fast websites are essential in today’s mobile world.

How fast should your website be?

According to Google, the recommended page load time is under two seconds: “Two seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability.” Best to aim for half a second to ensure that the SEO rankings are positively impacted. When it comes to a great user experience, users expect excellent customer service, which comes with fast access to the information they are searching for.

  1. Improve your site’s load time

Organic website traffic is one of the best types of traffic that a mobile-optimized website can receive. Generating traffic and leads depends on both content and technical SEO.  Slow and non-friendly websites will leave the traffic and leads on the table.  We have seen companies spend vast amounts of marketing budget on digital campaigns only to have the traffic fall off the cliff with a website that is as slow as molasses. Great campaigns with poor execution in the mobile environment can result in leads diverted to the competition as mobile users click off your site and on to a different website.

According to Hosting Tribunal:

The most remarkable 1-second stats:

1-second delay reduces page views by 11%.

1-second delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%.

1-second delay eats away 7% of the coveted conversion rate.

1-3 seconds in loading time see a very low bounce rate probability – only 32%.

Add 1 second more to that and the chance for users to bounce triples, reaching 90%.

On annual basis, a 1-second delay can lead to $2.5 millionin missed revenue if the shop generates $100,000 per day

Some Tools to Test Mobile Website Speed

There are many paid and free tools to test mobile website speed. Most offer helpful insights on areas for improvement, which typically fall in technical SEO optimization.

Of course, website speed starts with a great hosting partner and the right hosting plan for fast accessibility to the site across devices.

Google Page Insights

Pingdom Tools

GTmetrix

mobile-friendliness

Integrate responsive design              

Making websites look great on any device can be a considerable challenge due to the changing attributes of things like the viewing screen size, the types of graphics, and the needed responsive forms.  A responsive website is defined as a website that looks good and functions responsively across any device, including mobile phones, tablets and desktops, and others.

The challenge is the virtually unlimited number of device sizes.  While it sounds like everything should work well together in a perfect world, it takes quite a bit of effort to make sure that the same great design, content, and user interaction is always available.

It starts with designing the right layout for all of the different sizes. Experts suggest it’s better to develop sites and layout for the smallest size screen first and then adapt to wider screen sizes.

mobile-friendliness

We agree that it’s best to design mobile-first versus desktop down!  With a mobile-first approach, the design is based on a minimal amount of content and a fully optimized mobile site.  Somehow, it seems easier to design up for larger devices than to design for the largest device and then design for smaller devices.

Where does the design break down?

The way to look at design is to ask at what point does the design start to break down based on the number of issues. Media query rules can be added with responsive rules to the bottom of the header and the bottom of the feature, as an example of a way to accommodate the sizes.

Developer tools provide information on where the design starts to break down (at which number of pixels).

Things get technical pretty quickly based on the number of pixels that are possible on a screen.

Content blocks, navigation, and optimized images for mobile must be correct for every device that will be viewing.  For a fully responsive site, working with a technical expert who understands how to make a site look fantastic regardless of the device is essential.  Without going into a complete technical deep dive, there are best practices for resizing and redesigning. Some of the techniques involved including using developer tools and the right code to ensure good css media queries, optimized flexbox/grid layouts, srcset, and html5 picture tags, and designing for mobile-first.

Here are 4 ways to ensure that your site has been optimized:

  1. incorporate responsive meta tags in the HTML documents
  2. be sure to apply media queries to the layouts
  3. optimize and make all images and embedded videos on the site responsive to fit the screens
  4. ensure the typography is easy to read across all mobile devices by making the h1, h2, and h3 class text resize responsively to the min-width and max-width across devices

Improve user experience

Have you been frustrated with websites that so slow to load that you end up going to a different site? Have you experienced websites that don’t load forms and elements properly? Did you click on a vital link that resulted in a “404 page not found” error?

Offering users and the search engines a faster website is all about providing a great user experience. The Google Core Vitals Report tracks how website pages perform based on real-world usage data. This is the way forward to fixing poor user experiences on the site. Google’s Core Vitals Report provides analytics and insights on the three essential criteria to enhance the user experience, which is especially relevant for mobile websites. The criteria are the largest contentful paint, the first input delay, and the cumulative layout shift. Google then ranks these criteria with the following: “poor, needs improvement, or good.”

mobile-friendliness

Why is the L.C.P. largest contentful paint important?

The L.C.P. tells the user that the URL is in the process of loading.

L.C.P. (largest contentful paint): is the time to render the largest content element visible in the viewport, from when the user requests the URL. The largest element is often an image or video, or perhaps a large block-level text element. Google then aggregates the L.C.P. for an Agg L.C.P. based on obtaining multiple values.

Why is the FID first input delay significant?

The FID is important on the page where the user needs to do something because this is when the page becomes interactive.

FID (first input delay): is the time from when a user first interacts with your page (when they clicked a link, tapped on a button, and so on) to the time when the browser responds to that interaction. The measurement is taken from whatever interactive element that the user first clicks. Google then aggregates the FID values for an A.G.G. or Aggregated FID, based on tracking multiple values.

Why is the C.L.S. cumulative layout shift important?

Having page elements shift while a user is interacting with it is a bad user experience.

C.L.S. (Cumulative Layout Shift): The number of times the page layout shifts during the loading phase. The score is rated from 0–1, where zero is for no shifting, and a score of 1 designates the most shifting. Google then aggregates the C.L.S. for an Agg C.L.S., based on combining the real-world data points.

For website user experience SEO and mobile site technical professionals, Google recommends prioritizing fixing anything labeled in the Core Vitals Report as “poor” first.  The second priority would be to resolve issues that affect the most import URLs that have been labeled as “poor.” The next focus would be to check all of the “needs improvement” issues once the “poor” ranked criteria are fixed, tested, and live.  Consider the Core Vitals Report to be a quality roadmap for mobile-friendliness and the user experience. It’s also the path to better rankings, higher traffic and, “cha-ching,” more leads and conversions.

Mobile-friendliness checklist

Consider this Mobile-friendliness Checklist and see if your site is ready for the Google Upgrade. A professional website audit helps identify what’s working for mobile-friendliness and what needs to be fixed.  A quarterly audit is recommended as the sure way to maximize SEO rankings, traffic, and leads.

Is your mobile website:

useful and enjoyable

completely optimized and tested on popular mobile devices

optimized for technical SEO to ensure that mobile access is efficient, effective, and error-free

displaying the proper fonts and font sizes for mobile devices: typography optimization

spaced to for enough room between the clickable elements making it easy for users to read and react

set up with clickable sub-menus that save users steps, instead of having to go back through the “Home navigation”

void of bad forms that are unusable on mobile devices

clutter-free with a great design for mobile

mobile-friendliness

Minimize Pop-Ups or delete Popups

Popups can be annoying if they come up too soon when a user is in the middle of searching for something, or they can be helpful if they are timed properly.  Have you experienced a popup with a live chat within the first seconds of accessing a website? This can be a negative experience and is similar to when you enter a store, and the retail salesperson won’t let you into a brick-and-mortar store to look around without asking, “Can I help you?’ Most people want to enter and look around for a few minutes without being accosted with a sales pitch. The same is true of a mobile website.

On the other hand, displaying a well-timed popup when users abandon the checkout page can be very useful, especially if users need some help.

Using too many form fields is another culprit of the user experience, and some forms are so daunting that users just abandon the site and go to the competition’s mobile website.

Too many popups can be extremely annoying and distracting and can prohibit the user’s search as users have to click out of them.  Google issues sanctions and penalties for certain types of bad mobile popups, so it’s important to delete these altogether and just keep the so-called “good popups.”

Good and safe popups include:

cookies information via popup

age-check popups to protect young users from inappropriate content for the age group

log-in windows

well-sized banners that take up the right amount of space per ratio

Bad mobile popups that can result in penalties include:

popups that appear almost immediately and block out the ability to view the content on a page

overlays blocking content that require the user to close or remove the content manually

layout designs that obscure the content the user is looking for, forcing scrolling or manual removal

Following the good popup practices and deleting or eliminating bad popups will increase and maintain a higher Google ranking while enhancing the user experience.

Implement a clean, easy-to-use navigation bar

Have you ever gone to a site and spent way too much time figuring out the non-intuitive navigation only to give up on the search? This can happen when a site is in desperate need of a clean, easy-to-use navigation bar.  Over time, the website architecture may have been adapted with some afterthoughts or scope creep regarding navigation. E-commerce sites can have complex navigation to pricing and often lack the next step workflow that makes a product easy to buy.

Users quickly see a lack of organization, and some just don’t want to deal with it. Now Google is taking a close look at how easy it is to navigate and find things on your site.  Is your site’s navigation intuitive? Can users quickly find the information that they are most often searching for? Are customers giving up somewhere in their shopping flow or the conversion process because the buying path is not clear and straightforward?

I worked with a SaaS company that hid the fees in the small print of the EULA and wondered why their reviews were so lackluster.  Simple, straightforward, easy.  These are three words to live for when planning out the online buying process.  Better yet, test it out with helpful critics who will provide “let’s get real” types of feedback.  Whatever you do, don’t wait for Google to ding your site on the rankings or watch the slow decline of completed orders.  Acronyms are anything but straightforward as these mean different things to different people.  Consider a team brainstorming to discuss the navigation terms and see if they are self-explanatory and easy to understand, even for those outside your company.

As there are so many choices today, many new users would just search for another vendor where it’s easy to navigate the mobile site and quickly get answers. Google emphasizes that it’s back to basics with making things easy to understand, and navigation is essential for enhancing user experience.

Mobile-friendly SEO involves optimizing the local SEO, implementing a clean and easy-to-use navigation bar, optimizing the title tags and meta descriptions, creating a separate mobile URL, and even creating mobile content. It’s about optimizing, optimizing some more, and continuing to optimize. The technical SEO is just as important as the front-end content and campaigns. SEO ranking success comes to those who offer their mobile users an effective, efficient, and friendly customer experience.

Optimize for local SEO

According to bipermedia, “after searching for a nearby product or service online, 76% of consumers visit the business within that day while 28% of all local searches result in a purchase.”

Optimizing local SEO is highly relevant for enterprises, franchises, companies with multiple locations, and other sites.  Local SEO is most important for smaller regional businesses needing to reach local leads and customers.

Several target SEO locations should be considered, such as where customers are situated or where market growth is being planned.  After the targets have been set, it’s time to create and optimize profiles in the different online directories.

Some of the top online business directories that should be set up and optimized include:

Google My Business, Bing, Apple Maps, Yelp, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram – to name a few. Be sure to include photos, videos, reviews, links, and ads and complete the entire profile.  The more information, the better it is for local SEO ranking.

Some of the areas to focus on optimization include:

  1. voice search – prepare your mobile and other websites for voice search and be found easily
  2. page speed – optimize for mobile search ranking on all devices and use the PageSpeed Insights to see Google’s recommendations for improvements across the different URLs
  3. quality content – consider quality long-form content as some of the best leads come from longer search statements or questions
  4. quality local content – from local events and news feeds in the area
  5. mobile keyword research – in the form of longtail queries, questions or problem formulations need to be factored (consider Siri, Amazon Echo, and other applications and how users are using voice search to formulate what they are searching for)
  6. backlinks – make sure they are high quality and are local to help boost local SEO rankings
  7. localized pages – create a single core website and be sure to avoid duplicate content
  8. monitor and fix technical SEO errors – this is an ongoing effort to ensure that there are none of the dead-end 404 errors, missing metatags, titles to enhance the user experience
  9. set up a location-specific about us page for each location

Optimize title tags and meta descriptions

For the SEO strategy to succeed, the title tags and meta descriptions must be optimized.  There is just no way around this.  Missing tags, poorly written tags, and misleading tags are just some examples of “ranking busters,” resulting in lower SEO rankings. The title tag provides an overview of the search engine’s information, which the user can expect to find on a page. It’s usually the clickable link on the search engine results and the browser window.

HTML pages need to be active with a recent description, reviews, videos, and copy.  There should be a map, a local listing, along with HTML pages with title descriptions, H1s, H2s, and meta descriptions. Local schemas, review schemas, and FAQ schemas by location will boost mobile SEO rankings.

Optimize Images

A best practice is to ensure that images are optimized and used strategically for mobile SEO to improve the rankings. The right images attract more visitors and leads and also help the search engines understand the content of the mobile site and other websites. Images all need to be optimized with the mobile researched keywords.

Well-placed PNG and JPEG are the most common image file formats. While PNG provides better quality images, the file size is larger than with a JPEG image. The ideal for mobile sites is to resize images for most smartphones to 640 x 320 pixels.  While resizing the images, it’s important to keep the original image’s correct aspect ratio to avoid any image distortion.

The images should be accompanied by Alternative text, or Alt text describes the content of the image. The Alt text is added as an attribute of the HTML or Hypertext Markup Language appearing in a blank box that typically houses the image.

Need to test the mobile website for friendliness?

I decided to test out a few sites that we have been in touch with lately to see if their sites are mobile-friendly, according to Google Search Console. Here’s a link where you can self-test to see if you’ll be smiling or considering what changes need to be made to delight users, fill shopping carts, and close orders.

This mobile-friendliness test is fast and painless:

https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly?id=oeuq4JCLOf_IlWO4FkZaeg

Testing your mobile-friendliness is your next call to action.  Regardless of the results, it’s great to self-audit your site or get some well-founded recommendations for the sites of your clients.

Enhancing the mobile user experience and increasing the rankings and leads is what it’s all about.  This requires mobile-friendliness and continuous optimization.

Contact us if you require help with your SEO