Once just a means of communication, mobile devices have become our personal assistants, with answers to any questions we throw at them.
A recent study commissioned by Google and carried out by researchers at Nielsen found that consumers average more than 15 hours a week searching on mobile devices.
Further, it found that most smartphone users tend to research products on several different websites before actually going shopping. Then, there’s this startling fact: 93 percent go on to make a purchase.
There is little doubt that mobile search is where the SEO world is headed at the moment. Research by Mobile Marketer found that more than 30 percent of all searches come from mobile devices.
So before you start designing your new mobile website, consider the following points to improve your SEO for mobile devices. (See also: 7 Expert SEO Tips and Tricks for 2016)
1.) Optimize for local search
From party planning to choosing a multi-specialty hospital, consumer searches are mostly local in nature. In fact, recent research suggests that mobile consumers expect results within five miles of their location when searching from a smartphone or tablet—and they want to take action immediately.
A full 76 percent of mobile shoppers have used an online store locator to help them find a local store. After looking online, more than 61 percent of users made a call to that particular business. And to these businesses’ delight, 59 percent of customers visited them.
You can’t do business by neglecting the above facts. If your business targets local customers, optimize your local SEO to put you in front of your local customers’ eyeballs—you’ll tap into a great new source of revenue.
2.) Design a responsive website
Gone are the days when websites were the same across platforms. Nowadays, businesses have different websites for desktops, tablets, and phones. In fact, since mobile Internet usage surpassed desktop Internet usage in 2014, developers are shifting their focus to mobile website design.
The design of your mobile website is the first thing that a visitor notices, and it speaks volumes about your business. But even more importantly, Google notes your mobile website’s responsiveness in its rankings algorithm.
A responsive website needs to have content that’s properly managed, loads quickly, and has a good navigation system. With all that in place, visitors can easily access all the functionalities available on your website.
3.) Add credibility with social promotion links
This is the place where your majority of you customers hangs out—especially millennials, who are addicted to social.
A study from the U.K. found that social media has a huge impact on marketing and sales. It’s become the backbone of business, as close 46 percent of people look to it for guidance when making a purchase.
Since many smartphone users are connected to their social networks 24/7, mobile sites should have social media links embedded on every page. Doing so will increase exposure, traffic, and engagement by ensuring content is easily shared across social networks.
Google’s newer search algorithms, like Hummingbird and Pigeon, factor in all kinds of sharing on social media. Sharing content develops your website’s credibility, which improves your standing in search engine results pages (SERPs).
4.) A/B test to improve SEO
A/B testing means testing two different designs on two separate groups to determine the efficacy of a design, and it can help you serve your customers well. (See also: 8 conversion rate optimization tips you need for your B2B website)
The two designs can be similar, but you should test different calls to action (CTA) and layouts in order to find out which aspects of each design users like the most. This way your website is not only fresh and responsive, it’s also SEO-friendly.
5.) Engage customers with mobile landing pages
Mobile landing pages should be minimalistic and include a strong CTA toward the top of the page. This could be a “call” button, for example, so that anyone in your area who is searching for your business can easily get in touch with you, and you can quickly meet their requirements.
Your CTAs for landing pages must include phrases that people will actually use. Instead of trying to describe your business in a two-word phrase, consider natural phrases like “where’s the nearest cinema.” This is in harmony with Hummingbird, (one of the Google’s biggest search algorithms), which was designed to work with search on a more conversational level.
6.) Create vertical menus and website content that scales
Websites made for desktops are quite difficult for smartphone users to navigate. Users have to zoom in on content, which can be quite irritating. To save your customers from unneeded frustration, make your mobile site easy to navigate with vertical menus.
Many of the highest trafficked websites—which also set the standards for best practices concerning user experience—have fully developed mobile versions of their websites that include vertical menus.
Follow their lead and make your design flexible—and be sure your site automatically adapts to the size of your users’ screens.
7.) Use rich and concise content
Content must be concise and informative for visitors. And it needs to convey your business’ central ideation. But don’t worry about duplicating material from your desktop site. Search engines understand that mobile-friendly versions of webpages are just that, and not duplicitous content that could hamper your brand’s search rankings.
Web pages with rich content like images and videos are difficult to load on mobile operating systems. Reducing the file sizes of your rich content ensures that those pages render properly on users’ mobile devices and it gives this highly sharable content better visibility.
By 2020, the world will have 6.1 smartphone users led by huge growth in under-developed markets. And with 6.1 billion smartphones in circulation, smartphones will finally overtake the number of active fixed-line subscriptions worldwide. So be sure to take advantage of this massive opportunity and align your SEO according to mobiles devices now.