The use of smartphones and mobile technology has been on the rise for many years and is currently at an all-time high, with no sign of slowing down any time soon. More people than ever are using their smartphones for online browsing and searching, with over 52% of all online traffic coming from mobile devices. Google has recently updated its search index to work on a mobile-first model, meaning those website that are optimised for mobile devices will rank higher than those which are not. It is now essential to have a responsive website, with fast page load speeds and mobile-first navigation structure to rank highly on SERPs. Here are 5 steps you can take to optimise your website for mobile search:

Mobile-First Design

For years we have been optimising websites to be mobile-friendly, meaning they work well on smartphone and tablet devices. These days it simply isn’t enough to have a website that has been optimised for mobile use, instead websites need to be designed and created with a mobile-first mindset. With such a large majority of internet users using smartphones for online searches, it is only logical that your website should primarily cater to this mobile audience.  Mobile-first is exactly what you would expect from the name; designing your website on a mobile device first. Mobile-first designed websites should then be optimised to work on a desktop device.

Page Loading Speed

Today’s mobile users expect things to happen instantly and the use of smartphone devices has led to many individuals becoming increasingly impatient; especially when it comes to the internet. A recent study shows that 53% of mobile users will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Google’s new mobile-first indexing also uses a websites page load speed as a ranking factor on the search engine, so if you don’t want both your SERP rankings and your users to suffer, make sure your website has a fast page loading speed on mobile.

Get an App

Google’s new index algorithm not only looks at mobiles websites but now also include apps in search results. This makes the competition even more fierce, as the number of other companies competing against for the top spot will be much higher with apps in the mix. Creating an app will help to increase your online exposure on mobile searches and add an additional channel for your customers to connect with you. Building an app for your business doesn’t have to be a mammoth task and there are many services out there, such as AppInstitute, that specialise in building apps for small businesses.

Manage Your Content

Your website’s content is crucial to its Google rankings, and is one of the biggest impacting factors for Google when it is determining if your website is relevant to a user’s search. A few years ago, it was a common trend to have a completely separate mobile website with limited content compared to on desktop devices, this method could actually be negatively impacting your Google ranking because of the reduced content available on mobile. You should aim to have as much relevant content as possible on your mobile website, but ensure it is properly organised and easy to find on a small screen device. You can do this by appropriately using drop down menus to offer a larger amount of content in a small space. Ensure all the content is clear and easy to read on small screens and break up large text blocks with sub headings and images.

Mobile-Friendly Keywords

The types of terms that web users search on a mobile device actually differs slightly to those they search on a desktop; mobile users will generally search long-tail keywords and often in question form. A large number of mobile searches start with what, where, when and why, so keep this in mind when writing your SEO optimised content. The rise of voice technology on smartphones has also significantly changed the way people search on a mobile, with roughly 20% of mobile searches being completed using voice. Think about the way an individual asks a question out loud and optimise your web content to reflect this.

When it comes to optimising your website for mobile search there is a lot to consider, and ultimately Google will look at how well your website can perform on a mobile device when ranking it. You could have the best mobile optimised keywords in the world, but if your users can’t access them easily and effectively on a smart-phone then your rankings will suffer. Spend time ensuring your website is the best it can possibly be on a small screen device and that your website visitors can achieve their goal quickly and simply once they reach your site. Be sure to thoroughly test your mobile site on a smartphone regularly and ask others for their feedback and thoughts; it always helps to have a fresh perspective when it comes to website design and functionality, something that is obvious to you might not be so clear to someone else.

Optimising your website for mobile search is an ongoing process that needs to be regularly maintained and updated regularly. Whilst a complete overhaul of your websites to make them optimised for smartphones will help your Google rankings, they can quickly drop again if you aren’t keeping on top of your website and its content. Utilise all the various tools that are available to help you optimise your website for mobile search, app builders such as AppInstitute can prove essential when it comes to mobile marketing. The easy to use online service allows you to build a fully customisable app that will assist with optimising your website for mobile search as well as providing a useful feature to your customers.

About the author

Izaak Crook is a Digital Marketing Executive for AppInstitute, a SaaS App Builder platform that allows anyone to create their own iOS and Android app without writing a single line of code.