Mobile SEO Guide to Building a Great Site
August 26, 2013
With the advent and increased popularity of responsive web design in the tech world, the need for website designing professionals to take into consideration SEO aspects for sites across various platforms has reduced considerably. The reason for this is the fact that in most cases whatever platform the site is being used on, Google has no problems crawling with its mobile user agent. Which has made the job of companies providing mobile SEO services a little easier. Having said that, however, it’s important to note that there are certain common mistakes that can lead to traffic footfalls being sabotaged thereby hampering results for sites being used on mobile platforms. While a renowned digital marketing agency providing digital marketing services are aware of these, here are some best practices to follow for Mobile SEO.
1. Responsive Design : While responsive design is not an issue it is important to know that the site should also be configured for non-responsive design. Other than responsive website design the two other methods used for mobile site design are Separate Mobile URL’s and Dynamic Serving. No matter how intelligent Google’s mobile user agents are, you need to configure your site with the unique configuration required specifically for these methods of delivering mobile-specific content.
2. Mobile Crawling : While responsive design allows for a reduction in the number of considerations vis-a-vis Googlebot-Mobile specific crawling, it cannot be completely done away with. As part of regular checks on your site, you need to look at the regular and mobile user agents specifically at consistent times. For this you can make use of Google and Bing Webmaster Tools or a search engine spider and crawling tool like Screaming Frog SEO Spider.
3. Mobile Keywords : Do not forget that mobile searchers are not identical to desktop searchers. What this simply means is that the sort of searches that people do on mobiles are different from the ones done on desktops and for this reason context needs to always be considered on your site. For this reason, try to separate your keyword search and consider mobile on your on-page optimization.
4. Meta Viewport: When you find yourself optimizing for mobile, remember to define your Meta tags to either alter or disable the ‘zoom’ function of mobile browsers, thusly: <meta name = ‘viewport’ content = ‘width=device-width’>. This is to clue your mobile browser that it is not, in fact, a desktop browser and that its response needs to accommodate the device.
5. URL Structure: Based on Google’s directions, a single-URL strategy is the way to go, but remember to budget for ample amounts of planning, redesign and re-engineering.
6. Page Load Times: 3 and 4G connections aren’t always the fastest. Make the effort to reduce your page-load times for a strong user experience.
7. UX: Speaking of which, strong UX also incorporates being able to help your audience find what they’re looking for.
8. Obstacles to Crawling: Let’s just all take a moment and admit that Flash is dying. And then, let’s move forward and leave Flash at the door when we code our sites. Along with excessive Java.
9. Content Optimization: This one’s a ‘gimme’. Remember to optimize the important page elements and content around the important keywords.
10. Rel = ‘alternate’: To point towards the mobile URL of the desktop version of the page and make your mobile page discoverable.
11. Rel = ‘canonical’: To point towards the desktop URL of the mobile version; it also helps Google understand which version of the content has been duplicated.
12. Rel = ‘next/previous’: For sites with paginated content.
13. Vary: User-Agent HTTP Header: Regardless of device redirects or dynamic serving, the server needs to be configured to return the Vary: User-Agent HTTP response header.
14. Mobile Only Pages: Skip these. Because Google accommodates mobile and desktop versions to compile ranks.
15. Supported Content: If you’re putting out content that a browser can’t support ‘ say, a video, for instance ‘ then your rankings will take a hit. Make sure you work with content that’s supported.
16. Analytics : Finally, and also extremely important, are analytics. For a site that is going to go mobile, it is very important to understand the audience and their browsing habits using a good analytics platform such as Google Analytics. Once you have done this, you should be segmenting your data based on the results of how different users are using your site differently. When determining usage habits, areas to consider are organic, engagement metrics and conversions.
Keeping these common aspects in mind will mean allowing your mobile website to work to its full potential and deliver desired results. If you need a little help getting started with mobile optimization, give us a call. We’ll be glad to talk!