Google says that 9 out of 10 users take action as a result of a mobile search; so maintaining mobile exposure is essential to success. In order to improve the visibility of your digital assets on mobile devices, it’s important to understand how users are searching for your content and how search engines decide to display results. By optimizing your content and digital presence to leverage unique mobile features, you can rank well in search engines across various devices. To improve your mobile reach, follow the eight steps below.
Understand the Intent of Mobile Users
Your users expect different things from your brand on mobile than they do on desktop. Due to the unique features and limitations of mobile devices, marketers must develop a mobile optimization strategy for their digital assets and content to increase exposure. For example, consider screen size, GPS features, and phone speeds when building a strategy. Examine analytics to discover how visitors engage with your brand through mobile, analyzing any obstacles and opportunities. Develop strategy based on the needs and behaviors of your audience and the channels that are most effective at generating engagement.
Design for Mobile Usability
As search engines continue to shift toward the value of content, mobile experiences must be redesigned for usability. Desktop versions of webpages frequently create a bad user experience due to page size, content visibility, broken site features, complex navigation, and site speed. 74 percent of users accessing mobile sites reported that they would leave a website after 5 seconds if not loaded, and 46 percent of users don’t revisit poorly performing sites.
If users are leaving your page due to poor usability, Google will determine that your content is not offering value and will demote your pages in search rankings. A mobile responsive webpage can help alleviate usability issues and increase your exposure in search. Keep a close eye on page performance and speeds with tools from Google such as Analytics, Webmaster, and Developer Tools.
Construct Mobile Sitemap
Create an XML sitemap for mobile and submit to Google and Bing to increase exposure. By providing a sitemap, search engines can identify where your content is located and properly index pages. Check for any issues with indexed pages by using Google Webmaster’s crawl error tool.
Establish Redirects for Mobile
Optimize Meta Tags
Users search differently on mobile due to the inconvenience of typing long-tail keywords. To enhance mobile SEO, keep title tags concise and limited to about 40-60 characters and meta tags within 90 characters. Ensure that all page tags are unique to increase differentiation in page indexing and increase visibility.
Make Content Engaging for Mobile
With 50 percent of users worldwide now using mobile as their primary Internet device, it is crucial to develop content that is easily digestible from all devices. Keeping content short and concise will increase mobile engagement, and subsequently, search rankings. Create written content that adds the same value using short paragraphs and less text to improve the user experience while engaging with content. When embedding videos and images use HTML5 instead of Flash to improve load times and accessibility across all devices.
Increase Visibility Through Local Optimization
Optimizing all website content is important to increase exposure in search, but local optimization is a key factor for driving sales from mobile devices. Research from Google shows that 50 percent of mobile users are likely to visit a store after conducting a local search, compared to only 34 percent of consumers on tablets or computers.
Optimize localized content on your website with unique pages for each location to increase search indexing. Creating accounts on external directory sites such as Yelp and Google Plus will also help boost mobile exposure by increasing listings across the web and providing information. For example, Google Plus local pages are indexed in mobile, desktop, Google Map, and Google plus searches so kill a few birds with one stone by building detailed page listings. Ensure you build out all pages with complete information for individual locations to offer value and increase the likelihood of appearing in search for targeted keywords.
Test from User Perspectives
In case we haven’t made our point clear yet, mobile SEO is greatly tied with the usability of your content and the overall user experience your website generates. The best way to continuously improve the rankings of your content on mobile is to explore your website from mobile devices just like your users will. Test the experience and strategize to constantly improve usability.
Mobile optimization is a growing priority for many brands as trends continue to shift away from desktop. Keep your brand visible by understanding user expectations, designing for mobile, and targeting locally. When in doubt, keep your mobile content short, sweet, and engaging to increase exposure.