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Some tips on how best to optimise for mobile SEO

Mobile and tablets are responsible for an exponential change in the way people engage and transact online. Desktop internet access is falling dramatically month by month and now there is an increasing demand for multi device websites which means that every business must give equal consideration to desktop, mobile and tablet. 

Already mobile search volume in The States exceeds desktop and tablet but data suggests that 40% of the of the country’s Fortune 500 companies  are still not mobile friendly! In the UK, despite a friendly warning this year from Google,  many businesses are still unaware that search engine optimisation (SEO) is device sensitive.  Although there are similarities to Desktop SEO, optimising for Mobile is a significantly different game.

Google is obviously interested in delivering high-quality search engine report pages (SERPS) for mobile phone queries to keep its organic search users happy and they are doing the best to advise companies how to make sites mobile friendly and also to explain how SEO will be affected by this this criteria in future. But, quite simply,  the writing is on the wall: desktops are out and mobile phones are in. So,  if your website is not already mobile friendly then you better get cracking or you will be losing sales to your competitors.

Perhaps you are one of the many  just getting to grips with mobile SEO then I would recommend that you try to find out how much of your website traffic is currently originating from mobile.  If you are getting say 10% then you should address how you can improve your site and make it more friendly for mobile users and if it’s less than 10% this may mean that your site isn’t mobile friendly at all. 

You can  run a quick check on how friendly your site is at the moment by using  Google’s Mobile Friendly Test Tool. All you need to do is type in your URL and the search engine will explain how friendly your site is for a mobile user. 

There can be any number of reasons why your site may not come up to mobile scratch. Maybe the text is too small to read,  links may be too close to one another, content may not fit the mobile screen, or the mobile ‘viewport’ may not be set, which means that you are not configured to allow mobile search at all.

Until April this year being unfriendly to mobiles has meant that visitors may just stay on your site for less time because it’s clunky to use, or they might find it so frustrating that they bail out altogether.  However, now Google has decided to give mobile optimisation the importance it deserves it means that someone Googling you may not even be able to find your site because you have slipped so far down the page rankings. Fundamentally,  what was once good advice has become mandatory if you want your SEO to stay competitive you need to be mobile friendly.

If you are one of the many people who have done nothing so far to make your website mobile friendly here are some useful action points that influence search engine results pages for mobile websites.

1. Location, location, location

Maps are prolifically accessed by people on the move so they need to be on your priorities list for optimising for mobile devices. It’s important to consider optimising for local business listings – even for businesses that are offices and not always customer facing at the business location.

2. Make mobile your flexible friend

You need to have a site that adapts to any device – from mobile phone to tablet to desktop. This is fairly easy to do now but there are still some sites out there – by large companies too – that have not adapted to this rule yet despite staggering publicity on the necessary changes needed. If guilty of this apathy – change it ASAP – as having a Desktop-fit only is damaging to your overall visibility. Be mindful of the design feel of your mobile site – some are optimised OK but still look just plain rubbish to visitors.

3. Hearing Voices

Consider voice search. Voice search is now used as a tool for finding company websites from mobile devices. People can simply ask ‘where is there a shoe shop nearby’ and the Google Map can pop up along with listings of shops in the vicinity. Or they can ask their smart device for any business they are interested in researching whilst on the train, in the kitchen or on the move. Choice keywords can be leveraged to make sites friendly for mobile voice searching. These keywords may take some experimenting with but the results can elevate your presence with the search engine

Tom Vaughton - MD VARN Media