The fact that web searches from mobile devices have outnumbered those on desktop has been a reality since 2015. As this trend is expected to continue, Google began experimenting with mobile-friendly factors in its search algorithm in 2016.
It is still yet to be determined how much of an impact this factor plays in the current algorithm, but its impact will likely increase in the future.
Winning in this rapidly evolving environment requires a keen understanding of user intent, how your customers use mobile, and how your site appears on mobile devices.
Even with more and more consumers using their mobile devices to search and browse the web, there are some companies that still focus all their marketing and SEO efforts to desktops and choose to ignore their mobile customers (or just don’t realize how mobile their customers really are).
These companies will soon struggle as mobile will become more and more dominant.
Has your company embraced and implemented a mobile strategy? If not, you should start one ASAP.
If you have, is it effective and implemented properly?
Many smaller companies think they are mobile friendly when in reality, they aren’t. There is a common misconception that all a company must do to be mobile friendly is to make their desktop site smaller. The template, layout, design and even the content is the same.
What is the problem?
If everyone’s mobile device had a screen size and the power of a desktop computer, then there would not be much of an issue. However, this is clearly not the case. While smartphones are getting larger, their tiny screen simply can’t correctly render a website laid out for a computer screen. The text is simply too small and the buttons aren’t in the correct position.
Even the intent of someone searching the web on a mobile device is different from someone using a computer. The content must not only be shorter and more concise but it also must have a different message to cater to the different consumer intent.
A successful company will have a strategy for both desktop and mobile.
How should the content on your company’s desktop website vary from its mobile website?
Here is how to get started on an effective mobile strategy:
1. Understand How Google SERP Works
SERPs (search engine results pages) are not solely determined by keyword usage and links. An equally important factor in determining where websites will appear in search results is the often-overlooked intent of the consumer.
Different search queries with different intent will result in different results. Google has become so sophisticated that when a web user searches for a “How to find organic foods” he or she will get a different results page than if he or she typed in the search query “where is the closest grocery store.” The intent behind both searches are different and Google knows it.
The intent of web users searching on their mobile devices will be different from the intent of those searching the web on their desktop. The same SERP principle applies. Most mobile web browsers are looking for something fast, such as where to get something, directions to a place, how to fix something or how to get a hold of someone. Google’s SERPs for them will be different from someone searching the web on their desktop.
Those on desktops are often open to additional information related to what they were originally looking for, they are more likely to make an online purchase and, if they aren’t buying anything online, they are most likely browsing, not buying.
2. Do Homework on Your Mobile Device Keywords
No, the keywords with which people will find you via a mobile device won’t be the same as those that found your website using a desktop. This mistake is a common one which leaves the hard work of a well-developed mobile strategy in shambles.
It goes back to web user search intent as well as the words and phrases they use in their search. Many mobile devices have a text-to speech option which automatically transcribes their words into the search box. People speak differently than how they write, using different words and sentence structure. With other voice to text aids such a Alexa, more and more mobile web search queries are resembling how people speak.
Desktop and laptop users, however, are still just as likely to type a simple keyword as they are to vocalize their questions, so Google’s keyword analytics are still the best way to determine the keywords that these users are employing.
With the different language, words, and sentence structure of mobile website searchers, new and different keywords that are separate from your desktop website strategy need to be studied and implemented.
3. Utilize Google’s AMPs
No, this doesn’t have anything to do with blasting music. In February of 2016, Google launched what is called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). Mobile webpages that include Google’s AMPs coding load quicker than those that don’t. Not only will these mobile websites load faster, but Google will feature them in special places within a search results page.
Using the added page load time and premiere placement of Google AMPs will worth the investment. People searching the web on their mobile phones know what they are looking for and they want to find it as soon as possible. A page that loads fast and comes up high in search results will be more successful in getting page views and interaction.
4. Make Sure Your Website Content is Mobile Friendly
A fully mobile-optimized website will be easy to read and play smoothly on even the smallest mobile device screens. Images should be able to be easily enlarged and the navigation should be smooth and easy to follow. Google has a free tool that allows you to test the mobile-friendliness of your website. As hinted at earlier, companies need to create a responsive website instead of creating desktop websites and expecting them to work on mobile.
5. Track Desktop and Mobile Analytics and Metrics Separately
You won’t know how well or poorly your mobile strategy is going if the numbers are mixed in with the results and analytics of the desktop strategy.
You should track the traffic, engagement, conversion rates and page visits for your mobile strategy separately than those of your desktop strategy.
6. Stay Focused on the Long-Term
It will be hard to redirect your resources to mobile if your company has been completely entrenched in optimizing its desktop SEO. Like other internet marketing strategies, success won’t happen overnight. It takes persistent and consistent work over the long-term to see substantial results.
As the world is becoming more and more mobile and more searches will continue to be done on mobile devices, starting a mobile strategy today will greatly pay off in the future.
With the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and e-readers, more people prefer using their mobile devices for searching the web and consuming content. Brands need to keep their websites up to speed.
Start with your company’s current mobile users (if you have any) and develop a content and design strategy based on their behaviors and preferences.
A mobile strategy is not simply making minor changes to the desktop SEO strategy in hopes of making it compatible with mobile.
Starting a mobile strategy will take time and work, but the payoff is worth it as more people will continue to search and browse the web on their mobile devices.
Being aware of how SERPs work, having an understanding of user intent, utilizing Google’s AMP, designing a responsive site as well as tracking the analytics of your desktop and mobile sites separately are great ways to begin or better your mobile strategy.