Google is ranking websites that are “mobile friendly” over those that are not. And, mobile users abandon sites that are not mobile friendly so fast that it hurts your search engine results page rankings. Since bounce rates are becoming an increasingly important factor in how sites are ranked, having a site that isn’t suited for all platforms could eventually affect its search engine results negatively. In this article, we’re going to give you six simple ways to make your site mobile friendly and the reasons for implementing the changes.
Abandon the Single Page Format Unless You Have a Minimalist Page
There has been a trend toward single webpages in order to maximize customer engagement as they scroll down to find information. This trend was reinforced by companies setting up frequently asked questions with many different questions in an effort to capture conversational queries without having to create many different web pages and then maintain them. Then there’s the fact that it is difficult to tailor the SEO for such a webpage instead of subdomains.
Unless you have a minimalist webpage like a landing page or lean and mean homepage for your business, abandon the single page “all in one” model because they take too long to load for mobile users.
Test Your Website
Ensure that your website loads quickly and without errors. Mobile users have less tolerance for error codes and failed applets that take a long time to load. Popup messages that look good on a computer can kill your site with mobile users, such as when a signup request or ad blocks the screen because it doesn’t resize. Google’s 2017 update penalizes websites that have popups that block most of the text, including on mobile devices. Check how your website functions on mobile devices to ensure you don’t get penalized by the search engines because you don’t know how it looks to those users.
Remove Functionality that Fails to Meet Mobile User Needs
Get rid of Adobe Flash on your website, if you still have it as mobile users cannot run it. Remove stock images that aren’t necessary for the content, since this adds to the site’s load time without providing value. It is better to have one or two quality images than a graphic on every screen. Design your website to resize images and/or reduce their resolution for mobile users to minimize demands on bandwidth. Reducing the amount of data the webpage needs is better than shifting image storage to content delivery networks. Don’t forget to test functions like Java Applets, interactive exhibits and carousels of images to ensure that they work on a variety of devices.
It is better to make your website lean and mean over setting up a mobile friendly version of the website that mobile users are redirected to. The first reason is the fact that hitting your home page and then bouncing them over to a mobile friendly site delays the time it takes for any page to be seen, and mobile users abandon page loads at a rate of 10% per second.
Secondly, your site data collection is undermined by having more than one URL, while the effort of maintaining two separate sites increases the load on the administrators. And, many users will flee your site upon seeing the redirect out of concerns for their device’s security. Fast abandonments of your site undermine your SEO because the short time on page is read as a poor indication of quality by the search engines.
Implement Web Design for Mobile Devices
Webpages should be designed for mobile devices. One change is replacing drop down menus that look like Microsoft Office, with multiple menus and submenus, and a few prominent buttons on the home page. The menu options on the next page should be kept to a minimum as well. This type of interface, called responsive design, works on mobile phones and tablets, hence the widespread adoption of it.
A more subtle shift is the rise of 1:1 video instead of 16:9 video, since the 1:1 video fills the entire mobile user’s screen. Resizing video and other elements on your web page requires using the viewport meta tag. Don’t forget to resize the fonts to maintain readability for mobile users, as well. Remove default zoom, since this can interfere with layout elements.
Use word-wrap so that mobile users don’t have to scroll to the right to read the rest of a sentence. Consider making questions that capture conversational SEO queries a link too; these links are not penalized the way links tied to key search terms are while being easy for mobile users to select.
Make Your Site Lean and Mean
You can maximize the mobile user’s experience by presenting them with your webpage as fast as possible without making it seem like you’ve cut anything out. One way you can do this is by storing YouTube instead of forcing users to wait for the web page containing the video to load. Then they can see that the video exists and select to load it, and they won’t abandon your site because it takes too long to load.
Another variation of this is showing 15 second to 60 second snippets of video while letting people have the option to click a button to “See More” and go to the location where the full video loads if desired.
If your business has an app, direct people to install the app through a formal App Store installation page instead of asking them to install it from your site. They are less likely to have problems with installation if the app goes through the App Store, and the installation won’t fail because the user runs out of bandwidth or times out while waiting for it to download.
If you want to improve the SEO of your webpage, rely on the content, headers, subheadings and tags for the page instead of putting a list of keywords across the bottom of the page.
All In Good Form
Mobile users face challenges trying to fill out online forms. If you must have an online form for the user to fill out, minimize the number of fields they have to input and use as many drop-down menus as possible. For example, ask for their names, but not a title like Mister or Miss. Ask for an email where required, but avoid asking for verification of it and don’t make them jump through hoops to not be signed up for an account as part of the ordering process. Turn off auto correct to avoid user frustration when trying to enter information from a cell phone keypad. Do turn on auto capitalize to simplify things for them and use the “email” specific input field so that mobile users don’t have to struggle to put the @ sign in their email addresses when filling out your forms. Be careful of turning off submit buttons on forms, since this could make it difficult for mobile users who lost a connection to re-submit the form. And if they have to fill it out all over again, you’ll likely lose their business now and forever.
If you want to improve the mobile friendliness of your website, keep these tips in mind.