The process of optimizing your small business website for search performance may feel overwhelming, especially if you are just starting to learn about this critical marketing consideration. Whether you’re just learning how to do keyword research or exploring the various SEO tools on the market, there are many key decisions to make about your website SEO.
In this article, we will look at one especially important and too often overlooked area of small business marketing online – mobile website optimization.
But what is mobile website optimization, and how can it impact your overall marketing efforts? Let’s take a deep dive into the importance of optimizing for mobile and how you can take steps toward improving your website today.
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What is Mobile SEO?
Before getting into the “how to” portion of this article, we’ll start at the beginning. What IS mobile website optimization?
Mobile SEO refers to the process of optimizing your website with its performance on mobile devices in mind. While this is similar to desktop SEO, there are some distinct differences specific to the mobile experience.
One of the critical considerations for mobile website optimization is how your website looks and functions for mobile users.
This includes ensuring that your website is aesthetically pleasing on mobile devices, all menu options and clickable elements are accessible, and both text and images are displayed so they can be viewed on the smaller mobile screen.
Why is Mobile SEO Important?
Why should you optimize for mobile? Is this really a necessary area to be investing your time and money for business growth? The short answer is YES!
Data shows that approximately 63% of all search engine visits were done on a mobile device in Q4 of 2021. If your website comes up in one of these searches, but the user can’t access or read the content that you are providing, that’s a missed opportunity.
The importance of a mobile-optimized website isn’t new regarding SEO and search performance.
Google rolled out a mobile-friendly update in 2015, making clear their stance on the need for mobile optimization. At the time, they went on record stating, “We’re boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results.”
If you want your content to appear in the search results for most search engine users, you MUST have a mobile-optimized site.
8 Tips for Mobile Website Optimization
Now that we have established why you want to optimize your website for mobile, let’s discuss some of the actions you can take to improve your mobile SEO today.
1. Make Sure Your Website Has a Responsive Design
Have you ever visited a website on your phone only to find that it looks slightly different from your computer? The changes that you see aren’t accidental.
A responsive website design means that the various elements on your site will resize or move as needed to be functional and aesthetically pleasing. This ensures that your website provides the best possible user experience regardless of the device they use to visit it.
Themes used for platforms like WordPress often include a responsive design with no additional effort needed on your part.
If you are working with a web developer, reach out to find out what steps they have taken to improve mobile usability on your website.
2. Consider Site Speed
Another major ranking factor that Google has highlighted is the speed at which your site loads. This is especially important for the mobile page experience.
If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, most users will give up and move to another site for the information they seek. This often means moving on to your competitors.
Try testing your website using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. You will be given rankings for both mobile and desktop related to site performance, accessibility, best practices, and SEO. The report also includes a list of recommendations to improve your site performance.
3. Only Use Mobile-Friendly Popups
If you use popups on your website for ad delivery or to promote offers and lead magnets, make sure you consider mobile delivery.
Some popup designs function well on mobile, but this isn’t true for all. Too often, I come across popups where the information is cut off, or the button to close out the popup isn’t accessible.
Take the time to test any popups you are implementing on mobile devices.
4. Limit Paragraph Length
When creating text content, the length of your paragraphs is a pivotal factor to consider. The smaller screen size means that the text is divided into more lines. This makes a single sentence look significantly longer to the reader.
A standard paragraph displayed as 4-5 lines on a desktop computer often looks like a wall of text when delivered on mobile.
The best way to avoid overwhelming your audience on mobile is to limit your paragraphs to 1-3 sentences. This will use page breaks and white space to break your content into more manageable pieces.
5. Get to the Point
Another reason to consider how long your content can look on mobile is that website viewers must scroll further down the page to access everything.
If people can’t find what they are looking for quickly, they will look elsewhere!
Keep your content to the point without adding too much unnecessary filler. Summarize the main point of blog posts and articles in your introductory paragraph to make it easy to find.
You can also incorporate a “Key Points” or “Key Takeaways” section at the top of your longer articles to summarize the data they may be searching for in short, easy-to-access point form. They can then keep reading if they are searching for more detailed information about these points.
6. Include a Table of Contents
Including a table of contents (TOC) on all long-form content is a great way to improve the user experience. This will allow website visitors to click through quickly and easily to the information they seek.
You can create a TOC manually or, if using a platform like WordPress, install a plugin that will automatically generate this for you. On this website, I use the Easy Table of Contents plugin.
7. Ensure You Are Using Headings, Lists, and Tables
One often overlooked aspect of mobile website optimization is the number of people using mobile voice search to access information.
Formatting your website with appropriate headings, bulleted lists, and tables makes that information easily accessible for search engines like Google to identify and deliver your content in their search results.
This will also increase your odds of landing an answer box or featured snippet.
8. Pay Attention to Font Sizing
One of the easiest updates you can make to improve your mobile friendliness is to ensure that your font sizing is large enough.
When font sizing is too small, it can be tough to read on smaller screens. Experts recommend that all body fonts should be at least 16px.
On the other end of the scale, avoid making your fonts too large.
Keep in mind that each font will look different in practice. While some may offer the ideal experience at 16px, others may need to be sized up to 20px for an optimal experience. Always check the appearance of your site on a mobile screen when making these adjustments.
Have you previously done any mobile website optimization? If so, what changes and updates have you made to improve your mobile performance?
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