In June 2013 Google rolled out mobile SEO standards in an effort to improve mobile web experiences and search results. Here are some quick take-aways that can not only improve your customers’ experiences, but both make and save you money at the same time.
By now everyone has heard of responsive or, at the very least, have considered taking their online presence mobile. Unfortunately many times this investment decision is based on traffic numbers from a non-mobile site. This is because most people don’t realize SEO for a normal desktop website and SEO for a mobile website is different. There are actually many advantages to having a mobile site non-mobile sites can’t capture.
Mobile SEO compliance has a lot of advantages
- Mobile SEO compliance will give you a better ranking on mobile search results
- Non-compliant mobile websites will actually be “punished” in the rankings
- Complying with mobile SEO guidelines will improve your mobile user experience and increase conversions
- Mobile SEO guidelines will streamline your website and save you money all over the place
Rule #1 There can be only one … URL
Google favors one URL for every platform experience and they will reward you on the SERP for your efforts. Given that, responsive design is your best option, closely followed buy adaptive. This also means you should actively avoid “m.”, “mobile.”, or URLs specific to devices. Here’s three good reasons why:1. Social Sharing
- People are sharing links and content from your website
- Those click throughs come from all sorts of devices
- Those click throughs also influence your search ranking, or credibility with google
- So be share friendly
2. Redirects Take More Time for a Worse Experience
- Mobile users are often on 3G or 4G networks
- Redirecting them from www.mysite.com to m.mysite.com means they have to load multiple pages
- According to KISSmetric 1 second delay can cost you 7% of your conversions
- Desktop clickers also pay the price when they click a link shared from a mobile device
3. Redirects Cost Money
- Maintaining different code bases and websites for each platform costs money
- Server space, bandwidth, network time, and maintenance all increase for m-dot strategies
Four Common Mistakes Resulting in Low Mobile SEO
1. Faulty Redirects
- If you are redirecting a mobile device, don’t redirect everyone to the homepage.
- The final destination has to contain the content the user was looking for
- If your site has a login, make sure the user continues on their path post login.
2. Mobile 404s
- If your desktop and mobile experiences differ you’re better off showing a mobile compliant version of your desktop site then nothing at all
- It may seem like a nice thing to do, but google’s crawlers see a 404 they have nothing to index and your results suffer
3. App Download Interstitials
- This is just a poor user experience. Don’t stop people from seeing your content.
- A lot of people will hit the back button before downloading your app
- Google knows this and discourages it by punishing the offenders in rankings
4. Have Good Mobile Optouts
- Some people want to see the full website on their device… let them.
- When redirecting, make sure they get the same page, and not pushed back to the homepage
So next time someone proposes mobile first or responsive design, don’t go right to the analytics to find out if it’s a good idea. And if you have a mobile presence already, it’s definitely a good idea to make sure it’s mobile SEO compliant.