It seems every discussion about changes to the internet at the moment contains the phrase mobile-friendly, particularly with the upcoming change to how Google rates sites when searched on a smartphone. But one company that specialises in SEO services for London companies thinks that concentrating on just making a website mobile friendly may mean missing out on the other potential opportunities that come from mobile optimisation, and shares some of the info they’ve been posting on their Google+ page over the last few weeks.
Rankings & Ratings
Before this new update starts, when someone searches for something on a mobile phone, they receive pretty much the same results as they would when they searched from a laptop or a PC based on ratings from the search engine’s algorithms – so you could achieve good search engine rankings across all devices.
But when the changes come in play, websites will be rated as being mobile friendly or not and those that are will be above those that aren’t in those results. This means that you can have the perfect website but if Google don’t tick the box saying mobile friendly, you will be below others who are.
Mobile optimisation is a step further – rather than simply ensuring that a website looks as good on a smartphone as a PC, mobile optimisation is about making the smartphone experience special. Website designers focus on elements such as the structure of the site as well as its design, ensuring that page speeds as suitable for smartphone viewing as well as reducing redirects that may not work so well on the little screen.
Other focuses include things that don’t work on mobiles, for example the Flash plug-in. This doesn’t work on all phones so designers are switching to use HTML5 instead. Pop-ups don’t gel well with smartphones and often end up frustrating users so that they leave the site, so getting rid of them is another important element.
The subtle stuff is also an important element of optimisation. Because the screen is smaller on a smartphone, the content that the user sees has to be the best, most important content but also needs to be concise. This means that areas such as meta descriptions, URLs and titles all need careful consideration from the mobile viewpoint.
The Local Factor
As well as the being mobile friendly and optimised for the smartphone users, websites need to be keyed into Local SEO. This is aimed at businesses that have physical premises somewhere and want to be put in touch with customers in their local region. For example, if you live in Bradford and search your mobile for a computer repair shop, you don’t want the top ten results to all be in London or Birmingham. Adding a map pack to a website is an important element of this as long as your website’s city and state tags are accurate. Adding this information to meta titles, URL or content can all help with those local rankings when smartphone users search and embedding Google Maps is a great way to show where you are in a single glance.
All of this may seem a little overwhelming if you aren’t a web designer and sometimes, getting a professional to apply their talents to the design of your business website can be the best bet. But ignoring these aspects will have a negative impact on your site traffic in the coming year as users accessing the internet via smartphone is set to overtake those using a PC or laptop.