For some, change sucks. Why fix it if it ain’t broke?
Unfortunately, this adage doesn’t apply to mobile SEO.
Since mobile-first indexing was introduced at the end of 2016, the transformation brought about by a mobile revolution has been well under way.
Google now ranks websites based on how they appear on mobile devices.
Thanks to mobile-first indexing, now if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, then you can expect your rankings to drop—unless you do something about it.
In this post, you’ll learn five ways to implement mobile SEO on your site to increase your search ranking on mobile and beyond.
Mobile SEO: 5 Easy Ways to Prepare Your Site for the Mobile Revolution
Since the mobile-friendly update (lovingly referred to as Mobilegeddon) was rolled out in 2015, website owners have been encouraged to create mobile-friendlier sites if they want to continue ranking for organic search.
The update, together with Google’s mobile-first indexing, has caused a shift from traditional web optimization to a more mobile-centric approach.
Here are five things you can do right now to optimize your site for mobile and bring in more mobile traffic.
#1: Make your site responsive
Traffic from mobile devices is growing, while traffic from desktops and tablets continues to plummet.
From a user perspective, it only makes sense to serve your growing mobile users with a more convenient way of accessing your content and a more seamless user experience.
This starts with a responsive website design.
A responsive web design means your website will automatically adapt to the user’s device and screen size, whether they’re viewing your site from a desktop or mobile device. The purpose of responsive design is to show your site’s content optimally for the device it’s being viewed on, which leads to higher retention and conversion rates.
If you’re not sure if you have a responsive site, you can start by entering your URL on Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. This tool will tell you if your site is mobile-friendly, and shows a preview of what it looks like on a mobile device.
If the test shows that your website isn’t responsive, then you need to create a responsive version of it, pronto. Keep in mind that you’ll probably need help setting this up if you don’t have any coding experience.
#2: Optimize for questions, not keywords
Voice search looks to revamp how search is done via mobile.
People don’t search for information the way they type. They ask questions and use more natural phrasing and longtail keywords to find the information they’re looking for.
Therefore, instead of focusing on keywords (e.g. running shoes), find questions to optimize your site pages for (e.g. what are the best running shoes?).
Google’s People Also Ask boxes are a great place to find question keywords that users commonly ask, as well as tools like AnswerThePublic and KWFinder (just click on the Questions tab to get question suggestions for your keyword search).
With questions as your new target keywords, you can then create new pages on your site and dedicate an entire piece of content to answering the question. Or, you can add to content that you’ve already published on your site by including the questions on the page, and providing an in-depth answer to each.
Doing so helps search spiders to index your page for voice search results, giving you a higher chance of appearing in mobile voice searches.
#3: Speed up loading times
Site speed is another major factor impacting user experience on mobile.
As part of your mobile SEO strategy, you need to provide a faster website to your target audience. If done correctly, Google will rank your site higher compared to those with slow-loading sites.
You can check your current site speed score from your Monitor Backlinks dashboard. Just log in to your account and hover over the Speed icon on the dashboard menu to see how you stack up.
Click on the icon and you’ll be directed to the Google PageSpeed Insights results for your site. From here, you’ll see how your site speed compares on desktop and mobile, and tips and suggestions for improvement.
Sign up for a free, 30-day trial of Monitor Backlinks here to get these SEO insights (plus heaps more) for your own site!
Another option to consider for improving your site speed, especially if your blog posts load slower than expected, is Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). This initiative helps site owners to create beautiful pages that adhere to the best site practices of a fast-loading site.
While AMP is spearheaded by Google, it doesn’t mean it’s a ranking factor for SEO. If your site loads fast enough compared to the AMP version of the same page, then there’s no need to adapt to AMP.
What’s important is that you serve your visitors with the best version of your site possible.
#4: Add schema structured data
Even if you don’t reach the top spot of mobile or voice search, you can still get people to notice your site with the help of schema markup.
This structured data allows you to enter more information about your site pages to help search spiders understand what they’re all about. It also helps you transform your SERP snippets into rich snippets, which leads to potentially higher CTR and greater traffic.
Below is an example of schema markup as it appears in a rich snippet in the search results. The entries have structured data because they not only feature the title and description of the page, but also a feature image and a star rating.
There are no set limits to the kind of data you can add to your site pages, including date of publication, author, nutritional value and more. Just remember to practice discretion and not go over the top by using all of them.
Ultimately, structured data is designed to help users make better choices on which pages to click on from mobile and desktop search results. To find out more about structured data and how to implement it on your website, check out this post.
#5: Remove interstitials
Let’s get real—interstitials (such as pop-ups and other interruptive advertising) are annoying.
There are instances when pop-ups are done tastefully. However, they normally cover the whole screen to feature promotional and marketing content, thus disrupting the user experience.
To remedy the situation, Google started to disregard mobile pages with intrusive pop-ups that don’t add any value to the content.
If you’re one of the guilty parties and you use interstitials excessively on your website, it’s time to consider disabling them—at least on mobile. You’ll get to increase the chances of your pages ranking higher on mobile search, and at the same time, can keep them active for desktop users so it’s not like you’re disabling pop-ups from your site entirely.
Aside from these reasons, interstitials make your site slower to load in general because they use resources from servers outside of your hosting.
What it all boils down to is providing your visitors with the best possible experience of browsing your content—and excessive pop-ups or interruptions don’t contribute to a good experience.
Disabling interstitials from your mobile site will depend on the pop-up tool you’re using. Normally, you should be able to tweak it from the tool’s settings.
Boost your traffic with mobile SEO
This mobile SEO guide is by no means the most exhaustive you’ll read. However, it does provide you with crucial and easy-to-implement tips so you can start optimizing your site for mobile viewing right now.
The importance of mobile SEO can never be understated, which is why you need to take these steps now so you can reap the benefits of higher mobile traffic sooner.