Does Your Website Adapt on Mobile Devices?
As mobile searches increase in numbers Google penalizes more websites that fail to deliver.
Beware! Statistics show that worldwide more users are turning to cell phones and tablets to conduct online searches. Google plans to continue to be tough on developers, penalizing web sites that are difficult to view on a mobile device.
You may remember that Google warned back in June 2013 that there were plans to introduce SERP ranking penalties for those sites that continue to offer a disappointing mobile user experience. The types of problems Google specifically mentioned included:
- Improper redirects that link mobile users back to the site’s home page URL instead of to the direct URL for the page itself (usually caused by lazy or sloppy mobile optimization and not taking the time to interconnect each desktop page with its mobile equivalent).
- Pages that remain inaccessible to mobile users but are accessible from desktop and other devices. This includes videos, photos and other graphics that fail to display on a mobile device.
To find out how well your page works for mobile searches, just go to www.google.com/webmasters and run the site through Google’s Webmaster Diagnostics Tools and get the bottom line on just how well it ranks in SERPs.
To correct these and other mobile search problems, Google recommended three types of mobile site optimization:
- To reconfigure the website so that desktop, tablet, and other mobile devices including smartphones all share the same URLs. This involves redesigning the site using cascading scalable pages that automatically adjust the way the page appears depending on the device that is used to make the search. This type of responsive design is the one that Google recommends since it means that each site only has one set of pages for the search engine to crawl.
- To crosslink the different HTML links which are used by desktop and mobile devices that share the same URLs. This helps the Google search engines to recognize that the HTML text is not duplicate but refers back to just one URL. In this way your client’s site will not be erroneously penalized for duplicate content.
- To create different URLs for each type of device. For many, this is the least favoured option since it involves substantially more work to set up and maintain three URLs for each page of the website to present the same information in the different formats needed.
Corrected the mobile issues, but your site is still not ranking?
If, despite your best efforts, your website still fails to generate the traffic it deserves, we are always happy to take a look at what’s going on under the hood and offer some alternatives.
For many of our clients who are struggling with mobile-site issues we often recommend a conversion re-design for two reasons. Number 1, it takes the guess work out of why your site is not ranking high or attracting the visitors it should, and 2, it will update your design and sales messages to help you generate more interest from any device. It will analyze the way the site is used by the searchers who do visit, looking at questions such as:
- Do users leave after just a few seconds?
- How is Google evaluating your site and why?
- Are your sales messages easy to find and understand?
- Are your pages generating leads?
When we are monitoring a website’s success on mobile we also identify problematic areas, stripping the site back to its bare bones, simplifying the structure, link profiles, navigation and then addressing any problems that should be fixed.
If you’re concerned your website may have structural compliance issues, consider the following:
- Introducing one URL per page on Cascading Style Sheets that automatically adapt to return the best layout for the mobile, tablets, desktops or other devices that the user is searching from.
- Taking a critical look at on-site content and editing or adding text to current pages so that they are key-word rich, relevant, well-written and easily scanned by search engines – (and understood by users)
- Ensuring that all pages have individual, relevant, keyword rich titles, sub-heads and captions that are written in easy to read, search engine friendly HTML script so that they too count towards the site’s SERP ranking;
- Restructuring on-page navigation making links easy to follow, flow smoothly and be easily traceable by search engines;
- Making sure all graphics, tables, videos, photos and other visuals are quick to load, mobile compliant and included to traceable site content;
This offers a way to fine-tune the website to enhance your sales messages and improve the user’s first impressions of the services or products provided on any device.
Performing well on mobile will:
- Improve your credibility and trustworthiness in the eyes of Google, and your customers
- Encourage reputable incoming third party links from a variety of sources
- Lead to increased phone calls, email leads and social media likes and shares
- Lead to increased traffic, more conversions and lower bounce rates
- Generate more conversions from Tablets and Mobiles
- Be attractive to advertisers looking for sites on which to initiate PPC campaigns.
Over the years we’ve learned that businesses that take time to optimize their sites for all the latest changes experience far more conversions and sales than those that take a more relaxed and hands-off approach.
If you would like a no-obligation analysis of your website’s mobile performance, strengths and weaknesses just ask us!
By Courtney Dale