Mobile searches have outpaced the desktop, Google announced in October 2015. It’s been five years since then and the time/texts/research/analysis allocated to SEO optimization for mobile is far from ubiquitous.
In the online environment, the importance of optimizing mobile sites – both for user experience and in terms of SEO optimization.
In order to be as convincing as possible in our approach, we will continue to present relevant statistics on how mobile traffic takes place in India, what Google proposes by indexing Mobile First, as well as the most important aspects to consider when starting the campaign, SEO optimization for mobile.
What does statista say about the traffic coming from smartphones in our country?
Number of mobile phone internet users in India from 2015 to 2018 with a forecast until 2023
According to the above image, the number of mobile phone users in India will touch 500 million users by 2023. As per statista
India’s digital journey is one of exuberance. The country had the world’s second-largest internet population at over 483 million users in 2018. Of these, 390 million users accessed the internet via their mobile phones. Estimates suggest that this figure would reach over 500 million by 2023.https://www.statista.com/statistics/558610/number-of-mobile-internet-user-in-india/
Let’s have another data by InternetWorldStats
Google officials have found that people are five times more likely to leave a site quickly if it is not compatible with their mobile device, whether we are talking about smartphones or tablets. Also, more than half of mobile phone users choose to leave a site if it loads harder than 4 seconds.
Following the latest Google updates related to mobile versions, the existence of a mobile-optimized site is vital. That’s why SEO optimization for mobile is a must-have.
What do the statistics about Indians’ mobile shopping indicate?
The mobile phone is becoming one of the main marketing and promotion channels for retailers, the smartphone being always available to users. Under these conditions, brands must have a different strategy for mobile devices to attract customers.
According to IBEF:
Online penetration of retail is expected to reach 10.7% by 2024, versus 4.7% in 2019. Online shoppers in India reached 120 million in 2018 and are expected to reach 220 million by 2025. Online retailers deliver to 15,000-20,000 pin codes out of nearly 100,000 pin codes in the country. In 2019, it was estimated that one in every three Indians shopped via a smartphone.https://www.ibef.org/
According to Statista:
Online Shopping Adoption in India by thinkwithGoogle
Mobile-First Indexing and its impact on mobile SEO campaigns
The statistics also made Google decide to put mobile users first. Considered an experiment, but also the first step towards reorienting Google to mobile content rather than desktop content when deciding ranking results, the US company began testing Mobile-First indexing. This indexing will be used to position the mobile version of your site. For now, however, in evaluating the ranking of a page, Google analyzes the desktop version of that site.
When the change announced by Google occurs, the content and links of the mobile version of your site, along with other factors such as speed, user behavior, etc., will be the key to the visibility and SEO process on that search engine. Of course, the desktop content of the site will be a factor in evaluating the ranking, but this will be in the background. Mobile will be the first place in Google’s attention.
We should also place in the first place the SEO optimization campaigns for mobile devices.
The current separation of the Google index could lead to even greater differences between the results we now receive from desktop and mobile, even if we perform the same search in the same geographical area. Moreover, the Google index for searches on mobile devices may be updated more frequently than the index for searches on the desktop.
A separate index also allows crawling efficiency, in the sense of indexing mainly mobile-optimized pages.
How we prepare our site for the transition to mobile?
Make sure you provide markup for both variants of the site. The equivalence of the markup structures of a site can be verified by writing the URLs of both versions in the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the results obtained.
Use robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is supported by GoogleBot.
The sites will not show changes in the canonical links, these links will continue to be used to bring the right results for users searching on both Desktop and Mobile.
There are three main techniques for implementing “mobile-friendly” content on your site to prepare for the changes announced by Google:
A responsive site.
A website is responsive if it has the ability to adapt the layouts (design) of the pages according to the viewing environment (more precisely the screen resolution – desktop, laptop, tablet, phone), without suffering major degradation, to provide the users an excellent browsing experience.
A dynamic site
Dynamic sites are much more flexible, being much easier to manage. Their configuration is much more complicated because it uses a programming language like PHP, but once configured it is much easier to modify. Using a CMS (content management system) the site content can be updated, modified, new pages can be created, and irrelevant content can be deleted. Thus, if you want to get interactive features of the site, such as forms, questionnaires, purchasing systems, news feeds, comments, forums, there is no other method than dynamic sites.
Separate URLs – decisive for mobile SEO optimization
In this configuration, desktop pages have an equivalent for mobile users on a separate subdomain, created specifically for this purpose (for example m.facebook.com). The correct URL is served for desktop or mobile devices depending on the user-agent, through a redirect. To display the correct page and to consolidate the ranking signals, a “rel = alternate” tag must be added and configured for the desktop version, and a “rel = canonical” tag must be added for the mobile version. Since the code used to display the page is separate, the design can be created to meet the expectations of mobile users (as for Dynamic Serving). It also does not require changing the desktop design.
Which mobile design version fits your site?
There are 3 design versions for mobile devices: responsive design version, mobile design version, mobile site version.
A responsive design means that the site adapts “depending on the resolution of each visitor, so if you have visitors on mobile, the site “adapts” to mobile.
In theory, most recommend responsive design, because it is the latest trend and especially because Google recommends this. More precisely, Google recommends 3 variants, responsive design, dynamic serving, and mobile version (mobile site, ex: m.facebook.com).
The SEO advantages of a responsive site are:
- one site, multiple devices (desktop, tablet, mobile)
- easy to manage (same administration panel)
A site with a mobile version (dynamic serving) has the same advantages. The mobile version involves the creation of a separate site, which is offered only to visitors who use mobile phones, in the format m.facebook.com.
In the case of a presentation site, the responsive version is the most used version, although the mobile version is more useful. For online stores, the responsive version is not an optimal solution.
In practice, the responsive version forces the visitor from mobile devices to load a lot of unnecessary scripts, offering a longer loading time and more complicated navigation. As an online store includes many features, most of them useless for mobile devices, we recommend you to choose the mobile version.
Google Search Console – the starting point for SEO optimization on mobile
In the process of optimizing your site for the mobile version, you should also take into account the “tools” that Google uses, such as the Google Search Console, a service through which anyone can check online how much mobile-friendly ”is his website.
Google Search Console is a free tool indispensable for the mobile SEO campaign, which allows viewing the number of visitors to the site, as well as more advanced things such as the expressions searched in the Google search engine that brought visitors to the site.
Search Console takes into account the following features of your site:
Unconfigured viewport: the viewport meta tag helps the browser resize a page so that it can be viewed correctly on different devices.
Font size: if it is too small, the user will be forced to use the zoom for viewing on mobile devices
Buttons too close: if the menus and buttons are too close to each other they cannot be accessed by touch, because they are too close and too small.
Intrusive interstitial content: pop-up windows or boxes that cover the main content of the webpage – displayed as soon as the user accesses the page from the results listed in Google search pages.
In an update to the official announcement in August 2016, regarding the penalty of sites that display full-screen banners in the mobile version, Google confirms that starting with January 10, 2017, this penalty will start to take effect. The Google post also provides examples of situations that could be penalized:
There are exceptions, cases in which Google considers the display of these popups valid. e.g.:
- displaying legal information, such as the policy for using cookies.
- displaying the authentication form, for access in restricted areas.
- banners that use “reasonable space” on the screen and are easy to close.
There are other free tools for online testing of web site behavior on mobile devices and how SEO optimized it is, including:
Page load speed – a decisive factor for mobile SEO
Since 2010, Google has announced that it takes into account the loading speed of a site when positioning it in results. In other words, speed matters. SEO-optimized sites for mobile, which have a good loading speed, tend to occupy the first page in Google, to the detriment of sites with a lower loading speed. To check the loading speed of the site you can even use the Google tool, specially built for this purpose: Google PageSpeed Tool.
Here are some rules that Google takes into account to increase the speed at which pages load on mobile:
- Compression activation
- Cache usage
- HTML compression
- Image compression and optimization
- Prioritize visible content
- Remove redirects
- Reduce server response time
Basic actions for SEO optimization of the mobile version
Starting from the three main criteria on which the optimization of the site for mobile is based (a responsive design, page loading speed, mobile design, and usability – efficiency and ease of use of web pages) there is a list of actions that must be done. to take into account.
Home page and site navigation
- The positioning of CTA (call to action) buttons – an online marketing tool that aims to convert visitors into potential customers – on the homepage.
- Build a simple and attractive menu.
- Returning to the home page should be easy
- Don’t let ads attack users
Searching the site
- Position the search button in a visible place.
- Make sure the button is effective
- Use filters for a better search
- Guide users for better search results.
- Optimizing the entire mobile site
- Avoid putting site users in a position to use zoom
- Rely on images of products that enlarge to see the details
- Tell users which screen orientation option to choose
- Keep the user in a single browser window
- Explain to the user why you need “user location”
The most common SEO mistakes for mobile
Google has identified several common mistakes in smartphone websites that will result in lower rankings. These are:
- Movies that don’t run
- Defective redirects
- 404 errors on mobile versions
- Links for applications interspersed in pages
- Cross-Linking irrelevant
Conclusions – or rather: How can mobile SEO optimization become a competitive advantage for your business/website
The future will surely be of mobile websites, especially since everything that means media and information can already be found on mini-sites optimized for mobile devices.
Even for smaller business sites that focus primarily on sales, “mobile-friendly” quality is more than necessary because sales also depend on how mobile phone users can access the sites correctly. in the mobile version.
SEO is also important because users who access the mobile version of the site have completely different consumption habits than those who access the desktop version of a website, looking for information that is fast, easy to digest, presented in an attractive and easy to follow form. on the mobile device, be it tablet or smartphone.
In other words, mobile traffic is very different from desktop traffic. There are major differences both in terms of audience and differences in browsing behavior.
Who will understand these differences in a timely manner, who will be able to implement them in time – more precisely who will be able to adopt a correct SEO strategy for mobile, will have great chances to take full advantage of this transition of traffic from desktop to mobile.
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