To all digital marketers and businesses relying on digital marketing to achieve business success it is no secret just how important SEO is to a website. SEO determines where your website will appear in search engines and affects how easy it is for users to find it when they are searching the web; not only does this increase website traffic but it also has a very important place in increasing leads and sales. Businesses big and small rely on SEO to achieve a good web presence.
Search engine giant Google often changes its SEO rules and algorithms to improve usability and to increase how well the search engine works as a whole. Making frequent changes means that those using the search engine find it easier to retrieve the information they want. However, this does mean that websites and digital marketers need to change their strategies to ensure they are using the best SEO tactics in line with Google’s changes.
From the 21st April 2015 further changes to how Google works will place a large emphasis on mobile websites and the use of mobile websites in search engines. With more and more people turning to mobiles to use the internet – whether that is for social media or search engines – it is important that websites work well on mobiles and tablets. This means making mobile a major factor in SEO.
What Does a Focus on Mobile Mean For Websites?
Obviously, with a focus on using mobile being a larger part of SEO it is important that websites are well equipped to handle such changes without it impacting their SEO and to get the most out of the possible benefits. There are different factors to consider with Google’s focus on mobile and ensuring a website is optimised for mobile use is key.
- A website must be responsive for use on a range of different mobiles and tablets; this includes being responsive for different screen sizes to fit to the screen it is being viewed on. Not only does this means the user of the website can clearly see all information and images without needing to zoom in or out, but it will improve overall usability. This is a key part of ensuring a website is optimised for mobile use.
- Call-to-action buttons can be used well on mobile websites as it allows a user to directly contact a company without needing to search through a website for a telephone number. This can directly improve the call through rate.
- Ensure all links are working and that Google can fully crawl the website. This involves checking and removing any 404s, dead links, sitemaps and XML sitemaps. If Google cannot crawl a web page it cannot index it and judge whether it is a well made page with relevant content – without this it is unlikely a web page will rank highly in terms of SEO.
- It is important that users are directed to the mobile version of a website when accessing it from a smartphone or tablet. This does not necessarily mean an app, but a version of the website that has been created for easy use on smaller screens. This can also involve removal of some pages and only including basic information for a better mobile experience.
- Another important factor with SEO is site speed. Slow page load times, slow image load times and incorrectly loading pages can have a major affect on page rankings.
- Keep on top of the most popular search terms and queries on mobile as these are not always the same as those for desktop. Popular keywords vary depending on whether the user is using a mobile device of a desktop version of Google and it is important that both of these are taken into account when optimising a website for mobile use. It is useful to assess what other similar websites are doing in terms of keywords and implement this on the website.
- Take note of Google trends on mobile devices. This can range from keywords to click through links, but they do often differ from trends seen on standard websites.
To ensure a website is fully optimised for mobile use it is important to not only take into account the way the website is built and that it is responsive and user-friendly, but also SEO needs to be considered. It is a mistake to assume that the popular keywords for desktop websites are the same as those on mobile and often the search terms are very different – this can be down to a number of reasons such as users on mobile are more likely going to be searching for quick and brief information rather than page and pages of content. It is vital to optimise a website for mobile specific trends.
Taking proactive steps towards before Google’s SEO places a large focus on mobile is important and failing to do so can result in a website being left out and falling behind it’s competitors. Treat mobile and SEO differently to desktop SEO and ensure it is part of all digital marketing strategies.