Are you aware of the importance of having a responsive website for your business, the one which adapts itself to the device it is viewed in? If not, then this blog is a must read for you. If your website is not mobile friendly yet, don’t be puzzled, if its rankings slumps in Google search results.
According to Google statistics, mobile search queries have outdone desktop searches. With this small piece of information, should the marketers think of a distinctive game plan to help their pages rank for mobile search queries? Well, definitely yes and we will tell you how.
Looking at the most talked about mobile-friendly ranking algorithm by Google, this blog apprises which factors you must keep in mind in order to optimize your website for mobile.
What is Mobilegeddon?
Mobile search has changed since the new ranking algorithm by Google. Famously known as Mobilegeddon, this is a mobile update launched on April 21, 2015 to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in Google’s mobile search results.
The Aftermath of Mobilegeddon Update
Not many marketers who had heard of this update could imagine, how catastrophic Mobilegeddon would be for their time-worn website design. However, it is not a source of concern for every marketer rather a benefit for those who have responsive website design.
The websites of marketers which do not have a separate mobile website design are pushed down in the Google search results. Their mobile website ranking in Google turns out to be really low. On the other hand, it is highly advantageous for mobile-friendly websites. So, invest in a responsive website design to increase mobile website ranking and draw consistently high traffic.
Fast Facts about Mobilegeddon You Can’t Miss
- Desktop and tablets unaffected:
Desktops and tablets remain impregnable by the advent of new algorithm. While it’s only the mobiles impacted but the number of mobile users exceed the desktop ones.
- Switch to responsive website design anytime:
True that Google has ruled out plagiarised content and one-size-fits-all strategy followed by marketers but, you can improve your mobile website ranking anytime. Invest in a good responsive website development as it is the fundamental factor that Google considers to increase your mobile website ranking. Not just responsive, you have two more website development options -dynamic served sites or a separate mobile site.
- Google informed well in advance:
Huge giants like Google do not believe in warning the users before making modifications but this time was different. They were considerable enough to inform businesses two months prior to this algorithm update. This was like a warning notifying – ‘get ready to get busted’.
- Additionally, this update:
Affects search results in all languages worldwide
- Applies to discrete web pages, not entire websites
Mobile Ranking Factors
We discuss about the factors that are crucial to get your website in Google’s top search results. These factors are also to be kept in mind while creating your mobile website design.
Watch how much time your website is taking to load. Seconds or minutes? Because Google is going to update the page speed ranking factor to specifically note the page speed of your website’s pages for mobile website ranking. The highest ranking web pages take an average of 1.10 seconds to load. The faster your site loads, the better it is for your rankings. You can check how your site performs with the below tools by Google:
- Page Speed Insights tool
While the speed factor is not in effect right now but Gary Illyes from Google confirms it is just a few months away.
Flash is a term of by gone days. This superannuated software is rarely used to develop websites now due to its prolonged loading time. We advise you not to create a website design using Flash as most mobiles can’t read flash such as IPhone and Blackberry. Rather use HTML5 to increase your mobile website ranking.
Keywords in Domain:
Do you still think your website’s ranking can be increased just by integrating effective keywords in its content? It all changed in September 2012 when google launched a filter called Exact Match Domain (EMD). This is an update to prevent poor websites from ranking well just based on keywords. The keywords in your domain bear little significance now than you might think. Content is all what matters, so invest in becoming a notable brand.
Excessively long URLs is a bane to your mobile website ranking. The ideal URL length recommended by Google is under 2000 characters. So, keep it short.
A happy user becomes a regular visitor to your website hence a satisfying user experience is crucial to increase your mobile website ranking.
Less is the key to a high rank according to Google. Top-rated mobile website design incorporates fewer interactive elements and use structured elements like bulleted lists to make the content more scannable. Remember to keep the items to a minimum.
Statistics state that more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on desktop computers in 10 countries including the US. This calls for a better mobile configuration for even better user experience. Responsive design is the answer to your call. Often referred to as RWD, this design approach deliver different experiences to desktop users, tablet users and mobile users. It maintains the same HTML and URL structure while shrinking or growing according to device.
There are 2 more types of website designs – Adaptive website design and separate mobile site but Google has clearly stated, responsive is its preference.
Reports suggest that internal links should be fewer in mobile sites than in desktop sites. While the number of internal links have increased in both desktop and mobile sites, it is still advisable to keep the number lower in the latter. In fact, considering the less space in mobiles, restrict the links to only important ones.
Unlike the desktop results, mobile websites should contain upto 4 images per page. Ensure the images are optimized to load quickly and the file name, alt text, title, description and caption are relevant.
Speaking from personal experience, advertisements and popups are not a healthy option while creating a mobile website design. Popups make the user immediately press the ‘X’ button. Google Rater Guidelines Document and Page Layout Algorithm penalizes sites with excessive ads and low quality content. To give your users a smooth experience, restrict the number of ads on mobile websites to none.
As mobiles are smaller in size, the font size of the content should be bigger than in desktop. It improves the readability of your content simultaneously improving your mobile website ranking.
Content is the fundamental of any website, be it mobile or desktop. A user visits any website for the information they are seeking and if you fail to feed them with useful content, your website traffic obviously reduces drastically. The below factors impact significantly in Google’s mobile website ranking.
How long should my post be? Shall I keep it short or create a comprehensive article? With the increase in mobile screen size, the word count has also increased. From 700 in 2014 to 865 in 2015, we have seen an increase in the average word count suiting mobile website design. While there is a consistence change and increase in word count for mobile sites, it should still be lower than the desktop.
Keywords in Body:
Similar to the word count factor, keyword usage in mobile website content should always be lower than incontent for desktop sites. Due to the word count being lower, excessive use of keywords is a cause for poor quality content. Although there is an increase in the number of keywords being used in mobile websites of 2016, the count is still lower than that of desktop websites. Make sure you do not overdo keywords in your content merely to appear in top search results. Keyword stuffing won’t help, rather serve you the opposite and Google can rank you down for bad content.
Every factor that I explain here is essential for high rankings. Proof terms are simply the terms very closely related to the main keyword(s) of the page. No, these are not keywords. Let’s assume that you write an article for your property business. Proof terms are the ones found in most property business articles like real estate, dealer, property rental, etc. The use of important proof terms for a main keyword is essential for high rankings.
To reiterate, the content you create for any mobile website should be useful and readable. However, it is noted that top ranking websites have more complicated content. We suggest that no matter how you create your content, its readability score should fall in the mid-70’s range. You can keep a check with any Online Readability Score Tool.
Additional Factors Important for Ranking
The factors discussed here do not fall under any of the above categories but these are of utmost importance to any mobile website design.
- Strong Social Signals Correlate with High Rankings
There is a high correlation between social reach and high rankings. To put in simple words, strong content naturally gets more number of social shares which increases its rank, vice versa web pages with high rank gets more number of social shares. This implies that you need to work on feeding the audience with unique and good content. High rank and social popularity will follow.
- Inbound Links Appear to be Declining in Importance
Mobile web pages have almost half as many links as desktop pages. However, various reports and statistics state that use and importance of links is on the decline. The reason is clear; content on mobile websites is usually shared through social forwarding methods than sharing the direct links.
Forget Desktop - Mobile-Friendly Websites Are the Order of the Day
To increase you mobile website ranking, make sure you follow the factors we discussed while creating your website design. You can check your site’s mobile-friendliness with the below tools by Google:
- Mobile-Friendly Test: This site allows you to examine individual pages
- Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools: This allows you to check the status of your entire website.
If your website pages are not mobile-friendly, the organic mobile traffic from Google search would decline. But as mentioned above, you can always re-design your website to improve its mobile website ranking. This process can also be accelerated by using Fetch as Google with Submit to Index where you can ask Google to re-crawl your URLs