Portent’s inspection of the best 25,000 sites unveiled the fact that nearly half of them are not mobile friendly. Many webmasters do not pay attention to mobile because they assume that there will be no significant differences as their audience mainly rely on desktops to get content. Another reason could be because they are not familiar with the benefits that those who have been in the game for long already enjoy.
Wonder about those who already take advantage of mobile websites and what the future has in store? There are certainly some lessons from Google’s actions that will help them starting April 21st.
- Search Experience Optimization
In an old video, Matt Cutts suggested the change what SEO stands for from Search Engine Optimization to Search Experience Optimization. If Google intends to attract and keep more people it must create a more enjoyable user experience compared to its close competitors like Facebook and Bing among others. Instead of focusing only on ranking high on search engine results, try to add some fun aspects that will make your site the first choice among users.
People hate having to do extra work while trying to access content just because they are using their Smartphones and thankfully, Google sees the need to fix this nagging problem in this update for it is the holy grail of improving user experience.
Google updates are important for webmasters who must keep up with them in the following ways:
– Ensure that it takes a second or less for pages to load on various mobile devices. While loading speed is not the subject of this update, Gary Lllyes of Google says it is a factor that affects ranking and might be considered in future. As you work on page speed, also make use of tools such as Pure Oxygen Labs Mobile Page Audit to improve user experience and do not forget to fix ‘common errors’ as listed by Google. Pages that take too long to load or websites that do not provide content on one flowing page for example, are a major turn off for users who hate clicking ‘next page’ click here to read more’ or waiting ages for a page to display content.
– Google is now using content from deep linked apps to rank search results of users with the app. It is recommended that you add deep links to your android app to take advantage of this practice that could soon expand to apps that are not yet installed according to Google’s Mariya Moeva at SMX West. It is worth noting that SEO is not only exclusive to websites judging from the new ‘Google Search for Developers’, which shows content from apps as well as websites.
– Optimize for mobile assistants. Think of creative means of integrating email notifications with mobile assistants such as Google Now which help your business by assisting people to find exactly what they seek. Search World West and Mobile Mooxies Google Now presentations are great sources of information on the importance of mobile assistants.
– Structured data for inclusion into Knowledge Graph. Hummingbird helped people find results to questions especially on mobile devices but the Knowledge Graph is about making instant answers possible. Make use of the detailed tutorial provided by Google to learn how to do just that. Instant answers not only increase loading speeds but they also save on data costs for mobile users depending on their plans and providers.
2. Provide and Additive rather than Reductive mobile site experience
For many years people believed that simplicity was the standard for mobile web development. Provision of essential information was encouraged as it was assumed that mobile users were always on the move and had limited time.
On the contrary, it is obvious that most Smartphones are used at home when people have time on their hands, hence the recent trend of availing wholesome content on any platform. Proponents of adaptive and responsive design have encouraged this and they receive help from Google through penalties that include redirecting to home pages. Google’s penalties are dreadful for websites because it is extremely difficult to go back to ranking high in results and webmasters want to avoid them at all costs. These factors are truly the reasons why our generation can enjoy full website experience on their mobile devices.
While this is a great step, more needs to be done to incorporate unique features of smart phones. Most mobile devices have GPS, cameras, radio and other features that are not on desktop computers. Mobile websites therefore make it possible to use GPS rather than IP address, Google Goggles and voice search among other feats that were impossible on desktops or ordinary results. This age demands more than matching mobile experience to traditional desktop experience. You have to make it better for users to choose your site as they look for content. Creating a great mobile experience will certainly generate more links, drive traffic and delight mobile users as it did for Google Search.
3. Take advantage before it is too late
If you missed the clarion call to make your site mobile friendly the pressure must be piling. It is not easy keeping up with each personal headset or smart watch that is released and if you tried utilizing every new technology available your site may never become optimized for large groups of people. Hot technology quickly goes cold and people move on just as fast, the reason why you must make a wise choice all the time. However, being too wary and waiting too long is not the best approach for successful mobile friendly website.
Rather than scramble for each new technology, take advantage of the ones that remain relevant for ages after their announcement. Waiting too long before you take advantage of such resources will make your customers miss out and it will hurt when they move on to better sites.
There is no benefit of waiting years to utilize something that grows boundlessly with every passing month. We always knew that this day was coming and it is our hope that we will all think about better ways of improving searcher experience before Google announces them as a ranking factor.