By Kalin Kassabov, founder and CEO of ProTexting.com
Search engine optimization is essential if you want your customers to find your website. Businesses today need to be aware of mobile SEO if they want to connect with customers who are using smartphones and tablets, especially as Google is increasingly rewarding sites that are mobile-friendly and penalizing those that aren't. Some conventional SEO techniques that work for desktop don't always apply to mobile.
Here are some mobile SEO guidelines to ensure that your website ranks well for mobile devices.
Optimize for local search.
People are more likely than ever to search on their mobile phones for a local business. It's essential, therefore, to do everything possible to make it easy for customers to find you.
- Use local keywords in your page titles, headlines and throughout your content.
- Claim your Google My Business Listing. This not only helps you rank with Google but also makes it easy for people to locate you via Google Maps.
- Include all relevant information for your business. Your physical address, phone number and hours of operation should all be up to date.
Focus on headlines and lead-ins.
Headlines are important for any type of content, and they're especially crucial when targeting mobile users. Someone on a mobile device is likely to focus on the headline and first paragraph before deciding whether or not to read the entire post. As well, remember that smartphones have small screens so long headlines are likely to get cut off.
Publish both short- and long-form content.
Ever since people started publishing blogs, there has been debate over ideal content length. Conventional wisdom suggests that longer content of at least 1000 words has the best chance of getting ranked. In fact, a 2016 Pew Research Center study noted high levels of engagement among mobile users for content of at least 1000 words. While there's truth in this, your best strategy is to vary your content length. Longer pieces are good for SEO, but regularly sharing shorter pieces of 250-500 words will attract varied audiences.
Speed up your site.
Page loading speed is another SEO factor that's particularly important for mobile users. Pages usually take a little longer to load on mobile devices and users don't have the patience to wait more than a few seconds. Thus, a slow site can cause you to lose visitors and get penalized by Google.
There are many factors that contribute to site speed. Test your website on mobile devices regularly and make any necessary changes. You may, for example, need to compress images, minimize redirects or clean up your site's code.
While Adobe Flash is going out of style across the internet, some websites still feature videos in this format. The iPhone never supported Flash, but Android did for a while. However, due to various problems such as Flash draining battery life, Android withdrew its support as well. Since mobile devices don't support Flash, this is something you should avoid.
Optimize for voice search.
Mobile and voice search are overlapping trends that are exploding right now. They are closely related because many people are using voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Cortana on their mobile devices. When people use voice search, they tend to speak in natural terms rather than using traditional keywords. To optimize for voice search, remember local terms such as your city, neighborhood and even nearby landmarks. For example, relevant keywords for a local business might include "near the library/convention center/art museum."
Emphasize social media.
People on mobile devices spend lots of time on social media. If you're fortunate enough to direct them to your website, it's likely that they'll want to return to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram before long. Always include links and buttons to your own social media pages. Of course, you should also do the reverse and send people to your mobile-friendly website from your Facebook page and other social media pages. If you have a brick-and-mortar business, remind your mobile customers to check in on Facebook when they stop in.
Mobile SEO is a rapidly changing field that will continue to evolve as more and more people embrace mobile. While you don't want to neglect your laptop and desktop customers, it's now safe to assume that the majority of your customers are on mobile devices. Make sure you do everything possible to optimize your site for this fast-growing population.
Kalin Kassabov is a founder and CEO of ProTexting.com, a fast-growing enterprise level text message suite of services.