Let’s dive in with these facts:
- The vast majority of Americans (up to 77%) now own smartphones.
- 70% of mobile searches result in a call, a purchase, or trigger a business action within an hour?
A quick question, “Are you marketing to mobile users already or still on the fence?”
Whether you’re selling your product to online consumers or you run a physical store or you’re targeting startups and founders, you must have plans of attracting mobile customers.
Research has shown that 58% of all searches on Google come from mobile devices.
Furthermore, according to statistics from Google, the number of mobile queries surpasses those coming from desktops by 27.8 billion.
This shows how fast the trend is growing. Web users prefer using a mobile device instead of a desktop computer to carry out a search. Hence, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile users, you’ll be missing out on a whole lot of traffic.
Mobile is where the future of search engine queries are headed and this is most likely why Google has metamorphosed search its algorithm to focus on mobile users first, popularly known as the Mobile-first Index.
Now you may be asking, “Is SEO currently all about optimizing my site for mobile devices?”
Well, if you’re trying to rank your site on Google, then pretty much, yes.
And you should definitely be trying to optimize your site for Google as 95% of all mobile queries done on the web are on Google.
Now, for Google to remain at the top of the mobile search food chain, they’d certainly keep updating their algorithm to suit mobile users ahead of other devices.
To make your site relevant to modern web users and Google by mobile optimization, you need a mobile marketing strategy. Let’s look at what exactly that is.
What is a Mobile Marketing Strategy?
First, mobile marketing is the process of promoting your marketing messages to appeal to mobile users.
It involves sharing your business or brand in a way that’s optimized or compatible with smartphones and any other type of mobile device via websites, apps, and social media channels.
When it comes to mobile marketing strategy, you’re developing a plan of action that allows you to reach a greater audience for your brand than you normally would if you focused only on desktops for digital marketing.”
With mobile marketing, a brand can generate leads and grow revenue. Why? Because mobile users are passionate about their phones.
They use it all the time. That means your message will get to them wherever they are.
As a matter of fact, a recent survey by Flurry stated that the average American engages with their mobile device for a minimum of 5 hours a day.
Another marketing research showed that 67% of buyer’s decisions begin on the web.
This means you need a formidable presence online to grow your customer base.
Furthermore, with the new Google algorithm that doesn’t reward sites that aren’t mobile-optimized, you need to be both on the web and optimized for mobile users.
A lot of marketing team is taking full advantage of these numbers (the amount of time we spend on our phones daily and where buyer decision is made).
Since we use our phones every single day of the week, it makes sense to run marketing campaigns to reach mobile users across varying mobile platforms.
What is Mobile SEO?
Mobile is to SEO what cream is to coffee, they are inseparable if you want the best results.
Mobile SEO (search engine optimization) is the practice of optimizing a website for search queries originating from mobile devices, such as tablets and smartphones.
If you want to drive valuable outcomes for your business, then you should consider optimizing your content pages for mobile devices — In fact, 73% of mobile searches generate additional action and conversions.
Every year a lot of people spend more and more of their surf time using various mobile devices, however, a lot of websites are still not designed to accommodate the various load times and screen sizes of these gadgets.
With mobile optimization, you take into consideration your site structure, site design, page speed and much more on mobile devices to ensure that you’re not inadvertently bouncing your mobile visitors away due to the bad user experience.
As we’ve already seen, Google is the alpha male when it comes to mobile traffic.
Here are some of the considerations and factors that Google wants you to keep in mind:
1). Page Speed
Due to connectivity and hardware issues, page speed is more important to mobile users than it is to desktop users.
So you’ll want to optimize images, reduce redirects, minify code, and leverage browser caching to speed up your page load times. A 3-second or less load time is ideal for a mobile page.
In turn, a page that loads up quickly will result in a lower bounce rate, according to Google.
In the early days, most mobile gadgets were unable to support all these elements, which led to the webmasters of mobile web pages restricting all three or just one.
However, this no longer holds water, plus the Smartphone Google bot needs to be able to categorize and see the same kind of content a user would. So it shouldn’t be hidden.
These elements help Google to understand if you use a unique mobile solution or a responsive site.
3). Mobile Design for Your Site
Due to mobile devices revolutionizing and simplifying how sites are designed. The term “Above the fold” is no longer relevant in the modern world that has us scrolling endlessly.
4). Avoid Flash
You should use HTML5 for special effects instead of flash, as the plugin may not be on the user’s phone, and will cut them out of the fun.
5). Compatible for Fat Fingers
Navigation on a touchscreen gadget can cause accidental clicks if your icons are too small, too big, or in the way of a finger trying to scroll through your page.
Why is Mobile Optimization Important?
Google first unveiled its Mobile-Friendly Update which was most digital marketers, particularly SEO experts refer to as the “Mobilegeddon.”
It got this name for a reason. This update was responsible for penalizing sites which were not mobile-friendly.
However, for sites whose target audiences were not mainly mobile users, this update didn’t affect much at the time and it was not much of a big deal. Well, that was till Google started giving mobile searches the first preference on the web.
How did they do this? By transforming their entire algorithm to “Mobile-First” and this among others is why mobile optimization is an absolute must or your site stands no chance of ranking at all.
Here are some of the reasons why optimizing your website for mobile devices is important:
1. Google’s Mobile-first Index
The Google Mobile-first index was quite the game changer. It ranks search results solely based on the mobile version of the website. And yes, this will happen even when you’re searching with a desktop.
Before this happened, Google index used to show a combination of mobile and desktop results.
This meant that if a web user searched from an Android smartphone, Google would give them mobile results. But if someone searched from a desktop, they would get “desktop results.”
However, currently, regardless of the device you use, the results you get are from Google’s mobile index.
2. Increased Speed
According to research conducted by Ericsson Mobility, the load time delay of a website causes a 38% increase in the visitor’s heart rate.
Now, you may be wondering what this increase in heart rate means or its importance.
Well, the best way to understand it is to think of the last time you watched a scary movie or underwent extreme stress. This is what mobile site load time delay is equivalent to. Exactly how you felt during and after the stressful event.
So, if you know a thing or two about marketing; that is not the way you want your customers or potential clients to feel when they come on your site.
Speed is extremely important because time is limited especially with mobile users, as they most likely are on the go. A website that isn’t mobile optimized will load very slowly on mobile devices or in certain scenarios not load to all.
However, a mobile-optimized site will load quickly due to its code structure which makes it compatible with mobile devices.
Studies have shown that if a mobile user has to wait for more than 6 to 10 seconds, they’ll abandon the page.
3. Increased Site Interaction Time
Do people spend time on your page when they arrive from the search engine? It’s extremely important they do so.
All things being equal, the more time they spend on your page, the more useful Google will perceive your page to be. And it makes sense — people only spend time on worthwhile content.
Recent studies have shown that most users stick around on a web page for less than 15 seconds. In fact, 55% of web users spend less than 15 seconds of actively viewing pages.
So if you’ve ever wondered how long you have to capture your visitor’s interest, it’s a quarter of a minute. Furthermore, if you do not get their attention in that space of time you’ve lost them.
So how do you do that?
As with everything online, it’s all about time. If a web visitor can easily navigate through your pages due to how compatible it is with their device the chances of converting those potential clients into customers is greatly increased.
Mobile users are mostly outdoors or doing something else when using their smartphones, so if they have troubles navigating your site, they’ll leave as quickly as they came.
4. User Experience
Over the years, numerous organizations and brands have pumped funds into top-notch mobile marketing strategies. One of such is National Geographic.
In an audacious step, the National Geographic Channel launched a mobile campaign which focused on mobile users watching a particular show titled Killing Lincoln on the go, due to the spike in mobile usage from online users.
This campaign brought in a swarm of new viewers as well as increased engagement time with the channel’s website, all because of quality experience on their mobile gadgets.
Remember how it feels when your friend sends you a link to a site and as you click it on your mobile device, all you see is a jumbled piece of unorganized trash. This alone will wipe out all chances of converting a visitor.
This is why it’s vital to keep user experience at the forefront of any digital marketing process.
Your visitors are happy when they’re able to engage with your site and can see whatever you’re offering clearly. What’s more? If Google notices your site is low on user experience, your organic ranking and traffic would be hit.
How Do I Optimize My Website for Mobile Devices?
As we’ve already seen mobile optimization is a must for any website that desires to rank on Google, now let’s see the steps to get that done:
1). Check Your Site for Mobile Compatibility
The first step before you take any other action is to see how your site is already faring as it relates to mobile-friendliness. Taking this step will enable you to see the specific areas of your website that need to be worked on.
One way to go about this is by visiting your site on different devices, like your smartphone and tablet, to have firsthand knowledge of the user experience.
After you’ve done this, you can go a step further by using a tool dedicated for testing websites mobile-friendliness. Fortunately, Google has one that you can use free of charge, which will notify you if your website is up to date on the required standard for mobile sites.
You can use Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool for this exercise.
This tool will also provide you with useful information on how to improve your site and make it more useful for mobile consumers.
To test your site, all you need to do is enter your URL and click “Run Test.” It will take a few seconds to complete and you can see the results.
If your site meets the required standard, you’ll get a message notifying you of the fact, alongside a screenshot of how the website looks on a mobile device.
If it isn’t mobile-friendly, the results will inform you of what elements you need to fix.
Even if your website gets a positive result, certain pages might still have difficulty loading. In such situations, you’ll see a page loading problem notification.
And you’ll see the resources which couldn’t be loaded.
2). Improve Your Site’s Load Time
Before we get on with this next step, it’s important to state that your web host has a lot to do with your site’s speed, so make sure you’ve chosen a reliable host. One of the best ways is to go with a VPS hosting plan or a managed dedicated server.
Now, as we’ve already seen, website speed is extremely important in a Mobile-first world. It won’t just keep your bounce rate low but increase users experience and help your ranking.
Google has introduced it’s “Speed Update” for a while now, and it takes site speed as a ranking factor for all mobile pages. Hence, it’s vital to understand how well your site speed is on mobile devices if you want to rank.
Once again, Google has a tool for this and it’s the Test My Site Tool. All you have to do is paste your site’s URL, click the arrow icon and let it scan.
Then view the results.
After viewing, you can scroll down to see more information such as how your site is doing against your competition as well as how many minutes you can take off your load time.
Now to optimize the load time — you can do the following quickly:
Implement Caching: This saves your site files on a visitor’s device instead of being downloaded every time.
Use Content Delivery Network: CDN spreads your files across various servers, which makes the user load time balanced irrespective of the user’s geographic location.
Compress Pictures: Huge image files are most times behind poor load times. By compressing them, you decrease their size without infringing on their quality.
3). Enable AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages
Due to Google’s goal of making mobile browsing a smooth experience, the AMP project was launched in 2015. Since then it has grown immensely. Basically, AMP is a method for developing mobile-compatible versions of your site.
AMP involves the strip-down of content, it excludes unnecessary advanced layouts and media files. This AMP site version will then be served to mobile users.
4). Use a Responsive Design
Responsive design enables your site to be rendered appropriately, irrespective of what browser or the screen size of the device it’s viewed on.
If for example, you use a WordPress site, you need to choose a responsive theme from the theme directory. If a theme is responsive most times the author will state it. So check this before installing it.
All you need to do is choose a theme from the list, install, then navigate to appearance > customize in your dashboard.
The screenshot below shows you how the responsive theme works with different devices on your WordPress site.
Does Google Prefer Responsive Websites?
Google prefers responsive designs for various reasons. According to the Google developer team recommendations, considering that a responsive design uses a single URL, it makes it easier for users to share content and link to the site.
Also, a responsive design eliminates the need for site redirection as a traditional site would need to do, which increases the websites speed, favoring users with slow connections.
Finally, Google prefers responsive designs because it’s easier for Googlebot to crawl and index sites as there is no duplicate content due to numerous URLs.
Mobile SEO Techniques
Below are some modern SEO techniques or strategies that will be beneficial to your website:
1. Improve User Experience on Your Website
To rank high in any search engine, especially Google, you need to show the best results that fit a user’s query.
If your website looks like spam and also takes time to load, you will have a high bounce rate.
To improve the user experience on your site, you need to do the following:
a). Make Your Posts Easy to Read
The readability of the content on your page will determine how long your users will engage with that page. The more people read content on your site, the lower the bounce rate and the higher the organic ranking and traffic.
To make the content readable, ensure that the paragraphs are short and have between three to four sentences. Also, ensure that the length of the sentences is mixed.
Also, ensure that you make use of lots of clear and informative subheaders.
Use bullet points to communicate statistics, ideas, facts, and examples. It’s also important that you break up a large chunk of words.
And of course, your content must be great; if the content lacks quality then users won’t engage with your site.
b). Use Bucket Brigades to Arouse Interest
This entails using persuasion techniques to capture the reader’s interest and keep them glued to your content.
To do this, you need to break an idea into many sentences using a trigger phrase and also end the sentence with a colon to keep the reader glued.
We do this a lot in our content.
Here’s a good example of Bucket Bridge from our recent post on B2B SEO:
For example, look at this write up from UrbanDaddy; it’s straight to the point, with clear sentences. Secondly, the sentence structure fits perfectly with their target audience.
c). Write in the Inverted Pyramid Style
This entails placing the most important information at the top of the article and keeping the least important at the bottom of the page.
See the chart below.
Finally, ensure your page loads up insanely fast. Nobody wants to spend forever just for your page to load completely. If the speed is slow, they will most likely look for another site and this will cause a high bounce rate.
2. Optimize for Voice Search
A lot of people do not like going through the stress of typing their queries, they prefer to use voice assisted device to input the queries.
With this new trend, it is important to optimize your website for voice search by to answer questions that your target audience is asking.
In addition to that, you need to write content around long-tail and conversational keywords and also use structured data.
3). Focus on Topic Clusters Instead of Keywords
Creating keyword focused content is no longer enough. You need to consider what users are looking for. In other words, address the ‘searcher intent.’
To make the content better, you need to know your audience and their location as this will enable you to hit the nail on the head in whatever content you write.
In addition, organize your content into different topics that are closely-related — break the content into clusters and topic.
This entails having pillar pages and clusters. Pillars pages are large and give an extensive view of the topic, while clusters are small pages that are linked to the pillar page. They explain different sections in detail.
Here’s a good example of a cluster for “SEO”:
In addition, it’s important you use the relevant keywords sparingly in the content, these keywords are signposts to Google spiders and they also give a hint of what the page is about.
4. Build a Variety of Good Backlinks
To get good SEO results, you should build quality backlinks. Of course, you don’t have to but it’s necessary if you ever want to rank higher than your competitors in the search engines.
Backlinks from credible sources (other websites) are juicy. These inbound links will improve your organic search performance.
On the other hand, low-quality and irrelevant links could get your website penalized by Google.
To avoid getting into trouble, it’s advisable to earn quality links that will make your site and link profile to look natural.
If you build plenty of links, make sure that these links are from diversified sources, such as blogs, social media profile, web 2.0, media sites, resource pages, comments, and so on.
Mobile SEO Strategy
Developing a mobile SEO strategy will make a huge difference between dominating search results in your industry or struggling to rank on Google first page.
That said, below are the steps you can take to launch a successful mobile SEO campaign:
Step #1: Make a List of Topics
Complete a list of about ten short words and the terms associated with your brand.
Then use Google Keyword Planner if you have a Google Ads account to know the search volumes of the terms, after this, you can come up with variations of the terms that are relevant to your brand.
Step #2: Make a List of Long-Tail Keywords Based on These Topics
This is the point where you begin to optimize your pages for specific keywords. For every pillar you identify, find 5 to 10 long-tail keywords that will dig deeper into the primary keyword of the original topic.
At this stage, it’s important to have subtopic within each larger topic you use. Ensure the subtopics have long-tail keywords on which they are based.
Each pillar topic should have about 5 to 10 subtopics; this will create a cluster. This cluster will enable users to easily connect with the information they want.
Step #3: Build Pages for Each Topic
Create a page on your website for all the 10 pillar topics you picked in step #1. Also, incorporate long-tail keywords into the web pages.
Each single pillar page should act as a table of contents and should guide the content of each web page. The number of topics you choose should be within the same range of the products you offer.
This will make it easier for customers to find you in search engines. Let every page contain the relevant content that customers need. Also, ensure you include links and pictures to the pages.
Step #4: Set Up a Blog
Owning your own blog will enable you to rank high and will also engage your users. Every blog post is a new page on your website with the potential to rank in Google’s top 10 organic results.
For a complete tutorial on how to start a WordPress blog, this video might help:
Step #5: Blog Every Week to Develop Page Authority
All your blog posts don’t need to belong to a topic cluster. You can write on other topics that your customers care about.
This makes Google consider your website to be an authority. When you do this, Google will pay more attention to your domain. And of course, you’ll start generating organic traffic and leads.
It’s important that you blog constantly so as to keep your audience interested in your website.
Step #6: Create a Link Building Plan
Link building is the process of attracting inbound links to your website from other websites on the web.
There are so many ways to earn links from other sites. Essentially, if you create the best content in your niche, people will link to it willingly, you don’t even have to beg them.
You can approach other bloggers for guest blogging opportunities.
You can also write blog posts and share them on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook, and so on, to reach potential website owners, who may want to share your content with their audience.
Step #7: Stay Current on SEO News & Practices
You need to stay on top of current trends and discover new SEO strategies and techniques.
There some resources available through which you can check the trends in the SEO world. Here are some of them: Moz, SEO book, Search Engine Roundtable, and Search Engine Land.
Step #8: Measure and Track Your SEO Success
SEO takes a lot of time and you need a lot of patience before you begin to reap the harvest.
You, however, need to constantly keep track of and measure your success. In order to properly do this, you can look for tools that will help you track the traffic that comes to your site, like Google analytics.
You can use an Excel Worksheet to track easily, like this one.
Practical Steps to Attract Mobile Users Who use Voice Searches:
Below are practical steps you can use to attract mobile users who use voice searches and search engines.
Step #1: Use structured content
Even though structured data will not directly increase your ranking, it can give you an edge over your competitors.
Structured data is metadata that contains information about your site. This helps search engines to classify your content. This screenshot shows examples of structured data:
Microdata is relevant in attracting mobile users who use voice searches and search engines by ensuring that information is classified in the search engine in such a way that users can easily find what they want.
Step #2: Claim your Google My Business Listing
One thing that is clear about voice searches is that there are a lot of hyperlocal queries. You can share the information about your business in the footer of your site in a text format.
Below is a screenshot of what the site information on the footer should look like.
Most often, people mention specific locations when inputting a voice search and claiming your Google listing which includes your name, location, and phone number will enable you to pop up in the results that the search engine will display.
For example, when someone speaks into their voice-enabled device saying “Pizza delivery in Colorado”, the results that will be displayed are the pizza businesses within Colorado, anything outside Colorado won’t show in the results.
Consider the screenshot below:
Ensure that the phone number you provide contains your area code. Instead of using a Gmail account, use your business domain in your Google My Business login.
Let your listings be associated with relevant categories also. It’s with these categories that Google will be able to describe your business.
Below is a screenshot showing two examples to help you differentiate between correct and incorrect categories
Step #3: Get a Mobile-friendly Site
A great percentage of the searches people make are via mobile devices and this means that your site has to be mobile-friendly. Have a responsive web design and ensure that your site loads fast.
In a study carried out on iPhone reading, it was discovered that just 5% of people actually take time to read the text.
If your site is mobile friendly, then a lot of people will be interested in reading your content. Ensure that your content is readable.
Step #4: Create blog posts answering your Customers questions
If your site doesn’t answer questions about the needs of customers, then it’ll be hard for it to come up when people search for queries related to your content.
Listen to the words people use when talking about the product or service you render, collect the common questions and phrases they use and create content to address these concerns.
Don’t just restrict the questions to the FAQ section; create content that answers the questions.
River Pools and Spas developed this strategy and responded to questions regarding fiberglass pool, this singular move saved the company from getting bankrupt.
The owner of the spa said that just one blog post he made enabled the company to generate over two million in sales.
According to Marcus Sheridan, the founder of River Pools and Spas, “all our blog posts were focused on answering the questions that people ask.”
For example: “How much does a fiberglass pool cost?”
Mobile Optimized Vs. Responsive Sites
A mobile-optimized site is entirely separate from its desktop counterpart while a responsive site is a version of a site that adapts or adjusts the onscreen content to accommodate the kind of device viewing the page.
A responsive website works hand in hand with the viewing device and rearranges the page elements in order to create a cohesive web page that fits the screen size of the user as well as the orientation.
Mobile-optimized sites can’t do this because they are specifically optimized to be viewed on a mobile device.
Below are two screenshots showing a mobile-optimized site and responsive website.
The first screenshot is the screenshot of Adidas mobile-optimized website while the second screenshot shows the responsive website of Dropbox.
Mobile-optimized sites also have faster download speed and have enhanced mobile-specific functionality such as GPS based mapping, object hype linking through QR codes as well as click-to-call.
Most of these functions aren’t available on responsive sites.
Advantages of Mobile Optimized Websites
Below are some advantages of having a mobile-optimized website:
i). Improved User Experience: A mobile site is designed for mobile devices and it is more convenient to use than desktop devices.
Mobile-optimized websites improve user experience and sound this gives the visitors of your website a positive impression.
The download speed of mobile-optimized websites is faster and this is very satisfying to users, nobody wants to waste time on a slow loading website.
ii). Engagement: A mobile website has many mobile-specific functions that will keep the users engaged.
It’s also instrumental in creating awareness for your site and your site will be easily found through technologies that connect users directly to your website once they are around your geographical location.
iii). Improved Search/SEO Performance: Mobile-optimized websites rank high on mobile-friendly search engines like Yahoo and Google.
Having a mobile-optimized site means that the chances of your website ranking high on search engines will increase and this translates to increased visibility of your website on the web.
iv). Integration with Offline Media: One thing mobile devices are good at is breaching the gap between the offline and online media through QR codes.
Your brochure, advertisements, and posters can have QR codes which will direct users to your mobile landing pages where they can get more information about your brand.
This integration between the print and the web is only possible when you have a mobile optimized website.
v). More Flexible and Cost-Effective than App Development: If you do not want to go through the hassle associated with making an app, which would need to be downloaded before it can work, you can have a mobile-optimized website.
Mobile websites are compatible with contemporary phone browsers and can be accessed easily.
Mobile websites are also cost-efficient.
Mobile Site Vs. Responsive SEO
Responsive designs utilize a single URL for all devices. This makes it quite easy to crawl and indexed by GoogleBot. Take a look at the responsive BMW desktop site version which uses a lot of images.
Next, see its mobile-responsive design below and how it fits perfectly on the screen.
Mobile site SEO, on the other hand, is a bit more complicated as you would need to have a separate mobile site which should possess the exact content of its desktop equivalent.
This is inclusive of head tags which can provide vital information to Google and structured markup.
What’s more? Without the proper bidirectional annotation, Google will penalize your site for duplicate content.
Below is an example of a non-responsive mobile site of the eCommerce site, Brown Paper Bags.
Mobile marketing and SEO go hand in hand. It’s impossible to do proper SEO without a mobile-optimized website.
Hence, it’s absolutely vital for you to follow the strategies and steps listed in this guide to ensure your site is ready for the modern web user — who essentially is your potential customer.
If you don’t know where to get started or you need the help of professional mobile marketing company, OneIMS can help. Request to Speak with a Strategist for Free today.