We have reached an incredible point in the world of online search. In May 2015, Google confirmed that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” Then, in October of 2015, Google stated that mobile searches now exceed desktop searches worldwide! So, needless to say, it’s time for many companies to put a lot more focus on their mobile search engine optimization strategy online. Thanks to some research done by Searchmetrics, we now have a better understanding of the ranking factors for “mobile-friendliness”. The information will be broken down into three sections: technical components, user experience, and content.
Technical issues on a site have been found to factor heavily into a company’s mobile ranking, due to bandwidth and screen size restraints on mobile devices. Here are some of the key takeaways for this section:
- Site Speed – If Google’s algorithm finds that you site take a long time to load, it’s going to equate that to a poor user experience, which will ding your site. So, use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to see where you can improve the speed of your site.
- Flash - Flash elements are no longer the cool thing to have on your site (as of several years ago). Instead, use HTML5 to make sure your content displays correctly on both desktop and mobile searches.
- Keyword Usage in Domain – As of 2012, Google stopped caring significantly about keywords in your domain name with the implementation of the Exact Match Domain update. So, when creating a domain name, you should be focusing on branding, not keywords.
The user experience changes when switching between desktop and mobile devices, so your website should accommodate for this… or else.
- Unordered Lists – Mobile pages that have a high ranking use more bullet-pointed lists than desktop search results. So, more bullet points, less numbers lists.
- Internal Links – Make sure you’re making use of internal links to keep users on your site, but make sure each links serves a real purpose and are easy to click on.
- Images – Google knows that a good user experience doesn’t involve scrolling through tons of images to get information. That’s why top-ranking mobile search results normally contain fewer than four images per page on average (compared to nine images on desktop). So, use images sparingly and make sure they are optimized to load quickly!
Content is king! Content is found to be a significant driver of rankings on both desktop and mobile search results. Focus on these factors when creating and doing SEO on your mobile content.
- Keywords in Body – Since 2014, the number of keywords within mobile content more than doubled, increasing from 2.7 to 5.48 in 2015. Desktop results normally had 10.22 keywords.
- Word Count – The average word count of mobile search results increased to 868 in 2015, whereas desktop is 1,285. This tells us that mobile content should be significantly shorter than desktop content, but still cover the topic comprehensively.
- Proof Terms – These are terms that are closely related to the keywords on a page. These can usually be covered as long as you’re writing good content and covering your topic well.
- Flesch Readability – Interestingly enough, top-ranking mobile pages had content that was more complex (this could likely be due to greater expertise in the content’s field). However, both desktop and mobile readability both fell within the mid-70s.
If you find yourself searching for your business on a smartphone and coming up empty, then it’s time to leave it to the professionals. The website design and SEO services offered by THAT Agency will help your business get in front of users on all their devices. So give us a call, and see how you can start getting in front of more users today.
Thank you to Search Engine Land for providing great insight and information regarding mobile search rankings.