How to Create A Mobile Website That Gets Found By Google
Here’s the thing, as a society, we’re constantly on the go and Google has adapted to this sort of lifestyle. Because of this, in order for your website to succeed to its fullest capacity today, it needs to work well on mobile devices.
Just because it’s ranking well on a desktop does not mean the same results will translate over to search results on your phone. It has never been more important for you to have a mobile-friendly website.
There are a plethora of additional factors you need to keep in mind when it comes to mobile optimization that I’m not going to include in this post, but in order to get started, you need to lay the foundation of the website, which I plan to help do for you with the information below.
The three options for mobile website configuration
When it comes to getting found by Google on mobile devices, there are really only three ways to set up your site for mobile. I should warn you, I’ve listed the three below in the order of the one I least recommend to most recommend, so be sure to keep reading to find out my top recommendation.
With this configuration, you have the desktop version of your site as well as a mobile version of your site. Your site will detect the type of device a user is using and will direct them to the best URL for that device.
The thing is, this type of setup is rather time intensive and difficult to manage for numerous reasons, one of them being that these mobile websites have a lot of SEO issues (which kind of defeats the purposes of trying to build a site that will get found by Google).
With this setup, all of your content is on the same URL, but every user sees different code depending on the device they’re using. This is better than the option above, but it’s not without its own problems (for example, it often mixes up the two versions). Plus, as we all know, technology is always changing, and if a new device gets invented, guess what? You’ll need to create content for that new device.
Ding, ding, ding! Here’s is the one I recommend you go with. With this configuration, your page’s content and layout respond to each user depending on their device (without the need to separate URLs or use different code). This is definitely best practice these days.
Plus, it’s SEO friendly (Google even recommends this method), so if for no other reason, I’d say go this route for that alone.
Mobile landing page best practices
At the end of the day, the goals of your marketing efforts are likely to get people to convert, so you must ensure your landing pages are as efficient as possible to do just that. Keep the following in mind when you put them together:
- Make them responsive (hopefully, you paid attention to the last section of the post)
- Avoid adding images with large file sizes as this will impact load time (more information on the importance of site speed below)
- Add your call to action above the fold – In fact, include the majority of the important information near the top of the page as well.
- Get to the point. Make it clear what problems you’re solving and what your visitor will get in return.
- Keep PDF formatting in mind. If you have somebody download, say, a content upgrade, like a guide that’s in a PDF format, remember, those don’t always format well on phones. Consider including mobile-appropriate formats instead.
- Make buttons “thumb friendly” – Don’t make them too small or out of place; your thumb needs to be able to navigate the screen.
Why speed matters
Site speed has historically been a ranking factor for search engine results pages, but it’s moving closer and closer towards the spotlight. At the end of the day, Google wants to provide users with the best experience possible, and let’s face it, nothing is more annoying than when a site loads slowly.
Not to scare you, but Google actually recommends that your mobile site loads under a second. This is definitely easier said than done, but it’s a good goal to strive for.
I’d recommend checking out Google PageSpeed Insights to see how quickly your site loads on mobile devices. It will also give you recommendations on what to change to help your site load more smoothly.
Some of the recommendations may include:
- Compress your images – reducing file size can help speed up load times
- Cache your site
- Load above the fold content first
- Cut down on redirects
To make sure everything is functioning properly, it’s important to implement Google Analytics on your site so that you can track performance. Wherever you see any shortcomings, be sure to address them promptly.
As you can see, the good news is that as intimidating as it may sound, it really isn’t that difficult to create a mobile website these days. The hard part is simply getting started.
If you found this post helpful, be sure to check in throughout the rest of the month as I’ll be writing more about the topic of mobile optimization, including mobile content, mobile campaigns, and mobile email. Stay tuned!