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Going Mobile: Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices for SEO in 2019

Going Mobile: Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices for SEO in 2019

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Mobile devices are already the most commonly used Internet devices and that popularity will only continue to grow. Despite this, however, not all websites take into account what is needed to optimize for mobile sites, resulting in mobile users getting a poorer experience than desktop users, even on the same website. This will start to be a problem for websites in 2019, as Google rolls out its mobile-first indexing.

What Is Mobile-First Indexing?

Mobile-first indexing is a new strategy that Google is gradually implementing. Because mobile versions of sites often had less content than the desktop version of the same site or were designed for desktop use and so didn’t take into account the different loading speeds and screen sizes of mobile devices. In order to provide more useful search rankings for mobile users, Google is changing their indexing so that it will be based off of the mobile site instead of the desktop one.

Mobile User Experience

The idea behind the mobile-first indexing is that under the old indexing system, the search rankings weren’t based on the sites that mobile users actually saw and experienced. If there were issues with loading, with less content, or with the site not fitting the screen, the search rankings wouldn’t reflect it. Google has been gradually testing this and rolling out the change slowly to ensure that user experience would remain just as good on desktops as they worked to improve user experience (UX) on mobile devices.

SEO for Mobile

If your website is already optimized for desktop searches, then you’re most of the way there. But there are some adjustments you’ll need to make to optimize your site for mobile use if you want to maintain your search rankings as Google rolls out its mobile-first indexing.

Design Your Site for Mobile Use

Google’s main concern is UX, or user experience. This goes hand-in-hand with the content of your website in that it doesn’t matter how well-optimized your site is if users don’t have a good experience once they’re there. With mobile usage, there are a few more things to keep in mind to ensure that users stay on your site:

mobile optimization

Use HTML5 instead of Flash for special effects Design buttons and links for mobile No pop-ups
Flash plugins may not be available on mobile devices, so you should use HTML5 instead. If buttons or links are too small, too big, or in the way of scrolling, users may accidentally click when they’re just trying to scroll down the page. These can be annoying on a desktop, too, but on mobile devices, they can be difficult to close, leading to a high bounce rate.

Create a Mobile Version

The best option for SEO is to use responsive design so that your mobile version and desktop versions of your site are the same site. However, for some, that would require a complete redesign of the site and that’s not always possible to do. There are some other options to make your site more mobile-friendly in the meantime.

  • Responsive Design – this uses CSS3 to automatically adjust your site to the width of the user’s screen.
  • Dynamic serving – this displays different content from your page depending on the user’s device.
  • Separate mobile site – this is a completely separate URL for the mobile version of the site that uses the m. domain.

Both dynamic serving and having a separate mobile site have pitfalls with users seeing the correct version, so it’s advisable to make it easy for users to switch to the version of your site that they want to see.

Concise Optimization

When you’re creating meta descriptions and titles, it’s best to keep everything concise. Mobile screens are much smaller, so you SEO will benefit from being as short and sweet as possible, but without losing any of the information or quality. For the same reasons, using Schema structured data will help your site stand out.

Don’t Block Site Elements

When mobile devices first came out, many of them weren’t able to load certain site elements, including some CSS, Javascript, and even images. It was thus common practice for webmasters to block any or all of these page elements. However, that is no longer necessary and it’s much more important for the same content to be on both the mobile and desktop versions of the site.

Speed Up Your Page

Due to hardware limitations, mobile devices often just aren’t as powerful as desktop computers are. In addition, connectivity may vary as users move in and out of different wifi and 4G connections. Therefore, page loading speed is very important in mobile optimization. What loads quickly on a desktop may not load quickly at all on a mobile device. Improve your page speed by:

  • Minimizing the number of redirects
  • Optimizing images
  • Taking advantage of browser caching
  • Minifying your code
  • Enabling compression
  • Removing Javascript that can block rendering
  • Using CDNs (content-delivery networks)
  • Improving your server response time

Mobile-Ready for 2019

Optimizing for mobile devices will play a huge role in ensuring that your site maintains its search rankings going into 2019 now that Google is indexing sites based on the mobile version first. It will also help future-proof your site, because more and more Internet usage will be on mobile devices. Focusing on improving the UX of the mobile version of your website will go a long way towards increasing traffic and reducing bounce rate.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

Boost Your Page Speed: To Improve Your Optimization Score

Boost Your Page Speed: To Improve Your Optimization Score

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In 2019, page speed is going to be more important than ever before. Users expect pages to load quickly and will click away from any page that doesn’t. A high bounce rate will negatively affect your website’s search rankings as Google’s RankBrain notices the trend of users bouncing and will adjust your rankings down accordingly. Great content and excellent SEO won’t matter if your site is slow enough to drive users away.

High-Speed Google

In July of 2018, Google released an update to its algorithm that added page speed to the ranking factors for mobile web searches. Page speed has been included in the ranking factors for some time, but only really mattered for desktop searches in the past. Now that Google is rolling out its Mobile First Indexing and more users than ever before search on mobile devices, the main focus will be on mobile indexing. Making sure your website is optimized for speed on both desktop and mobile platforms will be vital.

GPS

Google PageSpeed Insights

Google, fortunately, provides a handy resource for checking your website’s page speed score. Google PageSpeed Insights is easy to use. Enter the URL of your page into the box, then click the Analyze button. Google will then analyze your page for speed and provide insights into its data, diagnostics, and opportunities (listed below) for where your page can improve.

Don’t Use Redirects

Redirects can slow down page rendering. Even the fastest redirects involve adding an HTTP request-response to the rendering process. At worst, redirects can add many request-responses for DNS lookup, TLS negotiation, and TCP handshakes. Google’s recommendation is to avoid any unnecessary redirects. If redirects must be used (for example when a URL has changed), there are several types that are recommended:

  • 301 Redirect – a permanent redirect
  • 302 Redirect – a temporary redirect
  • JavaScript Redirect – this type of redirect can slow down rendering on the client side
  • HTTP Redirect – this type of redirect can slow down rendering on the server side

301

Speed Up Server Response Time

If the server response time for your page is longer than 200 ms, then you may run the risk of an increased bounce rate. Users, especially those on mobile devices, will leave a page if it has not loaded within three seconds. To improve your page’s server response time, use a free online tool to diagnose anything on your site that might be slowing it down:

Utilize Compression

The smaller the size of your page’s content, the fast it can load. If there are elements on your page that can be compressed but that aren’t, then addressing this will speed up your page significantly. Also, make sure that any unnecessary content is removed from the page.

Minify Your Resources

Minification is similar to compression in that it will reduce the amount of data on your page. However, it’s different in that this data is all within the code. Minification removes unnecessary HTML, JavaScript, and CSS code from your site so that the page can be processed more quickly.

301 Redirect - a permanent redirect

Use Browser Caching

Browser caching allows browsers to save and reuse responses to website content. Without caching, a browser would have to contact the website and load everything on it in full each time a user access the site. While first-time visits would still necessitate a full load, browsers can cache much of this data and reuse it so that future visits to the site load much more quickly.

Optimize CSS and JavaScript

Make sure that your CSS doesn’t include external style sheets that are blocking rendering. CSS should load first in the rendering process and if it includes anything that blocks rendering, that will increase the time it takes the page to load. This can be avoided by using small inline CSS files, avoiding large CSS files, and avoid duplicate CSS content. The same goes for JavaScript, which can also result in increased render times of HTML blocks some aspects of a JavaScript file.

Render Visible Content First

Make sure that the content that will be visible on the page is prioritized in the page rendering process. If there is some content that requires multiple round trips to load, the most important content, or the main content of the page, should be prioritized. That way, users can see the most important information first and may not even notice a delay in rendering the rest of the page.

Image Optimization

Images and other visual files often make up to 60% of the resources on a web page. Large image files can significantly slow down page render speed, so it’s important to optimize images to reduce the file size without affecting image quality. Google provides a checklist that you can use to optimize your images:

  • Minify and compress graphics
  • Use vector images
  • Scale images
  • Remove any unnecessary metadata
  • Reduce quality where possible
  • Choose the best format for your site
  • Automate the optimization process
Page render speed = the speed at which a webpage interprets the HTML and CSS code and loads and displays that as the visual content of the page.

Follow Google’s Suggestions

The first step to improving your page speed should always be to check your sign on Google’s PageSpeed Insights. The results will show you exactly which of these improvements you need to make. Because most web search traffic goes through Google, optimizing your page speed with Google in mind is a good step towards improving your bounce rate and keeping users on your site for longer, thereby improving your page rankings overall.

 

 

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

SEO for the New Year : What SEO Trends to Look out for in 2019

SEO for the New Year : What SEO Trends to Look out for in 2019

Reading Time: 4 minutes

2019 is fast approaching and that means you should start thinking about how the new year will affect your SEO strategy. The competition for the top search rankings is fierce, so it’s important to stay on top of changes in the SEO world. Check out what’s in store for 2019 and make sure your SEO is at the top of its game for this coming year.

I Wanna Be the Very Best (Quality)

pikachuEver since Google started improving its algorithm (with Panda, Penguin, and more), its main focus has been on ensuring the best quality user experience (UX). That means directing users to the highest-quality sites that meet their search criteria. As we move into 2019, in-depth and comprehensive content will be just as, if not more important.

Google’s algorithm will only get more sophisticated with time, meaning that no matter how good the rest of your SEO strategies are, if your content is thin or of poor quality, then your search rankings will still suffer. The higher the quality of your content, the more likely your site is to appear at the top of the search rankings.

Click Through Rate

Click through rate, or CTR, is something that’s going to be increasingly important in the coming year. The number of clicks your site gets does affect your search ranking. Google is just getting smarter and can actually update your ranking in real-time. Several experiments have been done to test this and found that with no other changes made, simply getting more clicks on a specific search result improved the rankings drastically.

Ranking and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain

via GIPHY

RankBrain is a part of Google’s core algorithm that can use machine learning, or the ability of machines to teach themselves, to calculate the most relevant results. This has a direct affect on the search ranking of sites in real-time, boosting sites that have higher click through rates and that have longer dwell times. Sites that have high bounce rates may go down in the rankings as Google uses RankBrain to adjust the rankings to provide users with the best results.

Dwell on Sites and Forget to Bounce

via GIPHY

 Because RankBrain uses bounce rate and dwell time in its calculations, it’s important to try to increase the amount of time users are staying on your site. Take the time to look at the top-ranking sites and the Adwords ads for your keywords and any keywords related to them. You may be able to improve your click-through rate by using these successful titles and description tags as inspiration for your own.

Getting users to click is only half the battle. If your site doesn’t have the content users want, they’ll click off right away, increasing your bounce rate. Producing good content can thus increase the dwell time of users visiting your site.

SEO Go! Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly


via GIPHY
More people than ever before are using the Internet from mobile devices instead of desktop computers. To accommodate this, Google is rolling out mobile-first indexing. This means that the mobile version of your website will be considered the ‘real’ version of your site and is what Google will look at first in determining search rankings. The following tips can help mobile-proof your website:

  • Make sure that the mobile version of the site has the same content as the desktop version
  • Use responsive design instead of the mobile site version
  • Ensure that metadata, including titles, tags, and descriptions, are the same on both site versions
  • Check that your site, whether it has a separate mobile version or not, is actually easy to use on mobile devices

There Aren’t the Links You’re Looking For

Links are still very important to search rankings. Not just any link, however – if your site has a lot of spammy backlinks, that can actually end up hurting your rankings instead of boosting them. Put together a good link campaign that will get high-quality links back to your site. Good content is another key player in link-building – sites with good content are more often linked back to organically.

OK Google, Optimize for Voice Search

Voice Control

From Siri to Alexa and Cortana, nearly everything now has a voice search option, even TV remotes. Optimizing your site for voice search requires a slight change in keyword approach, as most people use voice search like they’re initiating a conversation and approach the search by asking a question. Many people actually do this in regular searches as well, so structuring your keywords to be questions (usually seven to ten words long) and then making sure the site provides the answer as well can help your search rankings across the board.

SEO Wrap-Up

The biggest takeaway from the SEO trends for 2019 is that producing high-quality content is still going to be perhaps the most important part of SEO. Comprehensive content actively contributes to improving other SEO tactics and a lack of good content can decrease your search rankings no matter how good your SEO strategy is. Content may be the most important, but it’s not the only thing – a lot of factors go into determining search rankings. Keep these new trends in mind as you rethink your SEO tactics for the new year.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.