Mobile Website Optimisation – SEO Tools and Techniques

What is mobile optimisation?

Mobile website optimisation essentially means customising and optimising a website to suit the user experience on mobile devices and search engine grading signals. Probably the most important factor here is that a website looks good and functions well on a smartphone. The best way to ensure this is to test it on various devices. Adjusting and fine tuning the site elements so that they display correctly for the end user will maximise a websites usability. This may ultimately be reflected in how much mobile traffic a site receives. Mobile optimising can be broken down into five important categories that will ensure a site is providing a high quality user satisfaction and mobile search visibility. Let’s take a look in more detail at ways we can improve a website for use on smartphones.

How to optimise a Mobile Website for SEO?

Let’s start by laying out a few basic principals for creating an amazing mobile site. Then we can get into the more important website development and mobile optimisation factors that affect search engine ranking.
Check out other great sites to get an idea of page lay outs and see how to make the best website that is relevant to a chosen industry.

Plan a website for multiple devices so that it looks attractive and functions correctly when viewed on different sized screens.

Keeping it simple is highly recommended. The more images and functions a web page has the more crowded it will look on a portable device. This can also weigh pages down which can slow the loading speeds.
Avoid heavy pages by minimising the amount of images and scripts on each web page. This will help lower bounce rates and raise click through rates which both contribute to higher mobile search rankings.
Use ‘rel alternative’ and ‘canonical’ link elements when running a dedicated mobile site along side desktop or tablet versions.

Test the website and pages on various devices so that all the functions work and page lay-outs, images and text display properly. Getting the basics right is the first step to ensure that it looks good and creates a user friendly experience.

Mobile ranking factors

1. Avoiding Flash and Pop-up ads is a great start for optimising a site for a high quality user experience and mobile SEO Score. Some browser won’t support flash so we certainly don’t want users looking at functions that don’t work. Pop-up ads are annoying and can sometimes be hard to close on a mobile device. Both Flash and Pop-ups can lead to higher bounce rates and lower click through rates which will not positively impact SEO.

2. Optimise meta title, description and URL’s to suit smaller sized screens. The idea hear is to use the recommended amount of characters and URL length that will benefit the users. This includes using 40 – 60 characters for a meta title. 140 to 160 character for a meta description and keeping URL extension length to a maximum of around five words.

3. Mobile page speed is fast becoming an important search ranking signal. That’s not just from an algorithm point of view either. Page speed and loading times will also affect the user engagement. It’s highly recommended to use a range of techniques to ensure a website will load fast on various devices. These include optimising images, minifying HTML, CSS and Javascript codes, reducing HTTP requests, setting up leverage browser caching and minimising website version redirects. You can find more information regarding these topics in the website speed and performance chapters.

4. Mobile usability is a ranking metric that search engines can use to measure the user experience of a website with. Successful usability includes factors such as; Using correct font sizes to display titles and text. Configuring the view point to work on different sized screens. Sizing site elements and lay-outs to suit the viewpoint.

5. Understanding mobile methods can also play an important part in search optimisation. In this chapter we discuss the advantages and disadvantages for responsive web design and dedicated mobile sites. The different methods can all create a high quality user experience and be optimised for search engines. It really comes down to which method will suit the needs and requirements of a particular website.

How does mobile optimisation affect SEO?

Top search engines including Google, Bing and Yahoo have released and updated many algorithms to test the quality and user experience of mobile sites. Even though Google has separated desktop and mobile in the search results, having a site that performs well on a hand held device will certainly increase website traffic and ensure that a site meets the standards for mobile friendliness into the future.