The influence of mobile is continuously growing day by day.
What used to be just a luxury to add to your online business a few years ago is now an absolute necessity.
Apart from the ever-growing user base, search engines like Google are also putting a lot of focus on mobile devices and mobile SEO. If you are lagging behind in mobile SEO, it can become very difficult to consistently rank at the top.
According to industry experts, mobile SEO will soon start affecting desktop rankings as well. Either way, you have to be at the top of your game when it comes to mobile SEO and making your website mobile friendly.
In this blog post, we are going to discuss a few common mobile SEO mistakes. Read the article and see if you are making any of these mistakes.
In case you are, it is time to change that.
1. Interstitials ads
Last year, Google officially announced that it would start penalizing mobile web pages with intrusive interstitials ads.
According to the announcement made by Google, “pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results, may not rank as high.”
Since user experience is becoming a bigger factor as we move forward, we believe that the impact of interstitials ads is only going to magnify in the future.
If you have been using interstitials ads, it is high time to rethink your mobile design and your site’s user experience. Nobody likes being greeted with a popup right away when they are just looking for some free information.
In general, you must avoid:
- A popup that covers the main content of the web page.
- Interstitials that are too “in your face”.
- Misleading layouts that appear as an interstitial.
However, you can use popups that are either reasonably sized or the ones that you’re legally allowed to use, e.g., cookie disclaimers, age verification, etc.
In all other cases, however, prioritize a good user experience over interstitial ads and pop-ups.
2. No specific mobile viewport
It is no secret that today we have more mobile screen sizes than ever before. Unless you have specifically identified the correct viewports with meta tags, some of your users may experience improper fitting of the web pages to their devices — which will lead to a bad user experience.
In other words, if you are using fixed-width viewports, your web page will be only optimized for certain devices — not all mobile devices of varying screen sizes.
However, you can easily solve this problem by enabling user scaling and controlling the basic dimensions of the web page by using the meta viewport tag.
The responsive web design basics on Google Developers blog is also a good resource to learn more about it.
3. An awful mobile design
Sometimes, your website may be perfectly responsive. However, it does not matter if the design is bad.
The difference is in the mindset here.
A “responsive” design isn’t enough. You have to take into consideration the small mobile real estate and design the mobile version accordingly.
- Is the mobile design free of clutter?
- Can visitors easily find the navigation on mobile devices?
- Can they easily navigate through the website?
- Are all the fonts legible and readable on smaller mobile screens?
- Is the design too condense that there is a risk of clicking the wrong button or link?
- Can they easily find the CTA?
- Can they quickly find the contact information on your site?
These questions must be answered if you want your website to rank well for mobile devices.
4. Neglecting rich snippets
Search engines are now fast moving towards rich search engine snippets. They want their users to find the most accurate and rich answers as soon as possible.
This is where rich snippets come into play.
By using schema.org, you can help search answers provide their users the best possible answers in the shortest amount of time. However, if you are not using Structured Data markup, you are losing out on a big SEO opportunity.
Not using rich results can lead to lower organic CTRs and traffic. On the other hand, driving a better organic CTR with the help of schema, you can be in the good books of Google.
Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to ensure that your mobile, as well as desktop versions, are perfectly fine for structured data.
5. Unplayable content
Don’t include content on your mobile site that not all devices can play. Before you include any multimedia content, it is important to take your time and see if your mobile users will be able to utilize it.
Otherwise, they will not have the same experience as desktop visitors, which may lead to a poor or disconnected user experience.
Google recommends using HTML5 if you want to include animated content.
Moreover, it is also recommended to leave transcripts whenever you include multimedia content. Such transcripts not only help your website visitors but also help search engine crawlers.
Google crawlers should be able to access your website completely — just as an average user does.
The fix is simple.
Test your robots.txt file in the Google Search Console to spot any potential issues. Secondly, use Fetch by Google to make sure that you do not have any further indexing problems.
7. Website loading speed
Last, but not the least, the website loading speed is an important search engine ranking factors. In fact, it is even more important when it comes to mobile users.
As mobile users are almost always in a hurry, they want to see results as soon as possible. According to a research by Google, if a web page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, more than 50% visitors will quit the page.
What should be the benchmark?
Less than one second. That’s what you want.
All your web pages — especially on mobile — should load within one second.
To ensure that it happens, make sure that your website code is clean and free of errors, the images are well optimized for the web and mobile screens, the redirects are kept to a minimum, and JS and CSS codes are minified.
Furthermore, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights to see how well your website is performing.
We also recommend using our free SEO Site Checkup Toolbox to get actionable insights on how you can improve the loading speed of your website.
It’s easy to neglect the importance of mobile SEO. However, if you are making any of these mobile SEO mistakes, you will find it very difficult to continue driving free organic traffic — especially as we move towards a mobile-first index world.