No matter where you look in SEO, mobile devices are everywhere. There instant access to the internet, wherever you happen to be, has fundamentally changed many aspects of the wider SEO industry. Here are some of the most important changes mobile browsing has created.
Web Design And Layout
First of all, the rise of mobile devices has required a drastic change in how websites are presented. In fact, most websites now have two layouts, with one for ordinary desktops and one for the smaller, slimmer screens of mobile phones and tablets.
Part of this also involves understanding the need of mobile users. These users need to find what they want with as few clicks as possible, requiring mobile pages to link quickly, rather than having a deeper, complex site map.
Similarly, when it comes to mobile SEO, time is of the essence. The page speed of any given page is vital, as longer loading times cause people to simply look elsewhere. In fact, almost half of users expect a page to load in under 2 seconds, with any longer times increasing the drop-off rate of user engagement.
This, again, comes down to website optimisation and design. An overtly complex mobile site will be too slow and, as research shows, this ruins your results. Even if you have a high position on Google’s results page, mobile interaction has ensured this is wasted if your loading times aren’t taken care of.
Power To AMP
To help improve mobile sites, Google also developed AMP, which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. While AMP limits web pages in some areas, it increases the loading speed and efficiency of how they operate. This allows users to enjoy a quicker experience and, consequently, there’s some evidence that Google now prioritises AMP pages as a result.
Mobile First Index
Similarly, the rise of mobile browsing is so high that search engines are actively preferring mobile pages, recognising the sheer power of demand that mobile users have. This year, for example, Google announced a mobile first index, ensuring that mobile and AMP pages are actively preferred when ranking.
The impact of this should speak for itself. If you haven’t got a mobile website, Google may not consider you as high a priority as you once were. Likewise, if your mobile website is lacking pages or information from your desktop version, this might also drop off in visibility, all because it isn’t tending to this growing trend.
Local searching – wherein users search for businesses within a specific area – has always been a thing on Google. However, mobile results have increased this. It makes sense, after all, as mobile devices has GPS and other Geo-locating technology to help them find where they are, with Google maps being an obvious example.
So how prevalent is this? Well, according to one study, around 80% of mobile local searches convert into traffic and customers these websites want. This is often because people searching on their mobile already want to go somewhere, as they are often in the area, meaning the first few results they see stand to gain some important traffic, whether that’s online or through their actual door.
So, to summarise, mobile browsing has had a massive impact on the way SEO works. It has encouraged Google to update its algorithm to recognise this growing influence, while websites also have to ensure they are optimised to work efficiently on mobile platforms. Ignore this and your website may suffer but, find an SEO agency that can use this to their advantage and you can gain some great success instead.