Smartphones are defining the ways we do things in our daily lives; they have become an essential part of our day-to-day lives. From scrolling the social media apps to reading the news to shop essentials, we use smartphones for almost every other task. This makes it of higher importance for businesses to optimize their sites for mobile phones.
With Google’s mobile-first policy, it has become even more crucial for businesses to optimize their websites for smartphones. Mobile has already become the default device to surf and shop the web, as they are more handy and always accessible. As per Statista, more than 51% of the web traffic comes from mobile devices, which is a crucial factor in increasing online sales.
Although responsive design techniques have made it easier to develop sites that work well across all platforms, including desktops, mobiles, tablets, or any other screen size, it is not enough to optimize a site for mobile devices. Responsive design is a segment of UX optimization strategy for mobile, which doesn’t guarantee mobile optimization. Thus, you need other alternatives at hand to optimize your site for mobile search better.
This comprehensive article will help you learn about eight different ways to optimize your site for mobile search. You’ll look at some practical mobile-first design principles and techniques that help improve the site’s performance across mobile devices.
Why Optimize Your Site for Mobile Search?
If you’re offering a product that is not available across other major eCommerce platforms and shoppers ignore other sites to purchase that product, then you need to ensure that customers can trust your site. One way to engage your customers and earn their trust is by providing a seamless experience on your site across all devices, especially mobile devices.
According to Google, mobile phones contribute to 40% of all eCommerce sales, which shows why optimizing your site is critical. If you fail to provide a seamless user experience to consumers on mobiles, they will likely move to another resource. Offering a quality experience across mobiles makes your site trustworthy and credible for search engines.
If we consider eCommerce apps like Amazon, Walmart, or Flipkart, they make the most of the online sales. But every user is not comfortable installing multiple apps on their phones. Also, these mobile apps don’t provide all the products and services required by customers. Thus, users prefer to use mobile sites to learn more about any brand or product.
Another factor that makes mobile search optimization crucial is the conversion rate and web traffic. As per Google, if your mobile sites take more than 7 seconds to load, the visitor’s bouncing rate can go up to 123%, directly affecting the conversion rate. In short, if you don’t optimize your site for mobile search, it will drive customers away while decreasing sales.
Ways to Optimize Mobile Search
An optimized site offers a consistent user experience to all customers, no matter what device they are using. And this could be achieved easily with the following practices.
Develop a Responsive Design for Your Site
The first and the most important thing to optimize your mobile site is to use a responsive design. Having a responsive design will enable your site and web pages to adapt to all device and screen sizes, making it responsive for all users. To achieve a responsive design, you can use WordPress themes that are pre-optimized and don’t affect your site’s overall performance.
You can opt from multiple themes available on WordPress that are mobile-friendly and responsive. Though opting for every theme is not possible, choose the one that fits all your requirements. However, make sure your site scales in Google Chrome’s Developer Tools after using the responsive design. If it is not scaled properly, you need to make ideal changes to mount it.
A responsive design makes your site live on one URL, making it easier for Google to understand and index it accordingly.
Improve Site’s Loading Speed
Page loading speed plays a critical role in improving the mobile search of your site. Various studies carried out by Google and Yoast prove that a slow page load time results in high bounce rates, decreasing mobile search on search engines. Thus, you should ensure that your site doesn’t take more than 3 seconds to load.
To analyze the site’s mobile loading speed, you can utilize Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. This gives a clear idea about the page loading speed of your site on mobile devices. In case if the site’s loading speed is more than 3 seconds, you can improve it with the following practices:
- Compress graphics like images, videos, GIFs on your site. It will help web pages to load quickly while consuming less space on the web host.
- Implement caching to reduce the bandwidth and network traffic. This helps in loading the content faster.
- You can also minify the site code to reduce the load time and bandwidth usage.
- Use a content delivery network to provide content at top speed to users from multiple locations.
If you’re still not getting the expected results, you can try multiple tools available online to improve the site’s loading speed.
Renovate Pop-ups for Mobiles
Pop-ups are one of the best methods to attract customer’s attention. They help customers make purchase decisions by showing extra benefits to the products. But pop-ups could be a problem for your site on mobile devices.
On small screens, the screen space is limited, which makes even medium-sized pop-ups look more disruptive as compared to desktops. This also affects user experience while browsing a site. Recently, Google has implemented pop-ups penalties for disrupting the user experience.
If you want to avoid pop-up penalties, you need to follow strict guidelines to optimize your pop-ups for mobile search.
- Provide the option to decline pop-up for every visitor
- Follow the device-specific display rules
- Have a responsive layout that displays pop-ups based on screen size
- Don’t show pop-ups that are not relevant to the user’s search
Following these practices will help you avoid any penalties, as well as attract customers with relevant information.
Optimize the Media on Web Pages
There is no website that doesn’t use images, videos, or other media content to improve the user experience. But most designers often overlook the fact that they need to optimize their images to improve the mobile search. Without optimizing the media, you won’t be able to improve the page loading speed and overall performance of your site.
For instance, most sites use full-size images on their web pages, which takes more time to load than a standard image. The ideal approach is to provide an alternative link for high-resolution photos when necessary; else, you can stick to standard image size.
Reducing the media size for mobile devices helps in improving the overall performance of the site. You can stick to 600-700px images for your mobile site. Besides, you can opt for multiple image formats that provide better quality in less space, such as SVG, WebP, PNG, etc.
Redesign the Navigation Bar for Mobile Device
While browsing a site on a desktop, the navigation menu is pretty visible and straightforward to use without any instruction. Also, it includes links to multiple sections of the site. But when it comes to accessing the same website on a mobile device, the navigation menu seems the most complicated step.
As a designer, you cannot provide the same menu for a mobile site that includes multiple links and clutter the phone screen. There should be a simplistic approach to go to various sections of a website with easy-to-follow navigation.
For example, you can hide the navigation menu with the hamburger icon, which is pretty common these days for mobile devices. This gives users a better view of the landing page while enabling them to access the navigation menu from the hamburger icon.
Strictly Prohibit using Flash
There were days when animations, videos, GIFs, and other media content were added to a site using the Flash plugin; that’s not the case anymore. We are not saying that Flash is not useful anymore; if your website uses a lot of media content, it is still the best tool to optimize the content.
There are many disadvantages of using Flash for your site. For instance, it makes the HTML website load slowly, doesn’t appear in search engine previews, doesn’t allow indexing content of a website, etc. Moreover, Google has banned the use of Flash from the AMP project.
Flash is also not supported by a large number of mobile devices, including iPhones. Thus, excluding Flash plugins from your site can drastically improve its performance across mobile devices.
Utilize APM for Better Performance
Accelerated mobile pages (AMP), an initiative started by Google to make web page loading faster for mobile devices, is a great practice to improve your site’s mobile search. Google is on a mission to make the mobile experience smoother than ever before. That’s why they started the AMP project, which helps businesses boost their web page performance on mobile devices.
It is an open-source HTML project that focuses on improving visitors’ overall mobile experience by creating mobile-friendly versions of a site. It follows a practical approach, including stripping down the content, removing unnecessary media files, and an advanced layout to improve the site’s performance.
AMP is a vast subject that can be expanded into multiple topics. However, you don’t need to get into the technicality of the subject. If you want to benefit from this technology, you can begin with the AMP WordPress Plugin.
Test Your Site for Smartphones
Whether you’re beginning to renovate your site for mobile search or already made the changes, you should test your site for mobile devices at every stage. Testing your site continuously will help you analyze how it appears on different screens. Besides, you don’t need testers to check how your website looks on a mobile device. There are plenty of tools available that can be used to analyze its performance.
For example, Google provides a free tool to evaluate the mobile-friendliness of your site while offering tips to improve it. However, it is limited to specific mobile browsers and devices; you won’t get expanded results with this tool.
If you want to test your site across multiple browsers, devices, and screen resolutions, LT Browser is an excellent browser tool to begin with. It helps you test your site across more than 50+ mobile viewports in real-time while giving insights on areas of improvement.
Some cool features of LT Browser include:
- Mobile View Debugging On 50+ Screen Sizes
- Create Your Own Custom Device Resolution
- Test on two devices simultaneously
- Inbuilt DevTools For Mobile Website Test
- Improve Website Performance With Lighthouse Reports
- Test On Different Network Conditions
Customers are getting smarter with the internet; their purchasing decisions depend a lot on the user experience of your site. And with the continuous growth of mobile devices, it is no secret that people make their purchases via smartphones. Thus, optimizing your site for mobile search has become more critical than ever. This article focuses on eight ways of optimizing and improving your website for mobile search.