This new algorithm demonstrates just how important it is for brands to have a mobile-friendly web site, which hopefully most marketers already know.
In the last couple of years mobile usage has overtaken desktop and now accounts for 60% of time spent online.
Here are a few ways you can prepare.
Mobile Web Site Setup Options
Responsive web design will be the best option for many sites. Your URL shows exactly the same HTML, regardless of what device is being used. Responsive design will make sure that your content is displayed correctly, based on the screen size of the device being used.
If your site has a responsive design, it will load faster and allow your users to find, share, and link to your content more easily. It also means Google’s bots will be able to crawl and index your site’s content faster and more efficiently.
Creating a completely separate mobile site is a less desired method than just making the design of your site responsive, but this was one of the first methods of mobile optimization and it still meets Google’s requirements.
Unfortunately, this option requires you to maintain double the amount of content, and Google has to crawl both versions.
Google will attempt to detect what device is being used, then redirect correctly, but if a mobile link is shared and clicked on through a desktop, this can cause problems.
As with a responsively designed site, the adaptive web design approach works by using the same URL. The difference is that the HTML changes when opened on a mobile device.
By working with a user-agent, the dynamic server will figure out what device the content is being viewed on and display it accordingly.
The main problem with this approach is that user-agent detection can result in errors, so although it will still qualify for Google’s mobile optimization requirements, it’s not as good an option as responsive design.
For optimal user experiences, use mobile centric 404s and try to avoid irrelevant cross-links, any links on mobile should point to other mobile pages and vice versa.
Mobile phones have small screens, which means users can only see a few lines at a time, but the most important thing to remember when creating content for mobile is that users can view it anywhere and at anytime.
Give your content short and entertaining headlines, use text that is readable without having to zoom in, and place links far enough apart so that they can easily be pressed with a finger.
Think about the structure and layout of your content, as readers won’t enjoy looking at large blocks of text, and will need to scroll down to view the majority of your content.
Don’t forget to include a call to action within your content too, as they most likely won’t get seen at the bottom of your page.
Use closely cropped images for better focus on detail, be sure to alt-tag all images, and avoid any fixed-size items that may not fit on mobile screens.
Front load important information and make your writing as short and snappy as possible.
The user journey is a critical. If your visitor cannot easily navigate to the pages they want to go to or seamlessly add an item to their cart and checkout, they are likely to leave your site quickly.
It’s important that the design and functionality of your website enhances the user experience, so provide contextually relevant content, taking into consideration mobile screen size, and make the process as simple as possible.
Monitor Your Site
Use Google’s Mobile Usability report in Google Webmaster Tools to check if any errors have been picked up when crawling your site, and use the Mobile Friendly Test to check your site on a page-by-page basis.
Benchmark your site’s current mobile performance before the algorithm rolls out, then check in a week or so whether your site has been impacted by the change, and look at anything that could be further optimized.
Google Analytics should be used to monitor the amount of traffic coming to your site through mobile and user behavior on your site. This will show you if users are having any problems or getting stuck on any pages in particular.
Marketers should embrace this mobile algorithm and prepare their site to make the most of it.
Any new Google algorithm is looked upon with caution, but optimizing your website in a way that benefits both your brand and your visitors will boost conversions, and ultimately generate more revenue for your business.-eConsultancy