Semalt About Elements That Can Harm The SEO Of Your Mobile Website
In the digital age, websites are often the first contact a customer has with a business. Such websites are increasingly visited via mobile devices. Having a well-functioning, mobile-friendly website is becoming more and more important.
Therefore, making your website mobile-friendly is no longer an option, but a necessity. A mobile-friendly website not only increases your visibility but also generates more visitors and more conversions.
Whether you are a small business or a multinational, a mobile website is essential. Luckily, you can easily convert your current desktop site into a mobile-friendly site with a few simple tricks.
In this guide, we'll walk you through how to make a website mobile-friendly and give you some things to keep in mind for mobile SEO.
8 Things That Can Hurt Your Mobile Website SEO
Making your website mobile-friendly is becoming more and more important. More and more users are choosing to use their phones and you don't want to miss this growing audience. However, a responsive website is not enough. There's more to it if you want your website to be found, indexed, and ranked by Google.
Be sure to keep an eye on the 8 points below to optimize your responsive website SEO.
1. Responsive design
A responsive website is one of the easiest ways to make your website appealing on mobile. There are many responsive themes available for website builders that come pre-configured.
Always check the window tags of these themes. The viewport tag indicates at what screen size the design changes. Adjust it if necessary, so that your web design better matches the sizes of today's phones and tablets.
If you're not working with a theme, make sure the elements adapt automatically. Use percentages instead of fixed widths. For example, specify that a column has a width of 50% instead of a fixed number of pixels. This way, the column width automatically adjusts to the screen width.
2. Optimize the findability of information
A mobile screen is much smaller than a laptop or desktop computer screen. You may display less information, so be sure to maximize the ability to find the most important information.
You can do this by hiding certain items behind a menu. A hamburger menu is almost always used on a phone. Also, use icons instead of text to save space.
Finally, you can choose to hide certain images on your mobile site. However, keep in mind that with its mobile-first indexing, Google only crawls information from your mobile website. Don't omit important information.
3. UI/UX for responsive websites
Making your website mobile-friendly goes beyond responsive design. The user experience is simply different on a phone than on a desktop computer. So, think about the user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) when designing a responsive website.
Topics related to UI/UX for mobile responsive websites include:
- Hidden items
You can hide items on the mobile version. Consider, for example, the sidebar, which will appear on a phone at the bottom of the page. A sidebar is typically used to expose people to information as they read the article. On the phone, however, this has no added value, as they only see the sidebar at the end of the content. So, it would be better to leave it aside.
- Font size
Mobile visitors should be able to read your website content without having to zoom in. Use a readable font size of at least 14 pixels.
- Remove popups
Pop-ups are extremely annoying on the phone. They are often not designed to be easy to click with touch functionality. The cross is too small or it is not possible to click next to the pop-up window. The same goes for advertisements that appear over the text. Leave them aside for mobile-friendly websites.
- More white space
Provide more white space around buttons, links, and other clickable elements. A small mouse pointer on a large desktop screen can click on something much more precisely than a large finger on a small phone screen.
Google increasingly values mobile-friendly websites. Its users are increasingly on mobile devices. Google can only crawl, index and rank mobile sites if Google's mobile crawlers are allowed. Check your robots.txt file to make sure you haven't accidentally blocked crawlers.
Also, make sure that internal links are always followed. A link with a no-index or no-follow tag will not be followed by crawlers. This will impact a large portion of your website that may not be found and indexed by crawlers. Incomplete crawling will limit the information available to Google from mobile sites. As a result, you can expect much lower scores with a lower ranking.
To properly apply technical SEO, you need to know how search engines work. First, they crawl a page, index it, and then they can rank that page.
Search engines can only index and rank your website content if robots can access the information.
5. Basic Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals are used by Google to measure the user experience of a website.
Core Web Vitals primarily indicate how long it takes before a web page is usable. For example, they measure how long it takes before the first content is loaded, when actions can be performed, and whether certain actions are difficult to perform.
To make your site accessible to mobile devices, speed is also an important part to pay attention to. Indeed, mobile users are less patient with pages that load very slowly. So, if the speed of your site is not mobile-friendly, you can lose your credibility with Google.
Thus, to make your website mobile-friendly, you need to know the elements of the site that cause the site to be slow. To achieve this, you can use the Dedicated SEO Dashboard which is an all-in-one tool developed by Semalt SEO Experts. This tool helps you identify the disruptive elements of your site and offers you adequate solutions to solve each concern related to the speed of your site.
In addition to that, this tool has other features that you can use to audit your site, check the uniqueness of your pages, search for relevant keywords and so many others. Keep in mind that these cited factors are also important for the SEO of your site.
7. Flash and plug-ins
To make your responsive website mobile-friendly, you need to consider the capabilities of phones. Drivers and other hardware are often much less powerful than those on a desktop computer.
Some plug-ins will not work on a mobile phone. A well-known example of this is Flash. Flash is software from Adobe that has been used to play animated images. Adobe has stopped supporting this software since January 2021, so it is unlikely that you will have to deal with this, but you should always be aware of the limitations of mobile phones. Try to avoid the use of plugins in general as much as possible.
Plugins often offer many more options than you need. So, a lot of unused code is added to your website which slows it down. It is best to hire a web developer to add functionality to your website. A developer implements only what you need with as little code as possible.
Hosting can play an important role in discovering mobile sites. Your hosting limits the number of crawls that can be performed per week or month.
Certainly, cheaper hosting can set crawl limits for mobile websites. However, Google places a lot more value on your mobile site content. Mobile crawling is therefore more important and you want to have as few limits as possible. Make sure your hosting doesn't limit the number of mobile crawls. This way you can be sure that Google is not limited when indexing and ranking your website.
In addition, you can also check the response speed of your hosting server. A slow response from your server means a slower website. You, therefore, want this delay to be as short as possible.
How do you test if your website is mobile-friendly?
You can easily test if your website is mobile-friendly. Google offers different tools for this. Google's Mobile-Friendly Test lets you manually test a page's mobile usability by entering its URL. It's a quick test that gives a short and sweet answer if your website is mobile-friendly.
Google's mobile-friendly test
You can use Google's mobile-friendly test to check if a single page's mobile usability is optimized for mobile use. You just enter the URL and the page will be scanned in minutes.
You will immediately see if the page is suitable for mobile users. Click on 'HTTP Response' to display a bit more information. You can take a screenshot to see how the page looks on mobile.
Keep in mind that with Google's mobile-friendly test, you're only scanning a page, not an entire website. To verify your entire website, you will need to scan all URLs one by one. Luckily, Google also offers the Google Search Console tool, which checks your entire website in one go.
To use Google Search Console, you need to register your website and prove your ownership. Using this tool, you can then analyze your entire website for mobile use.
Making your website mobile-friendly is best done with responsive web design. A website only needs to be designed once. Then only minor changes need to be made for different devices. For your mobile website to be found on Google, it is important that you keep mobile SEO in mind. Google Mobile Indexing makes SEO on your mobile website even more important than on the desktop version. SEO on your responsive website is of course also about the content you offer. Speed is also very important. Mobile users are impatient and a fast website is even more important in order not to lose customers.
Finally, check your hosting and see if Google crawlers can access all of your website information. Hide all unnecessary items on a mobile device, but don't omit important information.
If you need to learn more about the subject of SEO and website promotion, we invite you to visit our Semalt blog.