laptop, tablet & mobile graphic

9 ways to effectively optimise your site for mobile

Mobile isn’t just the future, it’s the present. Gone are the days when we needed a desktop to search the web. We’ve now got the whole world wide web at our fingertips, on our smartphones.

Mobile is everywhere. A massive 52.2% of all searches are carried out on mobile. Furthermore, 57% of searchers wouldn’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site. To boost brand visibility, improve SEO, drive more clicks and conversions your site has to be mobile optimised.

In this blog post we’ll share our top tips on how to effectively optimise your site for mobile.

But first, why is mobile optimisation so important?

The Importance of Mobile Optimisation

As you probably know, mobile screens are portrait (and pretty small) while desktop screens are landscape (and usually huge). This means that a website that’s designed to look great on a desktop might appear squashed on a mobile.

Having a website optimised for mobile not only affects the user experience.

Most importantly, it affects SEO.

Earlier this year Google announced that they’ll be implementing mobile first indexing in the not so distant future. This means that Google will determine search ranking based on the mobile version of a site. In other words, if your site isn’t optimised for mobile your search ranking will tank. .

Mobile_Optimisation

As well as impacting your SEO, a mobile optimised site can impact purchasing decisions in a significant way. Conversion rates are actually much lower on mobile versus desktop. In the last quarter of 2017 conversion rates on desktop were 4.68% versus 2.03% on mobile.

Yet, mobile search leads to action in the long term. 92% of people using their smartphone to search go on to make related purchases. A whopping 69% of consumers globally between the ages of 18-36 use their smartphone to research products before they buy. Mobile users spend twice as long on their smartphone than desktop and laptop users. Clearly, mobile is the most popular way to search the web and research purchases.

If you had any doubt about why mobile is important, these must be dispelled now. Clearly, there’s a lot of potential for sales and conversions for a site that’s fully mobile optimised.

Now, let’s have a look at some practical steps to make on your website optimising journey.

1. Choose a Mobile Responsive Design

Kick off the process by choosing a responsive design. This means your site will conform to whatever screen size it’s viewed on – ensuring your site looks the part and functions well.

{can we insert 2 photos here. The same site on a desktop and on a mobile?}

This massively improves user experience. At the end of the day a user doesn’t want to have to adapt to suit your website, they want your website to suit their needs.

Next, think about streamlining your design. Think about your own experience when using a smartphone. Screens are relatively small. Mobile users have a different objective to desktop searchers. They want information in quick, easy to digest installments. To offer users an easy experience when using your site, you should consider:

• Content: a huge long essay on a small smartphone screen will lead to visitors giving up and swiping back. Think about what information is essential. This is the content you should prioritise.

• Call to action: what do you want visitors to do? Let’s say you want them to purchase from your site. Lead them to this action. Get rid of unnecessary cues and clutter and keep it clean and simple. If your CTA is ‘shop the new collection’ then make this obvious as soon as someone lands on your page.

• Make use of secondary pages: if your site contains complex information, allow visitors to manoeuvre to that content on a secondary page via a search bar or button. This keeps your landing page clear and purposeful whilst giving users the choice to access detailed information at ease.

• Images: use images wisely. Again, you’ve got a small screen with which to communicate your desired information. Make sure that the images you use reinforce your page’s main point. And remember to compress them too!

Optimising each of these elements will make visitors far more likely to stick around.

2. Text Size Matters for Mobile Websites

Hard to read text will not fare well with Google’s search algorithm. As a result, legibility is one of five criteria in Google’s test for mobile friendliness.

This not only affects your search ranking but user experience too. Avoid a pinch and zoom situation at all costs. Mobile users don’t take kindly to this.

To ensure your text is always legible on mobile stick to the following principles:

• Use a minimum of 14-point font size.
• Don’t use fonts that are too stylised – they’re far more difficult to read on a small screen.
• Don’t use too many different fonts. Lots of different fonts and font sizes can make your page messy and your layout overly complex.

3. Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) mark-up

In 2016 AMP was integrated into Google’s mobile search results. Implementing it into your website has some very tangible benefits.

Using AMP improves page load time. AMP web pages can load 4 times quicker than non-AMP pages. A faster website is better for everyone – search engines prioritise speedy sites and quick loading is great for mobile users who want information hastily.

mobile_optimisation_tips

What’s more, AMP optimised content often appears at the top of the search results on mobile, above organic and paid results. That’s invaluable visibility and increased chances of clicks.

The benefits don’t stop there. Research shows that websites using AMP receive on average a 2x increase in time spent on a given page, and 20% increase in sales and conversions for ecommerce sites.

To take advantage of this tool, either use a plugin for your WordPress site get or manually change the source code on each page of the site. For some further reading, be sure to check out the Definitive Guide to Accelerated Mobile Pages.

4. Use Structured Data

Adding structured data to your site in the form of schema.org is a great way of telling Google what the different elements of your site actually mean. Schema.org structures vocabulary into different types of content, such as recipes, products, organisations, films, restaurants, and articles. Each of these types has its own set of properties that are used to identify the attributes of that item.

For example, a recipe type will include properties such as images, nutritional value, preparation time, and cook time. Marking up a recipe on your site with these properties means that Google can visually present these details in search in the form of a rich snippet:

As such, using schema tells Google what your data means, improving the chances that your site will be highlighted in search results for a relevant search.

Let’s say you were marking up a recipe on your site.

You will need to include a title and a minimum of two other attributes which may include:

Preparation time: the time taken to prepare your recipe
Cook time: the time taken to cook the recipe
Image: an image of the dish
Aggregate rating: this is the average start rating users have given your recipe
Date published: the date your article was published online
Review: user’s reviews of your recipe

So, when a searcher is looking for a recipe with requirements that yours fulfils, your content is tailored to rank top in search.

Having established what types, properties and data you want to include in your markup you can generate your code and add it into your CMS. Or, if you’re using WordPress you can use a Schema plugin. Whichever way you choose, ensure that you test your implementation to check that Google is presenting it correctly.

Using structured data can do great things for your search engine ranking. Studies have proven that websites with markup rank in search on average 4 positions higher than those without. That means the potential to rank highly for relevant searches.

Plus, we all know that on mobile there’s limited screen space. That’s why a search result with a rich snippet is far more likely to stand out and attract clicks. This is also great for brand visibility and exposure.

5. Scale up

There are over 500 different screen sizes out there. That’s a lot of different screens for your site to scale perfectly to.

There are a few strategies you can deploy to ensure your site will suit any screen:

• Don’t use flash. Quite simply this plugin may not be available on a user’s phone, meaning you might have a site that looks spectacular, but that won’t translate on mobile.
• To achieve spectacular frills and effects on your site use HTML5 as an alternative.
• Ensure that your page scales to both landscape and portrait views.

Implementing these strategies will mean a wider reach of searchers can access your site, and that has to be a good thing.

6. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

On a small screen images are a great way to get your message across immediately in a way that text might not be able to. Images make an impact. They entice, catch the eye. It’s no wonder that the average user spends around 5.94 seconds looking at a website’s main image.

mobile_optimasation_tips

Choose images that will draw visitors in. Make sure they complement the overall look and design of the rest of your website.

Then, you need to consider image size. Large images take longer to load. Considering that it only takes around 0.5 seconds for a user to decide whether they’ll stay on your site or scroll away, you need to draw users in straight away. Slow loading images won’t do this.

For quick loading speeds you need to compress your images. There are several image compressing tools out there that will do the trick.

Check out:

Smush Image
Image Optim
TinyPNG

Compressing images will improve loading times and that’s important for mobile searchers who often don’t want to wait around for information.

7. Improve Load Time

As we’ve just touched on, speed is important. Research frequently reports that slow page load time leads to high bounce rates. That means missed conversion opportunities.

What’s more, faster loading websites rank higher in search. Google looks at load time in its search algorithm. Coupled with the fact that mobile users are often on the go and want to access information quickly, page speed is very important for mobile search.

As well as image compression there are other tricks you can adopt, such as minification. This is simply the process of getting rid of redundant or irrelevant code without affecting how a page is displayed. This means faster loading times.

There are plenty of handy minification tools out there:

This will lead to a faster website and happy smartphone searchers.

8. Optimise for Local Search

Almost a third of all mobile searches are related to location. What’s more, nearly two thirds of mobile users are more likely to buy from businesses whose mobile site describes their location information. If your business has a local element you need to be optimising your mobile site for local search.

Think about it. If you’re out and about and are looking for the ‘best coffee shop nearby’, you’re going to be using your smartphone to search. Neglect to list your location information and you’ll miss out on important local traffic.

To optimise your mobile site for local search follow these tips:

• Update your meta and SEO with geo locations: this will tell Google where your site is based.
• Google My Business: this is a free and easy to use tool that allows a business to tell customers important information such as address, opening times, and customer reviews.
• Write local content: for most local searches people will actually type in the name of the city, region or country. Do your keyword research and get inside the minds of your target audience. Write local headlines so Google knows you are focusing on a local audience.

9. Speed up the Check Out Process

As we’ve discussed, conversion rates are lower on mobile. Although tons of us use our phone to research purchases, many sites aren’t optimised for the purchase process. It’s no wonder that check-out completion rates on mobile are pretty dismal, standing at only 8.5% versus 13% on desktop.

How can you persuade people to stick around and avoid cart abandonment? Users tend to leave because of frustration. Whether your page is taking too long to load, or the page is difficult to navigate on mobile. 30% will abandon a purchase if the shopping cart isn’t optimised for mobile. If you want to make the sales you’ve got to make it easy for customers.

Try speeding up the checkout process.

This makes purchasing on mobile a whole lot easier. You can do this by eliminating unnecessary hurdles to the point of sale:

• Simplify the process: do customers really need to create an account to complete a purchase? Do they need to sign up to your mailing list to buy your products? These tasks can be far trickier on smartphones with limited space.
• Simplify any forms: only ask for information that’s absolutely necessary to the purchasing process. Long forms can be difficult and tiring to fill out on mobile.
• Stick to 1 page: is it really necessary for users to navigate through 5 pages to complete a purchase? Probably not. Limit the process to 1 page. This appears far more manageable to mobile users – the end is in sight!

Getting rid of these obstacles increases speed and ease of use, improving the chances of conversion.

Next Steps – is your site optimised for mobile?

Mobile is everything – the present and the future. With more of us searching on mobile than ever before it’s never been so crucial for a site to be mobile optimised. If you need help optimising your site get in touch with the Report Central team. There’s nothing we love more than driving success, helping businesses generate tangible results.

learn how report central drives results

Request a free consultation with our team of experts.

FREE CONSULTATION

Share this blog post:

award nominations and accreditations.