Google has clearly segregated the desktop space and the mobile world. Although it is the same search engine on desktop and mobile browsers and users will get access to the entire galactic network, the search results on the two platforms would be different. To put things simply, Google will only rank mobile friendly websites in search results on mobile browsers. This will not impair your desktop friendly website. It will not affect your traffic originating from desktop searches but you will lose out on the audience that uses mobile devices to browse the internet.
The simple reality is if you wish to have your website displayed on mobile search results, then you should have a mobile friendly site. You would have to indulge in mobile optimisation. Just as you have worked on search engine optimisation, specific designing and other parameters to better your rank till now for Google’s desktop search engine results, you will have to optimise your website for Google’s mobile search engine.
The importance of mobile optimisation is well known. An increasing number of people are resorting to mobile searches. Global marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have started offering apps-centric and mobile site specific discounts or offers. They have understood the impact of mobile optimisation and engaging the ever expanding audience taking to mobile apps and sites. The real question is how you would capitalize on mobile optimisation, what is it that you must do to remain relevant and more importantly to get that first page mobile ranking.
Basics of Mobile Optimisation
If you were to talk to a website designer or developer, you would be suggested to have a responsive web design or an outright mobile friendly website. You can develop a mobile friendly website from scratch or you can tweak your existing design to make it responsive. A responsive design is flexible enough to suit the needs of a browser and display device. Let us first delve into the basics of mobile optimisation.
- The first thing that matters is the size of a website. We all know that desktop friendly sites are heavier, larger and they take a while to load on mobile devices. A mobile device is a miniature version of a standard LED or TFT monitor. From resolution to the capability of the browser, everything is limited. The last thing you want is the website of the same scale and size to fit into a mobile browser. Thus, if your fonts and the size of your website are not scaled down, then it would not be mobile friendly. In effect, your website will not be considered for mobile rankings. You need fonts and size that would suit mobile devices and browsers. Or, you can opt for scalable fonts and size. That way, your website can tweak itself depending on the browser and the device.
- A conventional website is designed bearing in mind the display size of desktops and the browsing or navigation using a mouse or touchpad. You may remember how so many sites adhering to the display size of a traditional or CRT monitor took years to adapt to the widescreen monitors. The two blank patches on either side of the flat or widescreen monitors were due to a fault in the web design. The design was not meant to fit into flat screen displays. Likewise, mobile screens are different from widescreen or traditional monitors. The design has to take that into account.
- Instead of a mouse or touchpad, mobile devices have touch interfaces. A website cannot be designed in a manner that a mouse or a touchpad is needed to navigate it. Instead, there should be a touch function everywhere. Links should be clickable on touch. The scrolling has to be touch based. From zooming to specific interactions, everything has to be touch based.
- When you make the switch to mobile friendly websites, you have to let go off certain technologies and you have to endorse a few new technologies. For instance, you must get rid of Flash. There are many such programs or languages that do not work on mobile platforms. You must choose to work with programs that are mobile friendly. Also, remember the bandwidth requirement for certain features to work. Mobile data plans are often limited and the bandwidth is not as much as broadband or Wi-Fi, unless the mobile device is connected to a Wi-Fi with substantial bandwidth.
- Mobile optimisation is all about sleeker designs, lighter websites to facilitate quicker load times, smart content management strategy so people get the exact information they need as one is unlikely to indulge in endless research using a mobile device and there should be mobile friendly features. From the videos to images, fonts to the entire interface facilitating the navigation, everything should be mobile friendly.
Google has all the tools you need to check mobile friendliness of your website. Not only would you get to know if your site is website friendly but you would also be notified about the problem areas. You should find out what your mobile rank is right now. Make the changes and then check the rank again. Your competition is with other mobile friendly websites so don’t confuse desktop ranks with mobile ranks. They are completely segregated.
Once you have got the basics right, you must start working on the larger mobile optimisation strategy. Just as your website needs to be mobile friendly, all platforms have to adhere to the same rule. From YouTube to Twitter, LinkedIn to article directories or classifieds, everything will have to be mobile friendly to remain relevant. Hence, your entire search engine optimisation strategy and the larger presence online should be tweaked to suit the new paradigm. Videos with high resolutions must be made available in lower resolutions. Large images must be compressed. Long articles must be edited. Business listings must be made mobile friendly. If you can have a miniature version of your existing online presence without compromising on the essences and adhere to the technical changes that a mobile device demands, then you would excel with your mobile optimisation strategy.