Google's recent announcement that mobile search accounts for more than half of search engine traffic around the world means that your website's level of "mobile-friendliness" will alter its mobile search ranking. According to reporting by Business News Daily, Google only required website owners to optimize for better viewing on smartphones and tablets prior to recent changes to their algorithm. Now, other factors, such as readability and mobile-friendly software, are being taken into consideration when it comes to ranking your site.
Knowing what that means for your website can be tricky. For a small business owner, Google's own checklist for building a mobile-search-friendly site can initially seem frustrating since some of its suggestions include costly solutions, such as building a new website from scratch or working with a developer.
But don't worry — there are lots of ways to improve your mobile search ranking without breaking the bank. In October, SEO expert Jayson DeMers shared a handful of practical tips for improving rankings with Search Engine Land. We've broken his advice down into a simple, actionable checklist for small business owners.
1. Keep Your Website Speedy
- Make sure your file sizes are small in order to minimize load times.
- Avoid using Flash.
2. Content Is Still King
- Content still rules on mobile, but instead of just shortening the content, focus on tightening it.
- Create shorter, stronger headlines and remove any unnecessary words, phrases or sentences.
- Make use of shorter paragraphs, bulleted lists and strategic bolding and other font enhancements to break up text and increase readability.
3. Make It Make Sense
- Use font styles and sizes that look good on smaller screens.
- For mobile, simpler is better, so use structural and interactive elements sparingly.
- While consistency is important - you can make small changes to the structure and style of your mobile and tablet view and still reap the benefits of having a responsive site.
4. Don't Be the Outlier
- Avoid referring to external sites that are linked to search terms you also want to be ranked for. Google's algorithm will interpret that to mean that the external site is more relevant for the search term, and the site will be boosted above yours.
5. Check Yourself
- How friendly is your mobile site? You can find out instantly with Google's Page Speed tool.