Best Practices for Mobile Optimization
Smartphones and mobile tablets are increasingly becoming the devices of choice for many consumers. However, what mobile users need from a website is very different from the needs of someone browsing on a computer. Being able to recognize these needs and optimizing your business’ page is therefore one of the top priorities facing companies today. This is not just because Google prioritizes mobile-friendly sites for mobile searches. Effective mobile optimization makes your business more accessible to a larger customer base and keeps you in pace with—or even ahead of—competitors.
Keep the User Experience in Mind
Mobile optimization is not just about scaling things down for a smaller screen. Best practices dictate that you need to take a more holistic view of what makes your website mobile-friendly. For instance, thumbs and touch screens are not as precise as a mouse cursor. If you have buttons too close together or in the path of where someone would scroll, a user is likely to accidentally click on something they didn’t intend to. This can be a frustrating experience that turns audiences off—especially if they lose their place as a result.
Being concise and efficient with your information and text is also important. Too much text means not only a lot of scrolling, but the user likely has to zoom in or otherwise fiddle with their screen to make sure they can read properly. The fewer steps that exist between a mobile user accessing your page and being able to read what they want—the better.
Responsive Design or Dynamic Serving
Responsive design is when the layout of your website dynamically reacts to how the user scales the screen. Users on a smartphone, iPhone, and tablet may all be accessing the same site, but the layout and size they are presented with will change to suit their screen size. Responsive design allows users, regardless of the exact mobile device they use, to view a site ideally arranged.
Dynamic serving is similar to responsive design in result but achieves the goal differently. In responsive design, all users are seeing the same page, but the website rearranges itself for each person’s device. Dynamic serving, in comparison, presents different sets of HTML and CSS depending on what device is accessing. This can be useful if you want some information to be more accessible to mobile users, such as a restaurant putting their reviews or menu on the first page.
Mind the Page Speed
Mobile devices have more hardware and connectivity limitations than computers. Understanding and respecting this is imperative to presenting an optimized mobile site. By being efficient and minimizing code, leveraging how the browser does caching, and reducing how pages are redirected, you can ensure a fast-loading page that lets users quickly access your business.
Be Smart with Your Font
The font you write with on a mobile site is just as important as what you write about. When possible, aim for larger and easier to read fonts, since these will get better reception on a mobile screen. The font should also be able to fit comfortable on buttons big enough to be easy for users to tap.
Be Careful With Images
A beautiful, well-crafted and well-placed image can entice users to convert into customers. However, misapplied graphics can also increase load times or clutter the screen. A header image or banner can work well, but try to avoid placing large pictures in the middle of the body to avoid disrupting the flow of the user. Additionally, make sure ALT tags are in use so that the picture is detectable and searchable by Google.
Another thing to keep in mind with images is to not make them the only source of a certain piece of information on your site. Since the quality of a mobile user’s connection can vary depending on location, you should prepare for the possibility of users being unable to view graphics you employ.
Try to avoid using Flash when designing graphics and images. The plugin is not used on all mobile browsers, so HTML5 should be employed as an alternative.
Mind Local Searches
Mobile users are on the go. When they are looking for, say, a restaurant or movie theatre, they aren’t making an idle consideration for later—they are actively searching for somewhere they want to spend money. Local searches are significantly more likely to result in a purchase than non-local ones, so you need to design accordingly.
What this means is that you have to be on top of your local search engine optimization. When someone is looking for a restaurant, theatre, hotel, or anything else in their city, you want to be on the list of results. Building local listings and long tail keywords to capture local searches is an integral part of mobile optimization. Maintaining a standard name, address, and phone number and including this information in your page’s meta data are just some small ways you can begin optimizing for local SEO.
Have a Call to Action Button
The call to action is the final pitch of your website. It is the message that is meant to spur visitors to make a purchase, join a mailing list, or anything else you want from them. Not only should your message be clear, it also needs to be easily carried out. Having a clear and visible tap-friendly button next to the call to action that someone can click is common-sense practice for any mobile optimization effort. No one wants to learn that a potential customer was willing to follow through but couldn’t find a way how.
Numero Uno Web Solutions is a provider of search engine optimization, content marketing, and mobile optimization solutions to start-up and small companies from all industries and fields. As a trusted Google partner, we stay on the pulse of industry changes and adapt our practices to produce quality SEO and mobile optimization plans to fuel the growth of businesses across communities. Click here to learn more about marketing techniques and how we can help improve your search profile across all platforms.