In announcing its mobile-first index in 2018, Google set the stage for where it expects internet use to go in the future. There is no doubt that mobility is playing an ever-important role in the lives of day-to-day internet users. That has all of the search engines concentrating heavily on mobile search. If you are not on board with it, you’re falling behind.
Any effective SEO strategy for 2019 and beyond must account for mobility. However, understand this one particularly important fact: maximizing for mobility is not a matter of choosing new keywords and phrases. Keywords still matter, as you will discover below, but of equal importance is the technical performance of your site on mobile devices.
Below are three things you can do to maximize mobile search. They illustrate the point of this post perfectly.
Make Your Site is Mobile Friendly
We have been hearing about mobile friendly websites for years. Web developers began pushing mobile friendliness long before Google announced its mobile-first index. They were right in doing so. Mobile friendliness is now more important than ever.
A mobile friendly website is a website that is equally navigable and readable on mobile devices. It is a website that adapts to screens of different sizes on-the-fly. It is one that can be used seamlessly by the same user on a desktop PC, laptop, tablet, and phone.
How do you make your site mobile friendly? If you are using a content management system (CMS), make sure your theme is expressly described as being mobile friendly by its developers. Then test your site using Google’s free mobile friendly test.
By the way, your site may not be as mobile friendly as it could be even if it passes the Google test. A truly mobile friendly site is one with readable fonts, a responsive theme, elements that are friendly to larger hands, and AMP (accelerated mobile pages) that serve up mobile content faster.
Make Your Site Voice Friendly
Next up is optimizing your site so that it is friendly to voice searches. This is where keywords and phrases come into play. Understand that the voice assistants built-in to modern mobile devices have changed the way people search. Now they ask questions.
Instead of typing in ‘Italian Restaurant” and a ZIP code, a smartphone user is likely to simply ask the question, “where can I find an Italian restaurant nearby?” Your site needs to be optimized to take advantage of those questions.
AnswerThePublic is a great website for learning the kinds of questions people are asking about different topics. You can use the information found there to build longtail keywords that are very effective for voice search questions.
You can implementing these questions and phrases into on-page web content by leveraging H2 & H3 tags followed by paragraph text, in a question & answer style format, and also adding keyword variation into bullet points, and also adding structured data (schema.org). Google also has a structured data markup tool to help SEO’s optimize their pages and get the implementation of schema done effortlessly.
Make Your Website Fast
On the heels of its mobile-first index, Google also announced that its algorithms are now ranking for speed. This makes perfect sense given the mentality of the average mobile user. People who use their smartphones as their primary internet browsing devices are not likely to spend a lot of time waiting for pages to load. If your page is too slow, users will simply move on.
The thing about improving speeds is that it is all technical. In other words, you do not have to guess how to do it. There are great tools like GT Metrix and Lighthouse in Chrome, that can pin-point these website speed and performance related issues, making it easy for a SEO’s and web developers to quickly diagnose and fix.
Mobility is the rule of the day for website and SEO development. If your site has never been optimized for mobile, it’s time to change that before you are left behind.