Due to the launch of Google’s mobile-first indexing earlier this year, a wide range of digital marketers around the globe prepared for the inevitable proliferation of micro-moments. That is why it is imperative that you understand what can make or break a mobile SEO campaign. You should also keep in mind that as mobile usage grows, user expectations and behaviors change too. Things are not as simple as shrinking your desktop site to fit a smaller screen. That does not mean you have to be obsessed about dissecting Google’s algorithms into individual ranking factors. You need to focus your efforts on what actually help improve mobile SEO performance for your sites.
Being aware of the seismic shift to mobile devices, Google had to change its methodology of ranking and indexing websites. With that in mind, one of the first areas that Google looks at is user engagement. RankBrain was created in 2015 to determine if a user likes or dislikes a search result, while reducing ambiguity. The algorithm looked at what users did once they have landed on the site – not just a high click-through rate.
If you want to optimize user engagement signals, data analysis should be the cornerstone of your mobile SEO efforts. You need to assess your customers’ primary exit points, how they found your site, what did they do on it, etc. To get on Google’s good books, your site must be able to satisfy a user’s request.
Next, you should analyze the performance of your landing pages. Check if there are any correlations between your SEO rankings and user engagement metrics, such as bounce rate, average time spent on page, etc. When it comes to links (they still matter, but require a different approach), don’t just add them to antiquated metrics, e.g. external link volume. You need to ensure that the links you attract drive qualified traffic to your website.
Don’t forget about conversion rate optimization and improving your site experience. This way, the SEO ranking improvements that you achieve will have staying power.
Accessibility and Speed
If a user cannot find a answer quickly, he or she may go elsewhere to find it. Your site must be the quickest one to provide the answers that your users need. In other words, having the most thorough and relevant answers will not suffice. Speed counts! That’s why Google backs Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). They are stripped down versions of HTML pages that load faster. You need to maintain a sound site structure while creating content that is accessible via Apple, Facebook, Google, and more.
Today’s smartphones comprise an array of sensors, including proximity sensors, magnetometers, accelerometers, among others. They help the device understand our environment. As mobile devices create a huge amount of data, Google utilizes various factors to shape mobile search results. Some of these factors include the current time, current season, noise levels, health statistics, and many more. With so much data on hand, it is pertinent that you use context to satisfy your users’ search queries. You should create content that responds to user needs (e.g. using image-heavy content); track ranking performance across media formats, territories, and devices; and distribute search volume by device type.