Previously we talked about SEO and whether it really matters in today’s online environment. If you remember, the short answer was yes. It does matter.
The trouble is that yesterday’s SEO tactics don’t exactly fit the needs of today. THAT is the long answer – yesterday’s SEO techniques do not apply in the same way to today’s websites. The things that used to matter don’t quite have the same impact on a site’s overall score. That said, in order to identify those pieces of SEO that do matter, we’ll need to dig a little deeper.
MOBILE MOBILE MOBILE
Say it with me: mobile optimization is key. Just look around you. How many people at this very moment have a smartphone in their hands checking out a website, playing around with an app, making changes to their schedule, planning tonight’s dinner, etc? Your answer will likely be “a lot of them, Danny,” which should not be surprising.
According to Statista, this year we are expected to surpass more than 262 MILLION smartphone users. That’s an increase of over 73 million smartphone users since 2014. And what does a smartphone live for? Why, to make connecting to the web and apps easy, of course! With the number of smartphone users growing exponentially and the amount of time they spend on their phones accessing web data growing as well, it is paramount that your web presence be mobile ready.
This is so important that many users started seeing a message “Mobile-first indexing enabled” popping up in relation to their sites a few months back. What it means is that your current mobile version of your site is treated as the “real” version by Google. Think about it this way: your mobile site is now the “new Stars Wars universe” version of your website, winning out over the old “universe” represented by your desktop version. This means that your mobile version will be indexed rather than your desktop version. I bet you’re starting to see the issue here.
Google’s Mobile-first index still hasn’t rolled out for all websites, but it is in-process. This means you may or may not have time to get things set up properly. Since 60% or more of Google searches are being done on mobile devices, why even take a chance? Before you head out on a search to find someone to build that perfect mobile version of your site, let’s talk about what you can do with your existing site to make it more mobile friendly instead.
m(Dot) vs Responsive
Are you still rocking an m(Dot) version of your website? Stop! Serving up a completely different version of your website is bulky at best. Google now recommends that websites move to a responsive design. This will help both simplify your web presence and cut down on the cost of upkeep.
Keep your content viewable
Everyone likes those cool accordion tabs on a website, right? They keep people clicking around and lead to longer time on site… for those on a desktop. When it comes to mobile, however, those accordion tabs can lead to issues. Primarily, they don’t allow Google to properly crawl the content on that section of your page. That means that all your hard work with keywords and phrases goes right out the proverbial window. So, what do you do? Keep the tabs on the version that is served to desktop users but set up a version that will serve the content up to mobile users (and Google) in a format that is not hidden behind a section like this. Not only will this make navigating your content easier for users, but it will also ensure it is properly indexable by Google.
Test, Test, Test
Make sure that your website looks outstanding AND functions properly on mobile devices. Test it on any and all platforms you can access. Have your friends and family test it. Check it out with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Now, like with any good meal, you need time to digest. Take a bit and look at what you’re serving up on mobile and see whether it’s up to par or needing a bit of extra love. Make sure that you’ve embraced responsive design and ditched the m(Dot) version of your site, and make sure that Google can view ALL the content you want or need indexed on your site.
We’ll be serving up more SEO tips and tricks in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! To chat with us about website development and SEO management, send us a message!