Google recently said that mobile search could pass desktop before 2015. How does your mobile site rank?
Let me be clear that Google is talking about mobile searches across the globe. They are not limiting themselves to North America where desktop use is still higher than mobile. While it will take a little longer for mobile search to pass desktop there, it is still an eventuality.
How do you Improve Mobile Search Results?
First and foremost, have a mobile website! You need to recognize that using a desktop site on a smartphone produces a terrible user experience. If you want to improve your rank you need to give users with a pleasant experience. So what can you do to improve this experience?
- Decrease response time to 0.2 seconds or less. Anything over 0.2 seconds causes Android and iOS to add processing overhead that delays page load.
- Defer as much content as possible. If it’s possible, place the code for any widget below the fold. Load the content asynchronously (the first A in AJAX). This point is very difficult to carry out unless you’re building the site by hand.
- Got an app for your site? Good for you. You should encourage the user to install it with a one-time message or with inline content on the page. Don’t block a user from trying to reach content unless you use the app. Avoid mistakes like with Foursquare where their site for feature phones is more useful than the page for smartphones.
- Similarly to the previous point, don’t let any ad take over the site making it unusable.
- Make buttons easy to press. Make them at least 48 px wide/tall. Please be aware that Google seems to have some trouble detecting this when they test a site. While that’s annoying to see on reports, if you know that the buttons are easy to press then you’ve created a pleasant experience for the user which is your real goal.
- Provide the mobile search user with a page description that is not cut short.
- Consider making your site available offline. It’s great if you can make this work, but it is a very risky move. Right now the way browsers handle offline browsing is not very optimized. It is pretty easy to make a mistake that prevents a user from seeing updates to your site even when they come back online. Also it can make the user download much more content than they expect as it can make them download a lot of content once they first reach a site or when you make an update to any page on your site — not just the page they are on.
Those are just a few quick points on how to improve the mobile user experience. With a good user experience coupled with search marketing and social marketing you will see your site improve in mobile search rankings. Got any tips you would like to share?