Mobile SEO - guide
Even before the release of the first iPhone in 2007, many people wondered what they could realistically do with their mobile strategy.
These questions are still being asked today.
One thing is for sure - the internet is forever entrenched on our phones and will stay there for a long time.
Google has noticed that in the US and Japan, there are already more searches from phones than from computers.
Our mobile devices are becoming more powerful and sophisticated. With their help we can:
- take photos
- use geolocation (GPS)
- chat with friends
With this in mind, how not to get left behind in the mobile age and the ubiquitous web?
One way could be mobile SEO, which will help your site rise to the top positions in search engines.
How does Google handle mobile results?
Google has a variety of robots, each used to perform different tasks. Examples:
- Googlebot News
- Googlebot Images
- Googlebot Video
For mobile phones, Google has developed a special robot that uses the smartphone user agent interface.
A separate robot was needed to position itself as a real user and fully understand web pages displayed on mobile devices.
This is what the current Googlebot user agent for smartphones looks like:
Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Mobile/12F70 Safari/600.1.4 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot .html)
For comparison, the regular Googlebot user agent:
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
It's worth noting that Google doesn't consider tablets as mobile devices. Tablets are seen as intermediate devices between desktops and phones.
Google dictionary quote:
In our opinion, tablets are a separate type of device, so our definition of mobile does not include them. Tablets tend to have large screens. This means that if your content is not optimized for tablets, users will expect your site to look the same as it does on a computer screen, not a smartphone.
Mobile sites are visited and indexed by Googlebot for smartphones in the same way as regular sites.
The difference appears in the SERPs.
They may contain completely different results for a mobile user and different results for a desktop user.
It's worth remembering here that your site's mobile score is works side by side. That is, each subpage of your site gets its own score, not the total score.
Therefore, if your budget limited, start by making changes to the subpages that are most valuable to your customers.
Google mobile update , or the so-called mobilegeddon
In 2015, Google announced a new update aimed at changing the ranking of mobile pages.
He was nicknamed "mobilegeddon".
Some sites were directly affected and lost up to 35% of their ranking in the first month, while some sites didn't feel the drop at all.
Because Google warned about this update and many sites had plenty of time to comply with the guidelines.
At the same time, Bing announced a change to its algorithms. However, they didn't mention it beforehand.
Overall, a site well optimized for mobile search engines does well on both Google and Bing.
The next update came out this year, so we might be almost we are confident that "mobilegeddon" will increasingly influence the position of sites on mobile devices.
For more details, you can read in our interview for Domain Market about whether Polish sites will survive after "mobilegeddon".
In connection with that, how do you make sure your site is designed and optimized for mobile, and will mobile SEO improve your site's search engine rankings?
How mobile-friendly is the site?
There are three main approaches to building a mobile website:
- Responsive website
- separate mobile site
Tip: Google strongly emphasizes its preference for responsive sites. However, they also indicated that they support two other options.
This is mainly due to the fact that responsive the site does not require additional technical implementation to be optimized for mobile SEO.
You can read more in my other post: mobile site, responsive or app.
How do I check if my site is mobile friendly?
Here are some tools you can easily use to check how mobile-friendly your site is:
- Google Tester
- Download tool like Google
If your site is already optimized for mobile search engines, then the job is much easier, since it is practically no different from regular SEO.
However, it is important to note that when auditing your site, you should also test it with Googlebot for smartphones. This will catch any phone-only errors.
Page performance can have a significant impact on search results on mobile phones. Therefore, site speed optimization is also taken into account in mobile SEO.
How to check this?
Again, Google provides a tool, this time called PageSpeed Insights.
If you are using RESS or have a separate mobile site, then you need to remember to add a few things to your site so that Google knows the two versions are related.
Mobile SEO - Website Optimization RESS
A typical RESS site uses one URL and sends the user what they want.
In this regard, the same URL can show completely different things depending on The value of the device on which the page is opened.
Although the basic principles of SEO remain the same here, we must remember that such actions may be perceived by Google as cloaking.
This happens when the page submits information to the search engine, but shows the user something completely different. Google does not approve of this and imposes a filter on such sites, which directly affects their positions.
In the case of a RESS site, you need to signal to Google that you are serving different content depending on the user agent to provide the correct version for each user.
To make things clear to Google, the so-called HTTP header should be used Vary.
Using a header like this gives you the added benefit of:
- a mobile robot that will see that this URL has separate content for mobile phones
- a signal for the cache that will know whether to load the page from the cache or from the server right now
Mobile SEO - Single Mobile Site Optimization
A mobile site with a separate URL is actually a completely different site.
In this regard, the mobile version should be optimized in addition to the desktop one. Again, the fundamentals of SEO remain the same, with a few additional guidelines:
Creating Parallel URLs
The URL structure should be almost the same. For example, the address www.domena.ua/wpis.html should be reflected in the mobile version as www.m.domena.ua/wpis.html.
Add mobile tag separators
Separate page with same or similar content may be perceived by Google as a duplicate. This will result in nothing more than the disappearance of such pages from the search engine.
Adding mobile separator tags will allow Googlebots to know about an alternative mobile version of the site.
Versions of such tags must be included as both desktop and mobile versions.
When the URL on desktop is http://domain.ua/strona-1 - the label for this example will look like this:
Google requires the rel tag ="canonical" on mobile pointed to a URL on desktop.
You can also include the rel="canonical" tag to computer version to your sitemap:
media='only screen and (max-width: 640px)'
The required rel="canonical" URL tag must also be included in the HTML -mobile site code.
User agent redirect
Some users may access the wrong version of the site for their device.
In this case, it's best to redirect them on the server side using a script.
I suggest using a 301 redirect instead of a 302.
Additional recommendations for mobile 301 redirects
- Try not to redirect all addresses from desktop to mobile. Instead, point to the given URL, which is reflected in the original version.
- Include a link to the "desktop version" on prominently on a mobile site (and vice versa). In addition, cookies can be used so that the user does not have to click on such a link each time.
- Submit users tablets to the desktop version of the site. Tablets have larger screens and are much easier to navigate with websites written strictly for desktop browsers.
Schema.org, Rich Snippets and Rich Cards
Google is trying to move to Schema, especially on mobile devices where screen height and width are very limited. That is why Schema.org, Rich Snippets and Rich Cards are extremely popular right now.
You can read more in the article , which shows examples of structured data.
Next Key Mobile SEO Trends
- Accelerate mobile pages to increase page loading speed, and the ability to cache content and serve it directly to a search engine (instead of submitting user back to the original site).
- Remove side ads so the mobile site doesn't break the look.
Mobile SEO Summary
Mobile Tech ologies are changing rapidly, and this has a direct impact on changing user behavior when accessing the Internet from a phone.
How never before, search on our small devices is the future. Therefore, mobile SEO is an important task.
However, the old rules do not change. Robots need to access your site, read it, understand it and evaluate how mobile-friendly it is.