Mobile Internet is on the rise all over the world. If you’re not tapping into this market on the move you’re missing out. And the “expectation gap” for mobile performance is also growing quickly, with mobile users expecting faster load times and sites optimized for handheld devices. To tap into this huge market opportunity, your website needs to be optimized for smartphone use.
Many businesses have recognized the importance of issues such as localization and international SEO. The Internet is a constantly shifting battleground, however, and the way people search for information has been undergoing a significant change. In many developing countries, internet users connect to the web through mobile devices, so the issue of having a multilingual smartphone optimized site is key.
The advantage of properly implementing and aiming your brand’s mobile site will certainly become evident when reporting on traffic and conversions after the fact. It’s no secret: brands and businesses that have smartphone-optimized websites are a step ahead of the game. Websites need to be optimized properly to perform to their full potential in a multilingual environement.
There are three approaches to mobile site design: 1) build a brand-new app, 2) use an existing desktop website (which smartphone users can read using pinch+zoom), or 3) build a new website that looks good on both desktop and mobile screens, responsive design.
Responsive design is a way of accomplishing the third option, ant that’s the approach chosen by the Openvalley agency. Webpages can be equipped with style sheets that look one way on the big screen, and can reshape themselves to fit the small screen. The most sophisticated designs can adjust a lot of properties on the page, including fonts, icons, and menus.
The important thing to remember about responsive design is that it looks different to users on different devices, but uses the same page URLs and coding to deliver content to all users.
The reasons why Google prefer responsive design over specific mobile sites are:
(1 That it is easier to maintain one site vs many. So having a design that adapts to the device automatically can save time and makes sure you have the same content for everyone
(2) Responsive design doesn’t have canonical URL issues and you don’t have to worry about ranking issues, he said.
(3) You don’t have to worry about redirects and he said that “many sites are terrible at managing redirects.”
The concept is simple: offer a mobile site with the same or similar content as the desktop site to satisfy those who use mobile devices for some, most, or all of their web searches. Sure, there are a lot of overlapping aspects with traditional SEO, but the idea and practice go far beyond that, focusing on true mobile SEO. There are some very important aspects to review to optimize your website for smartphone or mobile devices:
1. Know your brand’s mobile audience.
Start with your analytics data. Creating a custom dashboard for organic mobile traffic to easily identify volume, trends, the devices being used, and, obviously, keywords being searched in your target country. This will tell us how many visitors are coming to your site via mobile and whether or not it warrants (and financially supports) building a mobile version of your site. What kind of content are your customers looking for on mobile devices? Should the content be the same? Slightly different? Find out and prioritize accordingly.
2. Analyse your site’s behavior in mobile search results.
Use Google Webmaster Tools to figure out if your site is showing up in mobile search and what it looks like when it does. You need to know what the top search queries are and which pages (if any) are returning in Google’s mobile search results and prioritize accordingly.
3. Understand your audience’s mobile behavior.
Google’s Keyword Tool offers a special mobile-only filter to identify your audience’s keyword choices and frequency. We use it to build a model for your audience’s behavior when they are on a mobile device – it will likely differ in many ways from desktop.
4. Optimize your code for faster loading of the site
We search for your site on different mobile devices and see how it shows up and performs. Then, we use Google Webmaster Tools, Google PageSpeed Tools and Webpagetest.org to test how mobile visitors (and bots) find and view your site.
5. Know your content and product offering for mobile users
Figure out if your product offering should be the same for the mobile site as it is for the desktop site, and take into consideration that mobile devices offer a user’s location information more easily than that of a desktop site, and those mobile users are often looking for something close to their location. Before adapting your content we need to consider what visitors actually want from your site. Most people do not casually surf the web on mobile devices the way they do on desktop. Instead, they tend to visit sites with a particular aim in mind. This may be to check the prices of your products, to find directions to your store, or to find a specific piece of information depending on the nature of your business and site.
6. Designed simplified
The small screen size of mobile browsers demands a different approach to desktop website design. Clear, simple designs work best, preferably in a single column, as most users don’t want to be scrolling sideways across a page as well as up and down. Pages should not be cluttered or crammed with too much information. The use of white space can help achieve a clean, unfussy look and make your mobile-optimized site clearer and more navigable.
7. Make Navigation Easier on the smartphone
Users do not want to be clicking through numerous pages and it’s usually best to put the most important information and functions on the opening page where possible.
When other pages do have to be accessed you should make the process of navigation as simple as possible. Don’t forget that the small screen size of mobile browsers is not ideally suited for clicking on small items. Many mobile devices use a finger as the primary input device and this can be considerably less accurate than a mouse cursor when it comes to clicking the correct button or link. Clearly marked, reasonably large buttons are generally far better than tiny hotspots, clickable images, or embedded text links.
Using dropdown menus, checklists, and pre-populated fields as a means of data entry can all help minimize the amount of typing a visitor has to do on a small handheld keyboard and streamline the visit.
So what, exactly, are consumers looking for in a website accessed from a mobile device?
- Big, mobile-friendly buttons
- Limited scrolling and pinching
- Quick access to business contact information
- “Click to call” access to phone the business
- Links to the company’s social media profiles
- Information in just one or two clicks
- A search bar that is easy to find and use
- A site that fits the small screen
- Clean and efficient design
- Big, finger-friendly buttons
- Non-scrolling forms, with a limited number of fields
8. Make Your Brand Recognizable
Your mobile-optimized site is likely to be considerably different to your regular site, but a customer who visits both should still feel they stem from the same source. Logos, tone of content, and other branding elements should carry over from one site to the other. This will help to make a strong impression on new visitors and add a sense of familiarity to repeat customers – the single most important asset a business can have.
As an international search marketing company, we are well-positioned to help you maximise global traffic from mobile visitors. Call Openvalley now and benefit from huge opportunities for your company to reach new audiences and expand into new markets with the a smartphone-optimized website.