Google announced an eight-month delay to its mobile-first index switchover last week, giving webmasters, SEOs and developers the perfect chance to optimise content and pages for smartphones and prepare for migration ahead of the deadline in March, 2021.
Here are six things you can do right now to make your content more mobile-friendly.
Google’s open source Accelerate Mobile Pages initiative launched back in 2015 with the aim of improving the performance on content on mobile. Optimising for AMP improves the speed and usability of your mobile content which reduces bounce rate and increases the amount of time people spend engaging with it. This then leads to better ranking in SERPs.
Use succinct headlines
Headlines are always important but are doubly so on smartphones where you need to catch the attention of readers that won’t balk at swiping through pages endlessly. A short, succinct and snappy headline that encapsulates the article, news or blog will appeal to consumers and be presented in the correct format for mobile. Google recommends using 55 characters or less to ensure it is presented properly.
Optimise titles and meta descriptions
Titles and meta descriptions appear in Google’s search results and can play a major role in driving clicks to your web pages. On mobile, these HTML elements will be smaller in size and some users may not be able to visualise them property. For this reason, it is a good idea to optimise descriptions and titles so your keywords are front loaded.
Optimise site speed
AMP will go some way to boosting the speed of your mobile pages but is worthwhile to look at a few other technical aspects of SEO that can increase page speed. The majority of smartphone users navigate away from a website if the load time takes three seconds or longer. Even worse, every delayed second leads to a 12% slump in conversion rates.
You can run Google’s Mobile Speed Test and a few other tools to see whether there are any issues with your pages. Making changes will help to reduce bounce rates and generally deliver a better experience to mobile users.
Install a responsive web design
Google’s imminent switch to a mobile-first index highlights its preference for mobile web design. You need responsive HTML that is capable of adapting content to different smartphone screen sizes and orientations. This will ensure every image and character is displayed correctly. Using WordPress makes things easier as there is a selection of responsive themes that can be installed with just a couple of clicks.
Publish great content
Mobile users have different viewing and scrolling habits to desktop users, but one thing is constant across both platforms. Publishing great content will keep users glued to the screen for longer. Mobile readers generally pay most attention to the upper left portion of the display and are also likely to scroll more. Engaging blogs and articles with a mix of images and catchy subtitles will help to keep mobile users hooked from start to finish.