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Mobile Search Engine Optimization

The market for everything to do with the mobile Internet and thus also the area of ​​application for mobile search engine optimization (mobile SEO) is growing. Established search engines such as Google and Bing are also feeling this and are therefore promoting making websites fit for display on mobile devices. Mobile devices place completely different demands on websites than desktop PCs or notebooks in terms of usability, the presentation of information and loading times. The information displayed itself must also differ from that on desktop PCs, because smartphones and tablets are usually used in different situations than stationary computers – for example in cafes or when shopping.

In order to meet the changed requirements in the mobile web, the search engine operators try to give impulses for the design of mobile-optimized pages and reward this with better rankings. That means: Mobile SEO is basically not difficult, because the cards are on the table. This page shows what needs to be considered in mobile SEO and what trends there are in this field.

The growing mobile market

Mobile SEO tips and tricks
Mobile SEO tips and tricks

A few years ago it would have been inconceivable what is already a reality in some countries today: In some places, mobile Internet use has overtaken desktop PC use. Emerging and developing countries in particular are examples of a strong mobile market. One main reason for this: the lack of infrastructure in the form of a lack of cables has meant that people are dependent on surfing via mobile devices and WiFi. The Chinese search engine Baidu, for example , already has more mobile than stationary users . This in turn gives it advantages when expanding into other emerging countries such as Brazil.

“Mobile first!” is more and more the motto. This means that mobile users and the display on mobile devices are first considered. Only then are adjustments made to PCs and notebooks. A look at the forecast growth in the amount of data transmitted in the mobile Internet shows that by 2015 the volume will more than quintuple.

Google, Bing and Co. recognized the trend a long time ago. For search engines, mobile growth represents both an opportunity and a threat, because classic usage behavior on smartphones differs significantly from that on desktops and laptops. Search is no longer the starting point of web sessions as often. Instead, special apps are used depending on the task. In terms of apps, however, Google does not have as dominating market power as it does in search engines. Google has therefore already started to index the content of apps and to display the results in the search, from where the user can then click to access the relevant content in the app. Google also indexes apps

Differences in Mobile Search
Differences in Mobile Search

Mobile is searched differently – and other things are searched for. In the mobile search, location-based search queries such as restaurants or cafes in the immediate vicinity dominate. Another use case of mobile search is getting information and price comparisons in-store right before buying a product. Before making a major purchase, the customer wants to know whether a product is recommended and whether he can possibly get it cheaper somewhere else. Due to the mobile search behavior that can be observed, there is a close relationship between the disciplines of local SEO and mobile SEO.

Another important difference between mobile and stationary surfing behavior is the length of time users spend on a website. When it comes to purely text-based content, it has been shown that the time spent on the mobile web is shorter. With so-called rich media content such as videos, however, there is a greater degree of persistence on the part of users. All of this can be used in the mobile optimization of websites in order to achieve better rankings on the search results pages.

But what exactly is meant by mobile SEO?

Definition of mobile SEO

Definition of mobile SEO
Definition of mobile SEO

A recent study shows just how important SEO is in the mobile environment : According to this, the click rates for the results placed behind the top hit drop much more sharply than in the desktop search. Therefore, mobile applies all the more: First place wins!

A possible definition for mobile SEO could be: Optimizing the technical, design and content aspects of a website for display on mobile devices, taking into account the principles of general search engine optimization. That means in plain language: Mobile SEO is SEO taking into account the special features and restrictions of mobile devices and the mobile Internet. “Mobile devices” are not only to be understood as smartphones, but also tablets, which are now available in all possible sizes.

One of the special features of mobile SEO is the even greater focus on loading time and website performance, because the bandwidth is often limited on mobile devices. Excessive data volumes, for example caused by oversized images, can significantly limit usability.

Basically, however, mobile SEO is not a completely independent discipline. Everything that helps a website to get better rankings in the search engines in classic search is also useful for the mobile site. Here, too, backlinks, for example, are important in order to achieve a higher reputation and relevance.

Nevertheless, there are some special ranking factors that have to be taken into account, especially in mobile SEO. These are presented below:

Ranking factors mobile SEO

Ranking factors mobile SEO
Ranking factors mobile SEO

As has been shown, surfing and searching behavior on mobile devices differs greatly from the behavior of stationary users on desktop PCs and notebooks. Smartphones and tablets are used in a different way and for different purposes. In addition, there are the mentioned limitations of the bandwidth and also of the devices themselves. All of this is also reflected in the ranking factors of mobile SEO:

Loading time and performance: users are impatient. It has been shown that loading times of more than 1.5 seconds lead to initial churn, and this is understandable, because the competition on the Internet is great and only a click away. It is all the more important, especially in the mobile environment, that a page is set up quickly – and that the first content appears as early as possible, even if the loading process has not yet been completed. The process can be accelerated by, for example, loading certain elements that are not required for the display until later and using mechanisms such as compression and caching. This means that CSS, Javascript and image files can be transferred much faster.

Presentation and usability (usability): Google (mobile usability) only a few days, the mobile usability as a possible ranking factor brought into the conversation . Google in particular is attaching increasing importance to the fact that a website can also be used well on mobile devices. Fonts that are too small, tiny links or buttons that are difficult to use must be avoided. There should be special menus that meet the requirements for the available display size and resolution. If you want to test whether a page is considered mobile-optimized by Google, you can do this with the tool specially offered by Google .

Contents: Adapting the display on mobile devices is not enough, because – as described above – the information needs of users in the mobile environment are also different. The mobile content should reflect this and, for example, offer a summary of longer texts that may not even be read on a smartohone. Alternatively, different versions of texts can be kept available, which are displayed depending on the device. Other content such as videos that are viewed more frequently and for longer on the move could be given priority.

Responsive design: an important component of mobile SEO Responsive design

Responsive design an important component of mobile SEO Responsive design
Responsive design an important component of mobile SEO Responsive design

There are still many websites that either do not have a special mobile display or have a mobile version parallel to the “main page”. This mobile variant then usually runs under a mobile subdomain such as ” m.beispiel.com ” or ” mobil.beispiel.com “. Disadvantage of such “mobile-optimized” websites: They often do not correspond to the layout and design of the original page and are slimmed down. Disappointed users may then drop out earlier, which leads to a shorter dwell time and an increased bounce rate for the mobile version – two important ranking signals for Google.

The trend is going in a completely different direction anyway, namely towards responsive design . This means that there is only one version of the website, which is displayed differently depending on the context and the device used by the user. On a smartphone, for example, a different menu appears, there is a larger font, and buttons are displayed instead of text links. The advantage of responsive design: You no longer have to worry about maintaining multiple websites (the mobile version of a website is de facto an independent website). Even Google recommends using responsive design. The good news is that most content management systems these days have options that make it easy to convert a website to responsive design.

Mobile SEO tips and tricks

Below are some of the top mobile SEO tips. Those who pay attention to this have already done a lot to bring their own website up in the mobile rankings.

Google Webmaster Tools offers help for mobile websites and shows crawling errors for smartphones and feature phones (phones without the capabilities of a smartphone).URL error for smartphones in Google Webmaster Tools

Pay attention to “Faulty Redirects”: These are redirects to the homepage of the mobile variant. When Google discovers that a deep link, i.e. a link to a subpage, has been redirected to the start page of the mobile presence, it occasionally displays a note in the search results. For testing, you can simply run a mobile search that returns results from your own site.Faulty Redirects: Google indicates when mobile redirects are set incorrectly

Checking the robots.txt: Especially when there is an independent mobile version of a website, it must be ensured that all paths under which the associated files are located are also indexable for the crawlers and are not blocked by the robots.txt.

Check loading times: Loading times are a particularly sensitive issue on the mobile web. With the help of Google PageSpeed ​​Insights , the loading times can be controlled, and there are tips on how the loading times can be improved.

Correct use of canonical tags: If there is a desktop and a mobile version, it is recommended to switch to the mobile version via link rel “alternate” in the desktop version and to the mobile version via link rel = ” in the mobile version. canonical ” to refer to the desktop version. Attention: Reference must be made to the corresponding subpage, not to the start page. More information is available from Google .

Make sure that Google regards the site as “mobile-optimized” . It is best to use the tool provided by Google for this purpose .

Use responsive design : As described, the use of responsive design helps avoid many problems that result from maintaining an independent mobile page, such as incorrect redirects or an increased bounce rate.

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