Trends should be watched and strategies adjusted, to be successful at search engine optimization (SEO). The biggest adjustment has been the need to focus on mobile optimization. Mobile searches among users have increased to the point that they exceed desktop searches. A critical component of building a successful online presence is to ensure that your website design is both responsive and mobile-friendly.
Mobile Usability is a Major Algorithm
Google strives to give the best websites top ranking and doesn’t keep search quality guidelines a secret. There is no reason to shoot for the wrong SEO targets. One clearly stated ranking signal of a quality website is mobile usability. The five ratings range from “Fails to Meet” to “Fully Meets.” The marks of a quality website, as regards mobile usability, include that:
- The web pages are optimized for mobile viewing and
- Users on mobile devices are satisfied with their experience.
High quality content is another element of a website that goes hand-in-hand with mobile usability and every other algorithm. Three types of value rank well as the best content, those being expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. No SEO practice can replace or serve as a suitable substitute for organic SEO, in which the trust of an audience is earned through ongoing content of the highest quality.
When search engines, with Google in the lead, began ranking sites for mobile friendliness, they also began penalizing websites that aren’t up to the new standard. If a website doesn’t convert to provide a quality experience for users on hand-held devices such as tablets and mobile phones, search engines figure that out and bump the website down in ranking. Initial research indicated that a website may only drop slightly because of this defect, but if the bump is to the second page of results, visibility decreases to the 8% of users who venture beyond page one.
What Makes a Website User-Friendly?
User experience (UX) is at the heart of making a website easy to use. There are many insights that can be gained about UX if the online behavior of the target customers is understood. No matter which group is the one you are targeting, you have a website that is considered user-friendly if it accommodates an effortless experience.
A lot of work goes into making a website easy to use, and every aspect of a site should be included in the quest. Navigation should be intuitive, content concise, and visuals strategic. Nothing confusing should exist in the site’s functionality. Buttons and links should look clickable. There should be no difficulty finding the important information users are looking for.
Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design (RWD) is part and parcel of mobile usability. RWD is achieved when the same URL and code are used, whether the web page is accessed on a mobile phone, tablet, or desktop computer. The display is the only component of the site that “responds” to the screen size being used. The top benefit of RWD is that, once it is in place, it becomes necessary to maintain only a single version of your website. Responsive web design automatically adjusts to screen size. Research shows that consumers respond well to RWD. One company that realized typical results reported an 11% increase in visitors and a 51% increase in mobile conversions, after RWD was achieved on their website. A conversion occurs when a desired action is performed by the customer, whether that is to sign up for Emails, buy products, or call the business.
Tips for Mobile Optimization
It’s all in the details, when it comes to mobile optimization. Balance can be tricky because you may add a feature that is desirable but that slows down loading time too much. Many different tools are available, however, that can help you overcome such issues. WP Smush, for example, applies lossless compression techniques to all images on your WordPress site and will also optimize images previously uploaded to your media catalog. The following are more helpful mobile optimization tips:
- Maintain a per-line limit of characters to ensure readability on all devices, ideally between 45 and 75 characters. Web designers accomplish this using ems instead of pixels, both of which are unit types.
- Your choice of font can drastically impact mobile usability, since text is the primary method of communicating content. If the font has too little spacing between letters, the readability factor is diminished. Complex letterforms are interesting and thin lettering may have elegance, but the last thing you want is for users to be unable to read the content without first zooming in. Experts say sans serif fonts are smart choices because they tend to scale well across multiple resolutions.
- There are many advantages to simply staying on top of available online tools, many of which are related to mobile optimization and making a site both user-friendly and clever. Create irresistible buttons for clicking using CSS3. A wide range of buttons can be handcrafted with CSS3; and they can ultimately improve SEO, if they multiply the number of clicks on your site.
- Contrast and colors affect usability to a large extent. There are tools available that will evaluate your website and give you feedback on whether the contrast is sufficient, from a design standpoint. One important thing is to make sure users’ eyes are drawn where you want them to go. Another is to ensure that the text is readable, based on contrasting colors.
- The “submit” button should be programmed so that on mobile devices, the button is not disabled if the submission doesn’t go through at first, perhaps due to tower switching or poor signals.
Mobile optimization involves many resolutions and viewports; the struggle is real. Many tools are available that will test your mobile design. No need to guess whether you’ve achieved this essential step in creating a winning online presence. BrowserStack simplifies the testing process by giving immediate access to all mobile and desktop browsers.
Contact us at Tony M Ma Media for expert SEO that includes all aspects of responsive web design and mobile optimization.