Today’s world is increasingly mobile-centric. I realized the other day that in one 24 hour period, I did my grocery shopping, ordered supplies for work, did research for work, navigated to a place I had never been before, caught up with a friend I hadn’t seen in years via social media, did some design work, answered correspondence, applied for a job, and checked my bank account – all from my phone. These days there are very few things you CAN’T do from your phone. But is your business prepared to serve your target audience on the mobile platform?

I am sure most of you  have likely heard of Google’s shift to mobile-first indexing. But there is likely something you don’t know. The ways you did your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) before may be causing Google to demote your site. Even though you haven’t changed a thing. Here are some ways you can get in good standing with Google from a mobile-friendly point of view.

Responsive Design

The most obvious answer is to make sure that your site has a responsive design. This means that your site will automatically adjust itself depending on the pixel size of the screen being used to view the site. If your site is not responsive, then you get the desktop version of the site loaded on a phone screen. Your guests have to navigate with the irritating left/right scrolling and pinch-zoom to be able to read anything. This is NOT very appealing to mobile users. A responsive site will automatically resize, and stack information for better viewing on a small screen.

One thing to note is that many business owners will opt to redirect to a separate URL for mobile users. Essentially, the site is the same but formatted for ease of use on mobile. The problem with this separate mobile URL method is that this creates an extra layer of redirects in your website. Every redirect is a slight slow-down in load time. Plus it will cost you points with Google. This can also boost your bounce rate if users bail before your site fully loads.

Keep that Load Time Down!

Speaking of which, page speed is another thing you can do to up your mobile-friendly game. Keep your site as lean as you can. Trim those media files (and coding files too if necessary) down to size. If you leave large media files on your site, you will increase your site’s download time. Google measures this often. This WILL demote you on their indexing if your site takes too long to load on a mobile device like a phone or tablet. Also, since you are now paying attention to your media files. Be sure you avoid adding media files that require special plugins to be able to view (such as Flash). Avoid these on the off chance your end users don’t have these applications on their mobile devices. If they don’t, they will get error messages or partially loaded sites with missing information. This is not the user-friendly experience you are aiming for. Google will pick up on that.

Design for Your User’s Experience

Aside from these things, there are other things you can do to improve the mobile user experience to your site. Thus boosting your ranking on Google. These things include: avoiding popups, having a finger-tap friendly menu, easily accessible buttons and links, clickable phone number, etc. Also, if you have a physical location, consider tagging your site with your address. Google will give preference to sites tagged with an address in the same geographical area as a potential customer who searches something related to your business from his phone. Cool right?

Most of these changes are one-time, easy-peasy design changes, but they can make a big difference to Googles algorithm, boosting your ranking, and therefore boosting your exposure and potential customer reach! Give it a try!

Written by Emily Dominguez