by Chris Reid

Your Survival Guide for Google's Mobile Search Update

The SEO community has been buzzing about Google’s recent statement regarding mobile websites:  According to the search giant, the mobile-friendliness of a site will play a more influential role than ever in determining rankings for your website content.  Of course, it shouldn’t take an official announcement from Google for search marketers to understand the importance of mobile.  Without a user-friendly mobile web presence, websites are likely to lose visitors and consumers to the competition.  Luckily, some simple methods exist to assess your current mobile web presence and optimize it.  Let’s look at a few tips for delivering the optimal experience to your mobile users.


  1.  Perform a Mobile SEO Audit


Even a mobile-ready site can benefit from the insights offered by a thorough mobile SEO audit.  Taking the time to perform this analysis will ensure that Google can identify your mobile content and serve it correctly.  Try using Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool to validate your site and confirm that your images, CSS and other resources are crawlable.  You can gain even more insights by checking out a couple key reports in Google Webmaster Tools.  The mobile usability report can alert you of a variety of usability issues, including Flash usage and incorrectly sized content.  In the crawl errors report, you can find out if parts of your site are blocked or if pages are not found.  Google’s PageSpeed Insights utility can address any speed issues on your mobile site.


  1. Determine Your Mobile Search Visibility


Be sure to pay attention to Google’s search queries report, viewing the data with the “Mobile” filter:  You can determine whether the top queries for mobile search are different from those for desktop search; you can also see which queries have the highest click-through rate, even if they’re not your top queries.  The Mobile report available in Google Analytics can tell you the most popular mobile devices used by visitors to your site.  Armed with this information, you can use Chrome’s Developer Tools to emulate your most-visited pages and see how they look on these devices.


  1. Check out the Mobile Search Competition


Tools like SearchMetrics and SEMRush can help you determine the keywords for which your top mobile competitors are ranking well.  You can combine this list of keywords with the keywords used in your top mobile search queries to expand your own arsenal of targeted keywords.  Whether you create your own content or purchase website content from an article writer, this master list of keywords can be used to improve your mobile search rankings.


  1. Don’t Forget Your Mobile App


If you already have a mobile app, make the effort to promote it.  Add smart app banners to your mobile website that encourage users to download the app, and create an optimized landing page for your app that will link users directly to the app store.  In addition to these tactics, it’s also worthwhile to get your app content indexed in search.  So far, Google only supports indexing for Android apps, but the benefits can be significant:  Users who have your app installed will be able to open app content directly from mobile search results.  Indexed app content can also boost your overall SEO.


There’s never been a better time to optimize your site for mobile users.  Mobile search is projected to surpass desktop search in the near future, so a mobile-friendly site is practically a requirement for any website that wants to stay in the game; Google’s announcement simply confirms the importance of mobile optimization.  With these recommendations in mind, it shouldn’t be difficult to assess your own site and identify areas that could use improvement.