Internet users are spending more time consuming content on mobile devices than ever before. In fact, a recent study by ComScore and Millennial Media reported that around 56 percent of online content is now viewed on smartphones.
This should be a wake-up call to content marketers. Creating mobile-friendly content should now be a priority for any business that has an online presence, and marketers need to adapt their strategies to create a better user experience for mobile users.
Google’s recent mobile-friendly update means that content should be optimized for mobile devices to strengthen search rankings. But this is only one ingredient of an effective content strategy. To determine search rankings, Google also measures the length of time people spend reading content and audience engagement metrics. Therefore, it’s equally important to create content that mobile readers love. Apart from rankings, it just makes good business sense. Hiring a content writer that is well-versed in mobile optimization is another strategic option.
The Way People Read Content Online Has Changed
In the past, many marketers focused on creating content that followed the “F-shaped” principle. This came from eye-tracking studies which showed that users looked at the top of the page, left to right, down, left to right again and then down further. But reading content on a mobile device is different from reading it on a desktop. So for mobile users, this principle is out of date.
In an eye-tracking study from Briggsby, mobile users gave around 68 percent of their attention to the center and top half of the screen and 86 percent to the upper two-thirds. As a consequence, vertical scrolling has become the new norm, as mobile users scan pages quickly to find the information they’re looking for.
To help you create content that’s more attractive to mobile users, here are six simple techniques to make sure your mobile readers love and share it with others.
1. Use Google’s Testing Tool
First, it makes sense to do a simple test. Google’s mobile test will analyze a URL and report if the page has a mobile-friendly design. You’ll see how Googlebot sees your page and, if you fail the test, Google explains why and then recommends steps for making your pages more mobile-friendly.
2. Write Shorter, More Captivating Headlines
When crafting headlines, create a sense of intrigue or explain clearly how users will benefit from reading the full article. Shorter headlines are usually better as they’re more scannable and long headlines only get lost below the fold. Of course, it’s also up to the designer to minimize the size of headline fonts, but you can still help the situation by writing more snappy headlines.
3. Start With the Most Compelling Content
On desktops, people can read a few paragraphs of content before they have to scroll down. Obviously, this is totally different on mobile. For this reason, begin articles with the most compelling copy. What mobile viewers can see above the fold is what will convince them to read more, so make sure it’s engaging.
4. Create Concise, Scannable Content
For mobile content, concise writing is key. This doesn’t necessarily mean that every article should be short; longer content can still appropriate for mobile viewing.
However, the writing needs to be tight and paragraphs short. With long paragraphs only slowing down the flow of an article. Try subheads and bulleted lists to make your content more scannable.
5. Use Fewer Images
Eye-tracking studies have shown that people are drawn to images, but images aren’t necessarily an effective use of page space when you want to fully engage readers. If an image doesn’t add useful information to support your text, consider not using it at all.
Use images sparingly and only when they help to advance your point. On the other hand, a how-to article featuring 10 pictures with captions can be very effective. It entirely depends on your marketing goals and your target audience.
Mobile users expect sharing features such as social media and email buttons, so make them clearly accessible. This is not only a good way to encourage content sharing, but it also improves the user experience. Remember, not everyone has the time to read an article there and then. Many mobile users will email the content to themselves for later.
While these suggestions will help you publish website content that is optimized for search engines and your mobile readers, it’s always important to focus on the needs of your target market. Above all, your content strategy should be informed by your website analytics and what you know about your audience. Ultimately, if you regularly write quality content that resonates with readers, it will strengthen your brand’s credibility and help you reach a wider mobile audience.