On April 21, 2015, Google made a massive update to their SEO algorithm and was clear that they’d be handing out manual penalties to websites that didn’t abide by mobile best practices. Don’t panic just yet—Google doesn’t expect every website to run out and develop and app or otherwise become their “best” mobile ready self. Really, mediocrity is what’s being expected, but that’s still going to be a challenge for the vast majority of websites. Now that experts are saying that the majority of American web surfing will take place on mobile devices by 2017 (and we’re almost there already), Google is simply being proactive in making sure the best websites are still dished up to surfers.
However, the algorithm is a change that’s going to impact all languages of all websites that appear in Google searches. What does this mean for content marketers? It’s time to focus not just on the quality of your online content, but its mobile-ready factor. You might be doing everything “right” from a content perspective, but that doesn’t mean much if almost half of users can’t readily access it. In order to appease Google’s algorithm and avoid a penalty, consider these your new content marketing rules for a very mobile ready world (and marketing campaign):
1. Even shorter and sweeter.
People on mobile devices have even shorter attention spans and want pages to load even faster than those on desktop devices. That makes sense because they’re likely browsing while in line for coffee or their morning commute. Tighten up your text, embrace more white space, and think about what kind of information you’d like to look at while in line for coffee. Trim fat wherever you can.
2. Size down those images.
Images and videos are big culprits when it comes to slowing down a page load, and of course slowly loading themselves. People want to watch a short video or pore over an entertaining infographic on their mobile devices—they don’t want to see an hourglass/ticking time bomb while they wait for a page to load. Make sure the size is set large enough to be high quality, but not so big you give up speed for it.
3. Ditch pop ups for good.
This is a best practice mobile or not, but it’s particularly infuriating when a pop up happens on a mobile device. It can be impossible to find the X to cancel it, it slows down the page, and many viewers will simply back click while maybe remembering your website as the one with the annoying layout. Kill these items for good.
4. Consider a mobile version of your website.
5. Make links clear but not accidentally clickable prone.
You’ll still have links on your website, but maybe tone them down a bit. Remember that you’re sending people away, and some phones have a penchant for “saving” open windows making it impossible to open a new one. Links should be evident, yet subtle enough people can touch their screens and not accidentally get sent astray.
Remember that Google wants the exact same thing you do: To match your website and content to the best possible audience. The search engine isn’t out to get you. Abide by these new best practices and you’ll be on your way to offering a fantastic mobile experience.
Editor’s note: you can test the performance of your website on mobile here.
Image by Carlos Luna