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An Introduction to Mobile SEO

It's so easy to get it wrong, even major platforms get it wrong!

As now more Google searches are conducted on mobile devices than desktop computers and Google also now ranks ‘mobile optimised’ web pages higher on handheld devices, there has never been a better time to cater for these people.

The search engine landscape has had a few shocks over the past decade and a half but few have been more prominent than the announcement that from April 21st 2015 Google were going to reward mobile optimised webpages on mobile device-based searches. Given that many websites hadn’t been updated for five or more years the challenge for them to meet the new requirements were staggering.

New websites built on popular ecommerce platforms also had problems given that Google would mark down their pages if the fonts were too small, if links were too close, if the content didn’t rescale to fit the widge of the screen and if special tags weren’t used.

Simply viewing your website on a mobile device yourself and thinking its ok isn’t enough. Google has its own mathematical formula to determine if a page passes or not and they have made it available to the general public here. Simply use your homepage, a category page, a product page and a content page and see what results Google gives. If they pass then you’re ok. If your pages don’t, as this one, then you know what you need to work on:

But with such a binary result it may be difficult to know how far away from a pass mark you are. We know that Google gives a numeric score to each of their factors and combined if you reach 80 then you pass. To find out what your score is you can use the Chrome browser and this plugin. Which will give results for the same page as:

Hence this website would need to look at their viewport configuration, proximity of links but most importantly and the font legibility.

That website was build on a proprietary platform in about 2010 and if we compare it to a website built on Kong [we would have redesigned the site by publishing date to make it look decent] then the score is much different:

If you are serious about checking your website thoroughly then URLProfiler is a tool that we report on your entire website en masse and indicate which of the elements Google measures you fail or pass on.

If you do fail and your website is build using a popular platform then often there will be themes that you can download, rebrand and then install. Your website will naturally have a different look-and-feel but if you value sales from people using mobile devices then you will not have a choice.

If your website is built on a proprietary platform then you could either approach your website designers and pay them to build a responsive website from scratch and replace your old one. Or you could simply upload your products to a new responsive platform and just configure your desktop one to switch people over as necessary (this is fraught with problems) or you could take the decision that you would like to build your own attractive, functional and fully responsive (gets a 100% score from Google) platform such as Kong.

The alternative is to systematically work through your website and check and resolve these issues:

  • Page load speed
  • Unplayable content (often videos)
  • Redirects that no-longer work (use ScreamingFrog)
  • Dead pages
  • CSS that doesn’t work responsively (use URL Profiler)
  • Check for mobile compliance
    • viewport configuration
    • links too close together
    • font size too small
    • pages don’t resize to screen width
Another version of this article can be found on the Kong Academy
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