It seems like only yesterday we were reminding our audience that mobile optimization is real and really important. Okay, so it was last month. In our compilation of the five SEO elements you cannot afford to ignore in 2015, mobile optimization made number one. Now, we’re catching wind of Google kicking it up a notch.
Mobile Usability Warnings Hit Webmasters
According to Search Engine Land, Google has dispatched mass notifications to webmasters with not so mobile-friendly cyber spots. The notifications waste no time in getting straight to the point, with the subject “Fix mobile usability issues found on…”
Each message tells the recipient their site is ripe with “critical mobile usability errors on 100 [percent] of the pages.” Google adds that unfixed errors will negatively affect display and rank for smartphone search users.
The mass notifications are being sent via email and Google Webmaster Tools. In essence, it’s a friendly warning. If your website and content aren’t optimized for mobile, it’s going to impact your page rank in mobile search.
Google’s pulled out the stops with these notifications, making it easy for recipients to act by spotting and correcting the issues. The email even contains a handy closer with tips for how to proceed:
Google Mobile Algorithm Speculation
The signs of Google launching a new mobile ranking algorithm are buzzing about the top SEO news websites. While Google has yet to confirm any upcoming launch of such an algorithm, they haven’t denied it either.
The chatter comes as no surprise, especially after Google announcing their mobile-friendly label going international before New Year’s. It seems the search guru’s special ranking experimentation for mobile-friendly sites is about to spring forth from the depths of their laboratory.
Google’s MO has always focused on user experience. Every algorithm from Panda to PageRank has worked to improve search results for users. In the past few years, we’ve seen huge advances, from the end of keyword stuffing to a much heavier focus on quality content. Websites offering value will flourish, and it now seems those taking the time to optimize for mobile devices will flourish even more.
Optimizing Great Content for Mobile Viewing
Mobile optimization has been a thing for some time. In fact, a Google search for related “how to” guides will display outstanding (and still relevant) information dating as far back as 2011. But what’s the trick? Is it all server-side programming, or does it change the way content is produced?
Mobile content is designed for on-the-go users. It will be viewed on a Smartphone or tablet, small screens in comparison to the almost television-sized screens of modern desktop computers. Therefore, not only must your content be responsive to multiple viewing platforms, but also designed for the on-the-go portion of your audience.
While it does require server-side programming to ensure responsiveness to multiple devices, it also calls for a slightly different approach to content creation. You should be incorporating five best practices:
1. Simplify: Contact pages and forms are best kept short on mobile-friendly websites. Content also needs to be simplified. Avoid lengthy paragraphs that turn full screen on mobile devices. Be cognizant of how copy format will appear and adjust accordingly.
2. Be Precise: Get to the point! Treat content creation like a pyramid. Make the pyramid’s tip (i.e. your introductory paragraph) precise so readers know exactly what they’re about to read. Flesh out the rest with short, precise paragraphs that support and build on the introduction.
3. Audience Preference Wins: The debate between long-form and short-form content on the Internet will likely continue. In truth, your decision to use one over the other, or a combination of both, boils down to audience preference. If your target audience is primarily on-the-go and busy readers, short-form wins. If your readers have time to dig into meaty content, long-form dominates. And if your audience is made up of people who are busy, but like to dig in when able, a combination triumphs.
4. Test Different Content Forms: Mobile searchers are more likely to hit play on a video or check out an infographic. Experiment with multiple content types. Don’t be afraid to turn your existing content into more mobile-friendly forms. Content repurposing for creating a killer mobile version of your website is 100 percent acceptable. It will probably win you brownie points with Google in the near future.
5. Focus on Headlines, Lists, and Bold Text: Most mobile users will scroll and scan a page before reading. Pay extra attention to what stands out, from headlines and lists to bold text. Allow these elements to create a visible skeleton so users can decide if reading is worth their limited time.
Don’t Skimp on Mobile Content
Google’s making it apparent that mobile-friendliness cannot be ignored. It’s about to become even more important to search engine optimization, which means your content needs to be ready. It just might be time to conduct a content audit and get up to speed if you haven’t already.
Feature Image Credit: Bloomau via 123RF Stock Photo