When it comes to search engine optimization, or SEO, a whole different set of rules applies for mobile websites.
Whether you have a mobile website or a responsive website, you need to keep these rules in mind in order to reap as many rewards from your efforts as possible. By playing nicely with Google, your mobile site will enhance the visibility and prominence of your regular website as well, and you’ll come out ahead in both departments.
Keep these suggestions in mind while developing a mobile site:
- Flash – Flash is the kiss of death for any mobile site because many devices don’t support it. Most notably, iOS devices, including the iPhone, aren’t compatible with Flash. Your mobile site needs to be accessible on all devices, so you should avoid using Flash entirely. Use HTML5 instead. It works on all devices and is quickly becoming the most popular way to display videos and other elements on tablets and smartphones.
- Desktop 404s – The lazy way to develop a mobile site is by redirecting users to the desktop version when they land on a page that hasn’t been developed properly. This is frustrating for users, and Google frowns upon it as well. In fact, Google dictates that all pages should be optimized for mobile devices. Displaying desktop 404s is a big no-no. Take the time to develop special 404s for the mobile version of your site. You’ll avoid alienating visitors and Google alike.
- Mobile Redirects – When accessing your site from mobile devices, users should be able to find what they need without being redirected all over the place. It’s well worth it to develop mobile versions of each and every product page on an e-commerce site, for example. That takes time, of course. In the meantime, resist the urge to redirect users to your mobile-optimized home page. This interrupts the shopping process and is sure to send people packing. Find a workaround to ensure that they can still view your product pages.
- Responsive Design – A great way to avoid some of the biggest headaches that are associated with designed mobile versions of websites is by creating a responsive site. This means that one site will render correctly on all devices. There’s no need to create two sets of code or two versions of the same site. In addition to saving time and money, this solution will make future updates a breeze. It will also create consistency, which your visitors are sure to appreciate. Whether they access your site on computers, laptops or mobile devices, they’ll always be greeted with the same thing.
What to Expect in the Future
Google’s top priority is delivering accurate results to users. It’s almost certain that the search engine giant will put the kibosh on the practice of advertising mobile apps on mobile homepages. This practice continues to be fairly common. If you’re currently engaging in it, however, you might want to stop now. It negatively affects users’ online browsing experiences.