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Beyond Mobile Friendly

By now you know that Google penalizes sites that aren’t mobile friendly, and how to prepare your site so you’re not one of the casualties. So far, however, the focus in the SEO community hasn’t gone much farther than that—being mobile friendly is good enough to keep your search ranking, so it’s all you need, right?

A new article by Bryson Meunier explores how we can go beyond that. Bryson points out that being mobile friendly is the bare minimum of what it takes to avoid a penalty. He asks how we can make mobile sites even better, and what effects that may have, both for SEO and the experience of the user.

Bryson makes a number of excellent suggestions, but there are two in particular I want to highlight for EverSpark readers:

Suggestion #1: Improve Mobile Search Experience

Just ranking in the mobile results is one thing, but contributing to a positive search experience for mobile users is even better. This is brilliant because improving search experience means you not only stay ahead of the next Google update, you may also garner more visibility or traffic right away.

One way Bryson says to do this is to simply improve page load speed. This is a big deal on mobile devices since 3G connections are slow. If your site loads in less than a second, it will improve traffic (less people will click away or close the window), improve the experience of mobile searchers, and possibly help you out in future algorithm changes. (Here’s our guide to improving page speed.)

Bryson also suggests you answer instant answers to mobile queries through Knowledge Graph. (Directions here.)

Suggestion #2: An “Additive” Mobile Experience

Another potent idea is to make sure your site adds extra functionality for mobile users. This is interesting because many sites struggle just to offer all their regular content on their mobile site. Bryson is saying you should offer even more than that, or what he calls an “additive” experience.

Unfortunately Bryson doesn’t have specific examples of how to do this. He mentions taking advantage of a mobile device’s camera or accelerometer, or targeting local content by GPS location, but it’s not clear how a mobile website can achieve this. There’s definitely room for innovation in mobile web technologies, but not a lot of out-of-the-box options for a small to medium business.

My own advice is not to worry too much about being “additive.” Just make sure 100 percent of everything on your regular site is available on your mobile site. This alone will put you ahead of most of your competitors. And please, do it with no app needed.

Even without taking advantage of microphones and cameras, think carefully before creating separate mobile content. Users may visit your site from both mobile devices and computers and be confused when they can’t find the same content from before. Plus, divergent content adds a significant layer of complexity especially as your site grows and changes over time. If done well, it could increase conversion rates from mobile users, but test it frequently to determine what’s working and what’s not. This is new territory.

Of course, mobile optimization doesn’t have to be hard. EverSpark’s web team can use responsive design so that your website looks great on all devices. Call us for a free consultation today.