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How to optimise for mobiles

It’s official – “mobilegeddon” is upon us. The term, coined by industry experts, was created by Google so sites which are optimised for mobiles are now given search preference. It’s hardly surprising the search engine giant has done this, as it’s estimated 50% of searches are carried out on mobiles and recent Ofcom figures suggest that more people are opting for a smartphone over the laptop as their device of choice.

It is because of these recent changes SEO has changed. The onus is now on optimising sites for mobiles, otherwise, they simply will not rank as high as they had been.

Here are a few key pointers to help you out:

Responsive design: Websites now automatically detect which type of device and screen size the site is being accessed from and adjust the layout accordingly. It is because of this that your site must be ready for mobile usage. It is worth remembering that the way people search on mobiles is different from how they use a desktop. Try viewing your website on a mobile to determine what the viewing and navigation experience is like and adjust the content to help make the site easier to use on a smaller screen.

Page speed: You have about five seconds for a page to load before a user will lose interest and go somewhere else. With this in mind, it’s very important your site loads quickly on mobile devices. Google’s PageSpeed Insight tools allow you to check the loading page time and provide you with suggestions as to how to speed it up. Try to avoid using unnecessary images and plugins as they can slow the page load time down.

Optimising content: Making sure your content is optimised for relevant searches is still an important part of site ranking. Relevant keywords, which can be found using the Google Keyword tool, Ubbersuggest and, should be strategically placed throughout the site. It’s worth bearing in mind the local angle of your services too as around 50% of mobile searches are seeking locality, according to Google. Ensure all your meta tags are formatted in a mobile-friendly style by keeping title tags to within 40-60 characters and meta descriptions within 90 characters. To check mobile search results try out the User-Agent Switcher Add-On for Chrome and use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool, which will show you how mobile friendly your site really is.

Keep it clean: As mobiles are so much smaller than the average desktop it is worth keeping your mobile site design clean and easy to navigate around. Find a way to keep a copy, pictures and visual elements minimal, while continuing to deliver the key message succinctly. All call to actions should be simple, easy to find and large enough to be activated by the touch of a finger. Avoid using small text as they will be harder to read on smaller devices and ensure links on your pages are not placed too close together as users will become frustrated if they are continually sent to the wrong page.