Mobile-First SEO Planning and Strategies for Startups

Woman on mobile device looking for local listings

Startups often have issues gaining traction on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) in general, so trying to make sense of the differences between desktop and mobile SEO can be painful. And, gaining real traction in search engine rankings and getting organic search traffic can feel impossible. There are so many sites that have had more time to tinker with their SEO, more time to produce high-quality content, and more time to build the links that drive the results. How do you even begin to think through your company’s SEO strategy for Mobile at that point?

One Step at a Time

It’s not impossible for a startups to get momentum and increase rankings on Google. You just have to take it one step at a time. Google’s new announcement they will be splitting the Mobile and Desktop search indexes, with mobile being the primary index is a major part of this. The key takeaway is it will be a pure mobile index focusing on “pure mobile content” to differentiate them. The good news is, the best practices of title tags, url structures, etc. are all still the same.

Becoming a Mobile-Friendly Website

Mobile-optimized pages are obviously going to play a part here, and having a site that is responsive is the key to this all. Web pages on smart devices like iPhones, iPads, and on various mobile OS’ like iOS and Android should be just as attractive as your main, desktop site. All of the functionality and usability should basically be the same, obviously scaled down for these devices and mobile operating systems. Using responsive web design, you can create a site that shares the same HTML across all devices and allows CSS to decide how to render it properly. .

You Don’t Need New URLs

The days of m.website.com are over, thank god! Now that we have responsive web design to render the sites appropriately, you don’t need to create a separate URL for your Mobile Website, and your Mobile SEO won’t be affected by it. This is a big part of the new mobile algorithms and indexes, in that responsive sites will benefit more from Mobile SEO Signals. Having responsive sites will allow you to make sure all of the content is the same, on all the same URLs, and thus, not confusing users or search engines.

Mobile Pages Need To Load Faster

Page speed is even more important than it ever has been. The main thing here is understanding what is putting the most stress on the mobile internet connection of your user. Using smaller image sizes and videos will decrease the data needed and time to download a page, which is especially important for Mobile SEO. Image optimization techniques are extremely important, and things like leveraging web fonts vs. text in images and removing unnecessary resources will decrease page load times.

Bounce Rate is Even More Important Now

You have to take into account mobile visitors are likely to be limited with slower processors, battery life issues, and much slower internet speeds. When searching, all of these things will be prohibitive and the more optimized for these things, the more likely a user to purchase or stay on your site. This keeps bounce rates from mobile low. the answers to their search queries quickly, they will likely leave your site, which means your bounce rate will be lower. Bounce rates are a general SEO signal, but, the above items mentioned will impact bounce rates from search engines even more via mobile devices.

The Important of Mobile & Local Search

Most of the content people search for while on their mobile devices is going to have local content. This could because they are starving and looking for a restaurant in their area (I know I’ve done this!), because they need to find a gas station, or maybe a flower shop. Think about all the use cases where people are looking for businesses or products and it shouldn’t surprise you that the research supports this.

People are generally performing mobile searches for availability of a product, the pricing, store hours, among other things. Your website will have to take this into account to optimize your mobile SEO for local search. Understanding the intent, how they search for these local businesses or products will help you craft better titles, urls, and content.

Small businesses can be very targeted by included locations, phone numbers, zip codes, etc. For example, if we use the flower shop example above, I have done this specifically where I have done a search like “flower shop near me” and “flower shop in <city name>” when I wanted to get flowers for a special occasion.

Mobile-Friendly QA (Quality Assurance)

After keeping all of this in mind, there are tools and resources at your disposal to make sure your doing all you can. Google has a mobile SEO guide to help guide you along the way and a tool that allows you to test if your website is mobile friendly. Also, because page speed is so important, run a Google PageSpeed test to make sure your page load times are low. These tools and resources and free and will give you feedback on how to address and fix issues you may have.

Remember, Google and Search Engines are really focused on delivering the best possible user experience. They want to make sure everyone searching is finding what they need efficiently, tehrefore, you will be rewarded if you do the same. Focusing on building a user friendly and highly usable site that is fast, responsive, and not resource intensive for mobile devices is going to win at Mobile SEO.

Have you seen a difference since Google has started to make the shift to a Mobile and Desktop search index? What Mobile SEO tactics are you implementing?

Don’t have a Mobile SEO Strategy for your business? Time to start thinking about this and let us build an SEO Program that will grow your organic search traffic like our past clients. Our team is focused on tactical and actionable feedback to grow your business.