Mobile users account for just over half of all internet traffic, according to 2018 statistics. This means that businesses and website owners need to optimise their sites for mobile and ensure that they tap into this huge source of traffic.
A lot of this mobile traffic comes from social media apps on smartphones, where users click on links to websites from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. However, social media is not the only source of mobile traffic – almost 60% of Google searches now come from mobile devices.
Websites need to be optimised for mobile search and display. Images and text need to be reorganised so that it can be easily consumed on a portrait-orientated phone screen (as opposed to a landscape-orientated computer screen). There are a few ways to optimise your site for mobile search and display.
Web design is an important function
When mobile internet traffic first started to grow, websites used to have two separate designs; one for desktop and one for mobile. Nowadays, web designers can create one design that displays correctly on desktops, tablets, phones and laptops.
This is also called a responsive design – the website will adapt to the screen of the device automatically. As the screen ratios change and get smaller, the website layout moves and shifts to make the content easily consumable.
Make sure that your website has a responsive design. If it was developed in the last few years, it probably has a responsive design. If your website was created before the rise of smartphones, you’ll need to update the design and make it responsive.
In any case, every website owner should access their site from a phone on a regular basis to check that it displays correctly. Glitches can and do happen, so log onto your site from a phone and double check. Google will also rank mobile-friendly sites higher in mobile search results.
Site load speed is vital
Your website needs to load fast. Period. Where users are accessing websites with mobile data, they don’t want slow sites to cost them more. Even if they are using a WiFi network, mobile internet users are looking for a fast-loading website.
In South Africa, many locations have limited network coverage where 4G or even 3G does not work. In areas where slow internet is the only option, a fast website will make all the difference to mobile internet users.
Again, Google will reward fast sites with higher rankings. In turn, this will give you more traffic. If your site is slow, internet users will press the back button, taking them back to the Google search page. This will tell Google that they don’t like your site for some reason, and you could be penalised for it.
Avoid using ‘load more’ options on your site
To improve site loading speed, many web owners only display a portion of their content on mobile versions. We’ve all seen mobile sites where you have click “load more” at the bottom to read the rest of the article.
These ‘load more’ options could be hurting your Google rankings. When Google crawls a site for indexing, it is presented with the version that users see. Therefore, if Google can’t see all of the page’s content, it won’t rank your site properly. Make sure that you show your users and Google everything when they click on your site.
Have a smaller header image
Most website owners want a high-resolution header image that looks great on large screens. However, if it is too big, it will seriously impede the speed of your site. Besides, phone screens are relatively small, so having a massive header image is a waste when being viewed on a phone screen.
Other images on your site need to be optimised for web too. This means saving them at a slightly lower resolution – low enough to bring the file size down but high enough to keep the quality good. Software such as Adobe Photoshop can be used to save optimised images for web.
It’s not only images that need to be optimised. Make your text slightly larger and use a dark grey or black text colour on a white background. This will make it easier to read on a small screen and will improve the overall usability of your site.
Keep pop-ups away from mobile versions of your site
Popups can be the bane of many internet users, but they are worse on mobile sites. On a laptop screen, a popup is relatively small and easy to get rid of. Sometimes they can even be ignored completely.
However, on a phone screen, a popup takes over the entire screen and the exit ‘X’ is always hard to press. They are infuriating for mobile web users. Most of these annoyed users will exit your site immediately and this high bounce rate will affect your Google rankings.
Leverage you Google AMP framework
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an initiative run by Google that enables fast page rendering and content delivery on mobile devices. Installing the AMP framework on your site will make it more user-friendly for mobile device users.
AMP-enabled sites appear higher in Google’s search results pages. This is a quick and easy way to get more mobile traffic from internet searches. AMP code can be embedded in your site or you can use it on third-party sites such as Tumblr, Squarespace and WordPress.
These tips will help you increase your mobile search traffic by improving the usability and experience of your mobile site. This is important because you want to give the majority of internet users a pleasant website experience when they access your page via a smartphone.
Sorted Design Agency is a creative company that constantly looks for solutions to other people’s problems. These problems come mostly in the visual format, such as graphic design, logo and illustration, but we’re experts in brand development, website design, and digital SEO campaigns as well.
Based in Pretoria and Cape Town, Sorted has been in the content marketing industry since 2006. We assist your company with its corporate identity by communicating core values through content and articles written for your website, blog and news area. This content is supported by AdWords and social advertising, which facilitates wider reach and audience growth. Turn your website into a business tool.
Sorted also owns two other businesses; InkFish Print Studio – a printing company that handles a range of promotional materials for businesses and other services for individual customers, and Pampiri + Kie – a gifts and stationery store selling online and in-store. Both of these companies operate from Cape Town and Pretoria.
Follow us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn for the best tips on design, marketing and web development. We also share the latest industry news and fresh content to inspire fellow designers, creatives and marketers.