June 10, 2013

4 Tips for Optimizing Your Site for Mobile Users

If you haven’t thought about mobile visitors to your site, you might want to start. Consider these stats…

  • 50.4% of all US mobile subscribers own smartphones (Nielsen 2012))
  • Mobile search queries have grown 5X in the past two years. (Google, 2012)
  • 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information and 61% call a business after searching. (Google, 2011)
  • 90% of smartphone searches result in an action – purchasing, visiting a business, etc. (Google, 2011)
  • Mobile customers will likely account for $163 billion in sales worldwide by 2015. (MobileCommerceDaily, 2011)

These figures make a compelling argument for making sure your site is optimized for the mobile user. But even before you do that, you need to make sure that mobile users can actually find your site. Luckily, you don’t have to make too many changes to stand out in the mobile world. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

#1 – Consider the mobile user’s motives

The motives of a mobile user are typically completely different than the average Internet browser. Usually they have some general end goal in mind. They want information or they want to buy fast. If you know why they might be looking for your site, it will help you present information in a way that you will be found. For instance, would they be..

  • looking for a location, hours of opening or directions?
  • searching for a quick how-to?
  • in the need for instant information?

Consider why and when you personally use your mobile searches. This will help you get inside the mind of the mobile user and make sure that certain information is easily available.

#2 – Keep mobile information prominent

If someone is looking for a bakery near them, they are likely to type in “bakery + city name.” If you have this information in text on your site or in your page title, you have a higher chance of showing up when they search for that phrase.

#3 – Follow best SEO (search engine optimization) practices

  • Optimize your mobile website speed. You can check it here. If it’s slow, consider these best practice tips from Google.
  • If you have a dedicated mobile site or pages, make sure your keywords are targeting your mobile users. Also keep in mind that titles and meta descriptions for mobile searches are shorter than on a desktop browser.
  • Keep content on your pages relevant and useful to the mobile searcher. Don’t put anything that isn’t needed as it will slow down your pages and be a distraction for the mobile user.

#4 – Always keep the mobile user in mind with your site structure and design

This can’t be reiterated enough. The mobile user will be in a different mindset than the typical web surfer. Not only will they be thinking differently, but they’ll also literally be in a different place. Typically, you’ll find a mobile user is accessing your site on the go or while sitting somewhere (couch, commute, waiting room, etc.).  That means you need to make sure your site fits these needs. Animated graphics, extraneous text, small sign up forms are all things that make for a miserable mobile experience.

You may have optimized your site to attract the mobile user, but you also need to make sure they stick around and interact with your site in the way you desire. See how mobile-friendly your site really is by asking staff members, friends and family to visit the site and tell you how the user experience was. Then make adjustments accordingly.