Thanks to the rising prevalence of smartphones and tablets, mobile website designing and search engine optimization are interconnected. You can’t have one without the other, because search engines, like Google, favor mobile-optimized sites. Some small businesses still have websites that feature outdated designs, and as a result, they are inadvertently blocking the majority of users from viewing their site. This could result in the loss of thousands of dollars in sales. Follow this mobile site checklist to ensure your website is smartphone (and search engine) approved.
Mobile SEO Checklist
- Site adjusts for all screen sizes.
- Site works on all browsers.
- HTML uses proper syntax. (This includes having navigation, headers, and footers properly labeled).
- Images include descriptive “alt text.” (Images should also be scaled or cropped to create a smaller file size).
- There are no Flash videos, frames, or pop-ups.
- Site loads fast, ideally in less than two seconds.
The six items above are the most basic qualifications for ensuring mobile SEO. Responsive design is the most popular method of mobile website design, but another option is to have a customized mobile website. In responsive design, the same webpage is displayed for all users, but the design responds, or adjusts, to the screen size as needed. With mobile sites, a URL redirect will route mobile users to a completely separate page designed particularly for mobile screens. Each of these options has benefits and drawbacks.
Mobile-only sites will load faster because the designer can remove all but the most important features. But responsive designs allow for the same user experience across all platforms. The choice is up to the individual owner and should be based on the anticipated needs of website visitors.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Designer
The above information requires a bit of HTML and CSS experience to implement. Most business owners will probably end up hiring a professional web designer or developer to assist with the conversion to a mobile website. In that case, it is important to ask detailed questions of the designer to make sure they have a strong understanding of mobile SEO, responsive design, and best practice standards.
- “How will you make sure my website works for all users?”
- “How will the design of the site influence search rankings?”
- “Will you ensure the webpages have a fast loading speed?”
- “Do you validate your code to make sure it meets current best practice standards?”
One final thing to remember: there is a difference between a website that is accessible for mobile users and one that is optimized for mobile. A designer may claim to have experience in accessible design, but this will not necessarily translate into the best possible mobile user experience. The mobile site checklist in this article gives the basics to make a website not just accessible but optimized for mobile users.
Webmaster For Hire is a team of SEO and web design experts, headed by CEO and President Elizabeth Varian. Elizabeth’s 19 years of online marketing and media experience are a clear advantage, evident in everything from the company’s client reviews to the knowledgeable blogs and podcasts presented on its website. Visit Webmaster for Hire for more information about responsive design and SEO.