Have You Optimized Your Mobile Site? If Not, It May Be Costing You

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If your mobile site isn’t optimized, you’re likely missing out on valuable exposure, traffic — and sales. In 2021, mobile users made up roughly 54% of website traffic, while desktop users comprised around 43%. Google implemented mobile-first indexing for new sites in July 2019. However, if your site was built (or indexed) prior to that date, Google will “monitor and evaluate pages” based on its documented best practices and display whatever version it deems “most appropriate.” There’s no separate mobile index; Google does, however, notify webmasters when a site is switched to mobile-first indexing via Google Search Console. For mobile site visitors to have the best experience — and for your business to reap the greatest benefits — Google has a slew of best practices to follow.


Consistency Is Key

You don’t need to recreate the wheel when optimizing for mobile — keep mobile site content as similar as possible to your desktop content, as removing mobile content is likely to lead to traffic loss. If your mobile web copy appears too dense, try separating it into accordions or tabs so it can still be crawled and indexed. Also, maintain the same metadata and structured data across your two sites. In most cases, Google also advises using the same robots.txt directives, which specify the parts of a website that can be crawled, on mobile and desktop.


Keep an Eye on Images and Video

Mobile site images and videos should always be high quality, saved in a supported format and include the same alt text as desktop versions. Avoid URLs that change each time a page loads for images so that your content can be indexed properly. Additionally, Google advises using “the same descriptive titles, captions, filenames, and text relevant to the images on the mobile site as you do for the desktop site.” Make certain all visual content is easy for visitors to find, with minimal scrolling or clicks needed.


One URL or Two?

Google doesn’t recommend different URLs for mobile and desktop. But what if your site was already built with separate URLs? Don’t worry — there are still things you can do to help improve your site’s performance:

  • Verify both versions in Search Console to ensure access to important data and messages for each.
  • Check the error page status across mobile and desktop. If your desktop site serves normal content on a page, but the mobile site version displays an error page, that page will not be indexed.
  • Avoid fragmented URLs on mobile (the end of the URL that begins with #), as these will generally not be indexed with mobile-first indexing.
  • Google advises pointing to only one version in a sitemap. But, if you point to both, annotate your URLs to differentiate them. Google supports including the rel=”alternate” annotation for the desktop pages in site maps and recommends that the required rel=”canonical” tag on the mobile site URL be added to the mobile page’s HTML.
  • Make certain that your mobile site has sufficient capacity to handle a possible increase in crawl rate.


Some Ads Can Hurt Site Performance

Google recommends adhering to the Better Ads Standard when displaying ads for mobile (and desktop) users. The research-based standards have found that certain types of mobile ads can be detrimental to the site’s user experience, including: pop-ups, flashing animated ads, prestitial ads, postitial ads with countdowns, and large sticky ads.


Trust the Mobile Pros at Kymera

There’s more to mobile site optimization than what we’ve covered. And Google is notorious for changing up their algorithms and guidance. So, if you’ve noticed a drop in your site’s ranking or performance — or want more information about mobile-first indexing — let our experienced web developers assist you, whether you’re building a site from scratch or need a site refresh and mobile optimization. Kymera’s marketing pros can help keep you on Google’s radar and increase your visibility to potential customers, no matter how they access your website.