Introduction to Mobile Rank Tracking

What are Mobile Rankings?

Mobile rankings are the keyword positions within the search engines for searches posted from mobile devices. Now that Google has rolled out its Mobile First Indexing, which means it now indexes the web from a mobile point of view first. 

Why Are Mobile Rankings Important?

Over 60% of searches now come from mobile devices. Google and other search engines have responded to this rapid rise with sweeping algorithm updates to how they prioritize rankings websites with mobile search. Simply, if your website does not have a properly functioning mobile version, your mobile rankings will suffer. 

While basic SEO practices still remain relevant in terms of mobile search, the search engines have altered their algorithms to reflect the experiences and difficulties mobile users face when searching from phones and being directed to non-friendly mobile sites or pages. If your redirects are faulty or your mobile site is filled with errors, it will be extremely difficult to rank well in the mobile search results. 

Additionally, unfriendly mobile sites can result in difficult user experiences that negatively affect your bounce rate, causing further harm to your rankings. Having a user-friendly mobile site will only help your search rankings for mobile and keep the visitors to your site happy and engaged with your content. 

More users on mobile search means that there are far more opportunities to attract visitors to your site. 

Mobile Ranking Factors to Keep in Mind

While search engines, like Google, still maintain that many of the factors of traditional SEO are relevant with mobile search, the mobile and desktop algorithms are different and contain some differences as to how you display your website and post content. 

Optimize Your Website to Load at High Speed

This is one of the most important factors when search engines index your website. If your site speed is slow, not only will your rankings suffer, but your users will become frustrated as well and hurt your bounce rate. 

If you want to speed up the loading time on your site, use Accelerated Mobile Pages HTML (AMP). This will make your webpages load quickly for mobile users and let them know that the content they want to view will be quick. 

Set Proper Redirects to Navigate Users to the Appropriate Pages

Ensure that when a mobile users navigates between pages on your site you have the proper redirects to the mobile pages they are trying to get to. Often times, sites will have faulty redirects that take a mobile user from a mobile page to a desktop version or from the mobile page they want to see to a different mobile page that they didn't intend to view. 

This example from Google's blog outlines the problem well. 

example of mobile rankings from google's webmaster

Use HTML5 for Video Content

Some mobile devices are incapable of playing certain kinds of video content such as Flash. Users that can't view your mobile video content may become frustrated and leave. Google recommends that you use HTML5 for your mobile websites. You can use Google Web Designer to post your video content using HTML5. 

Be Careful With Interstitials

Interstitials are pop-ups or gated content that shows up when you enter a page. Google has recently come out with an update that penalizes sites for using unwanted interstitials when people navigate from the Google SERPs to a page. Unwanted interstitials include:

  • Popups that cover too much of the page
  • Singular ads or boxes that aren't easily exited
  • Upper-fold sections of a page that keeps the content underneath it at all times

Here is an example from Google's blog.

interstitials are bad from google's

However, there are some types of interstitials you can use that you won't be penalized for. They include:

  • Legal verifications such as age restrictions
  • Logins for pages that aren't indexed for privacy reasons
  • Fold banners that aren't spatially intrusive and can be exited easily. 

 How Can I Create A Mobile Version of My Website?

There are three types of ways to configure a mobile website:

Responsive Web Design 

This is Google's most recommended solution. This will allow you to use the same HTML code for all devices and the CSS will then alter the website's display to fit the devices screen parameters. 

Dynamic Serving 

This solution allows that you create a different HTML code for each device.

Multiple URLs 

This is where you set up desktop and mobile URL versions for your website and its pages. 

You can learn how to configure a mobile website by following Google's rules available on their site. Currently, Google does not prioritize one method over the other in regard to rankings, so whichever you choose will bring you the same ranking results barring any errors or user frustrations. 

If you want to check if your mobile site is functioning properly and mobile friendly, you can use Google Mobile Friendly Test

The age of mobile search is here and thriving. That's why it's extremely important to have mobile versions of your webpages so that users can find you on the web when searching and you can strengthen your organic traffic from both desktop and mobile sources.