After Google’s Mobile Update on April 21st, mobile is definitely a priority for search marketers and everybody hopes to have the “mobile friendly” label in the mobile search results at SERPS.
We will follow an example of having a separate mobile site (m.domain.com) which means that a different version of the site is being served to the user according to their device (desktop/mobile). In order to make sure that everything works properly, use a smartphone, go to Google Search and apply a query with your brand term. Google must show the m. domain version of the website and not the desktop one.
Now let’s check together 5 tips to boost your mobile SEO performance.
1. Build & Submit a Sitemap for your mobile site
With a sitemap implemented, you allow search engines to understand what data of your mobile pages you wish to have crawled, the priority or hierarchy of your site content and the time that your page was last updated.
Create a separate XML mobile sitemap and submit it to search engines (Google & Bing) so as to allow them to better serve search requests from mobile devices that will lead to your site pages. Once created, check that your sitemap agrees to the mobile’s sitemap protocol and that it is being displayed as below:
<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”UTF-8″ ?>
2. Check that Googlebot can index and render your mobile site
The robots.txt file should be saved in m.domain.com/robots.txt and displayed as below:
3. Avoid duplicate content and crawl error pages
If you have a different site for your mobile version, it is highly recommended to annotate the relationship between matching desktop and mobile pages/URLs with rel=”alternate” and rel=”canonical” tags so as to prevent Google penalizing you for a possible duplicate content between the mobile and desktop versions of your pages. So, these tags help Google identify indexing and ranking signals.
By adding a rel=”alternate” tag you inform the search engines for the corresponding mobile URLs and define the relationship between the two pages. Add this tag in the HTML header of the desktop page pointing to the equivalent mobile URL, as below:
<link rel=”alternate” media=”only screen and (max-width: 640px)” href=”http://m.domain.com/mobile-page/”/>
Similarly, by adding a rel=”canonical” tag on the mobile pages pointing to the equivalent desktop URLs, you help Google define the desktop URL. So, add it in the HTML header of the mobile page, using the URL of the corresponding desktop URL, as below:
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://www.domain.com/desktop-page/”/>
4. Optimize your meta tags and find the right keywords
The on-page optimization is vital for your mobile site, so you should align with the best practices when it comes to meta tags. The meta title should not overpass the 55 characters and the meta description should be up to 115 characters. And a special tip for you, don’t forget to implement Schema.org structured data to allow the proportionally large space rich snippets.
One quick way to brainstorm meta tags for your mobile website is to perform a keyword research with the Google Keyword Planner. In this way, you take advantage of potential new keywords ideas, Mobile Trends and a “Breakdown by Device,” which will help you check mobile search volume and trends over time.
5. Ensure your mobile site’s index and usability
Create a separate Google webmaster tools profile for your mobile site, verify it along with its mobile xml sitemap and improve in this way its search appearance. The Google Webmaster Tool will bring you all the data for your mobile site, as soon as you also link it to your Google Analytics profile. Then, ensure that all touch elements are being properly displayed, the font size is readable and all the button easily clickable via the “Mobile-Friendly” Test. Last but not least, don’t neglect to check the page load speed of your mobile site as it can significantly affect the usability and the quality of the user experience.
To sum up
Mobile is a hot topic in SEO nowadays. Once you have launched your mobile website, you need to follow all the above tips to ensure mobile SEO success for your website so as to make sure your site shows up in search engine mobile results the way it should be.
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