Guess what? In early October 2015, Google reiterated that mobile searches already account for more than half of all the searches made across the globe.
Think about that. More than half. Think it's time to get mobile on mobile? You're right.
This does not mean that desktop searches, including those done using tablets, have lowered. In fact, their overall number has risen steadily month by month. This just means that the Internet-sphere is going through a sea of changes.
You should also know that there is a great divide between the factors in ranking for desktop and mobile search. Therefore, you need to set in place strategies for your web pages that will enable them to rank highly in search results -- especially for mobile.
Searchmetrics’ Mobile Ranking Factors
Just recently, our friends at Searchmetrics came out with their first ever study on Mobile Ranking Factors. It gave amazing insights into the different kinds of strategies and tactics to achieve good rankings in mobile search. The research looked into web pages with the highest mobile search rankings and took into consideration the difference between mobile and search rankings to come up with the most important factors needed for mobile optimisation.
Searchmetrics also based their study on Google’s announcement of the “Mobilegeddon” update in April 2015, which highlighted “mobile-friendliness” as a substantial factor for ranking in mobile search results. The company stated that of the top 100 domains, 90 percent have recently been found to be mobile friendly already.
However, for your website to be called mobile friendly, you have to ensure that the elements required for this are top-notch. Which should be your focus? Lucky you! The gang here at Kryptonite Digital has created a cheat sheet!
As mobile devices usually have limited bandwidth and are smaller in screen size, you can be sure that technical issues are among the most crucial factors in ranking for mobile search, like these:
- Keywords in Domain Name. Since Google released the Exact Match Domain or EMD update in 2012, using keywords in domain names has lowered substantially. This means that for domain selection, you should focus on branding instead of on certain keywords.
- Site Speed. Web pages that place on the top ten ranks of search results have an average loading time of only 1.01 seconds. If you want to ensure that your site is loading at below 2 seconds, then you have to optimise your pages by using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.
- Flash. You might want to consider losing Flash. It's becoming obsolete since the release of mobile SERPs and Mobilegeddon last year. If you want your content to be displayed properly in both desktop and mobile search, then you have to transition from Flash to HTML5 as soon as you can. We can help with that.
Content won’t be giving up its reign any time soon. Based on the study conducted by Searchmetrics, it's still the most important driver for both desktop and mobile search results. Below you have some of the vital factors needed for creating and optimising content for mobile:
- Keyword Usage. From 2.7 in 2014 to 5.48 in 2015, keyword usage for content has dramatically increased. However, this figure is still lower compared to desktop’s average of 10.22. This means that you still need to be sparse in infusing keywords into your mobile content.
- Word Count. Shorter is better. However, it should still be long enough to provide full topic coverage. In 2015, the average word count for mobile registered at 868, while desktop was noted to have been 1,285. Keep it simple.
- Proof Terms. Web pages that rank well in mobile search continue their use of words related to their keywords or what are also known as proof terms.
You won’t have any problem in infusing these terms into your content if you always make sure that a topic is given extensive coverage.
- Flesch Readability. Your pages will rank higher in SERPs if they present content that is a little bit more complex than those offered on desktop pages. However, the readability level for both mobile and desktop is only at a mid-70s level. As a brand manager, marketer or business owner, make sure your content passes the standard readability score.
Making sure you offer exceptional user experience is a challenge for mobile because of the usual size of the devices available. Deal with it! Here are website features that could help you rank better in mobile search:
- Images. In mobile SERPs, you will note that web pages ranking at the top usually just have an average of not more than four images for every page versus the nine found on most desktop page. Limit the number of photos on your web pages and make sure that they are optimised for speedy loading time.
- Internal Links. Even if mobile content’s average number of internal links has risen continually, it is still substantially lower than the links in desktop content. So, it is best if you only use links that are really relevant to your topics and spread them all throughout your content to make it easier for mobile users to click on them.
- Unordered Lists. Content on mobile pages that rank high in search results contain more unordered lists than those found on desktop. So, make sure you have only a few numbered or bulleted lists. This will make your mobile content more “scannable”.
The factors mentioned above are among the most vital if you wish to rank well in mobile search results. However, there are still a couple more you need to know about and they are:
- High Search Rankings Are Linked with Strong Social Signals. According to Searchmetrics’ study, there is a solid association between social signals and search result rankings. This means that content ranking high in SERPs usually show a considerable number of social media shares.
- The Significance of Inbound Links Seem to be on a Decline. Because desktop pages contain more links than mobile, Searchmetrics arrived at a conclusion that perhaps link importance is going on a decline. The reason behind this could possibly be the convenience mobile content provides when it comes to social sharing as compared to spreading content through using direct links.
Although there is no cut and dried formula for ranking high in mobile search results, the factors found by Searchmetrics are filled with excellent tips. If you need a big brain to sort this out for you, drop us a line.