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Mobile Friendly Website Guide

SEO Mobile-friendly Website Guide and How to Make Google Love Your Mobile Website

James Gibbons
Mobile friendly website guide

Today, because of mobile, the Internet is where people buy products, services, and goods. Others use it to conduct business and find information on almost any imaginable topic. But where do most of the surfing happen? On your mobile devices!

Globally, mobile traffic accounts for about half of all web traffic, according to Statista's research. The second quarter of 2022 saw mobile devices (excluding tablets) generate 58.99 percent of global website traffic. It has consistently hovered around the 50 percent mark since the beginning of 2017 before surpassing it permanently in 2020.

The statistics above clearly highlight that if you have a website, it needs to be mobile-compatible to keep up with demand. It's not just about creating an SEO mobile-friendly website. Your SEO and SERPs also benefit from your site being mobile-friendly.

In our blog, learn how to make your website more SEO mobile-friendly. Doing so improves your ranking on search engines.

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Mobile-friendly Website Defined

A mobile friendly website benefits users by allowing them to view and navigate its content from handheld devices such as smartphones, flip phones, and tablets. The layout of your webpage will adjust according to the device's screen size. Most of these websites are easy to navigate and have a simplified format optimized for small screens.

Moreover, a mobile friendly websites are designed to load quickly in a matter of seconds, no matter the network connection, so that users don't have to wait long periods to view a page. These websites are also optimized to ensure users get a consistent experience from the website regardless of the device they are using. Finally, mobile friendly websites are designed to help optimize your search engine rankings and drive more users to your site.

Essential Features of a Mobile Responsive Website

There are a few essential features that all mobile responsive websites should have. These include 

1. A simplified layout that is easy to navigate

Your website's layout should be easy to navigate, regardless of the device. All critical content should be easily discoverable, and buttons and links should be easy to press.

2. Optimized for smaller screens

The website text size should be mobile-friendly and keep images or other multimedia to a minimum (and not be distracting).

3. Responsive Design

A responsive design is a must for any mobile-compatible website. The website should automatically adjust its layout based on the device's screen size.

Responsive Design v/s Mobile-friendly Website

Responsive design changes the entire website's layout based on the screen size. At the same time, mobile-friendly websites feature a simplified layout optimized for smaller screens.

Mobile friendly website v/s Responsive Design
Mobile-friendly Website v/s Responsive Design

A responsive website is mobile-first. It automatically resizes the image, scrolling, and content to fit the device. For example, the desktop version will pop up if you use a laptop. The mobile version will pop up if you use a mobile phone

Mobile-optimized sites, however, have different features. Instead, it is still the same desktop version but restructured to fit a smaller screen. A mobile adaptive website is a better option if you want to keep the original design of your website.

Mobile-friendly Website & SEO

Google understands the importance of a mobile friendly website when it comes to ranking higher in search results. As such, it is essential to ensure that websites are optimized for mobile devices, so visitors can easily access and understand them. Doing so can lead to improved search engine rankings and an enhanced overall user experience.

A search engine’s view of a mobile website differs significantly from a desktop site. It is mainly due to the differences in how users interact with a website on a desktop instead of a mobile device. On a desktop, a user can easily view a website in its entirety, with all of its content, images, and videos. On a mobile device, this is not always the case. Thus, search engines consider how the website is optimized for a mobile user when indexing it. It includes loading speed, page layout, and page structure. 

For example, a website optimized for mobile often displays its content in a single-column layout to improve readability. It will also place the most relevant content near the top of the page so that mobile users can easily find what they want. Additionally, a mobile friendly website will consider the size of a mobile device’s screen when displaying content, images, and videos. It means that a mobile friendly website will be designed to make the important content visible without the user having to zoom in or scroll around a page. 

Having a mobile friendly website is necessary for improved SEO performance. You can keep your readers longer, improve your conversion rate, and increase website traffic. Search engine algorithms have shifted to prioritize optimized sites for mobile users. It means that if a website is optimized for mobile, it will improve search engine rankings. Thus, having a website that is optimized for mobile can significantly improve its SEO performance.

Why is a Mobile Adaptive Website Important for SEO?

A mobile adaptive website is essential for SEO because it will make it easier for users to find your website using a handheld device. Google has stated that they are now using a mobile-friendly approach as a factor in their search rankings. If your website is not mobile responsive, you could lose traffic and business to your competitors.

Your users and your search engine optimization (SEO) depend on the layout of your website. An easy-to-navigate site with mobile SEO will keep your visitors on your site for longer. Naturally, it will help your site rank higher in search engine results (SERPs).

Google announced in April 2015 that they would use mobile-friendly website design as a factor in their mobile search ranking algorithm. With more people using their mobile devices to search for information, this change has significantly affected website rankings.

Your website must have a mobile, responsive design to rank high in Google's search results.

Making your website mobile-friendly is possible in several ways. The simplest way is to use a responsive design, which adapts to the device's size. Alternatively, you can create a separate mobile-friendly SEO website using a plugin to make your website automatically responsive.

If your website is not mobile and responsive, you will likely see a decrease in traffic from mobile devices. Many people use their portable devices to search for information. You will lose revenue and growth if they can't find you on those devices. To ensure your website is as visible as possible to potential customers, design your site with a mobile-friendly approach for mobile devices.

How to Check If Your Website is Mobile-friendly?

Many mobile-friendly testing tools help you check if your website is mobile-friendly. Some of the most popular ones include Google's Mobile-Friendly Test, MOZ's Sprout, and W3's Mobile-Friendly Test. In most cases, you will be able to find the result instantly. If your website fails to meet the criteria, you can start working to make your web page mobile friendly.

Let us look at how to test your website with Google's Mobile-Friendly Test. To use this tool, visit Google's Mobile-Friendly Test website and enter the URL of your website. Alternatively, you can also join the code snippet of your web page and test the same for mobile-friendliness. Hover over to the 'code' section for the same.

Mobile friendly website test by Google
Free Mobile-friendly website test by Google

The tool will analyze your website and determine if it is mobile-friendly. If it is not, then the device will recommend steps to optimize your website for mobile.

Top Reasons Your Website Failed the Mobile-friendly Test

Some top reasons websites fail the mobile-friendly test include the following:

1. Using Incompatible Plugins: Plugins not designed to be mobile-friendly, such as Flash and Silverlight, can cause pages to fail mobile-friendly tests. It is because they are not supported on mobile devices or not optimized for a mobile experience. 

2. Viewport Not Set: The viewport is a meta tag that helps websites adjust to the dimensions of different devices. If a viewport is not set, the website will not automatically adjust to the device's size, leading to a failed test. Many mobile-friendly tests require that the viewport be set to "device-width" for the website to adjust to the device properly. 

3. Content Wider Than Screen: If the website's content is wider than the device's screen, it can be challenging to read and navigate. Thus it will affect the user experience, and Google might fail your website for mobile-friendly tests.

4. Text Too Small to Read: Your website might fail the mobile-friendly test if the text is too small to read; it can be challenging to comprehend the page's content.

5. Clickable Elements Too Close Together: If clickable elements are too close, it can be difficult to accurately click on a desired button, leading to a failed test.

6. Blocking CSS or JavaScript Resources: The problem with blocking images, CSS, and JavaScript resources from search engine bots is that the search engines need these elements to render a mobile site correctly. Blocking them means the search engine cannot accurately see how the site would look on a mobile device. It means that a site is less likely to pass a mobile friendly test because the search engine bots cannot accurately render the page.

7. The website uses too much Flash or JavaScript: Some websites use too much Flash or JavaScript, making them difficult to view or use on mobile devices.

All these issues are fixable. Some ways in which you can optimize your website for mobile-friendliness include:

1. Make your website responsive to adjust to the device's screen size.

2. Minimize the use of Flash and JavaScript.

3. There is a need to increase the font size on your website.

Why Your Website Needs a Mobile Version?

Let's now learn how to make a mobile-friendly webpage now that we know what a mobile, responsive website is. We will also discuss why it is so significant from an SEO standpoint.

If your site does not pass the mobile-friendly test, you have two options to make a mobile version of your website. One way is to create a separate mobile website. Another way is to create a responsive design for your website. With a responsive design, your website will automatically adjust to the device's screen size.

To create a separate mobile website, you must create an independent website designed explicitly for mobile devices. You will need to create a different layout and design for the mobile website, and you will need to create separate pages for mobile devices. The mobile website should be accessible from all mobile devices, and the pages should be easy to navigate.

You must create a style sheet to create a responsive design for your website. The style sheet will tell how your website adjusts to the size of the device screen. You will need to create a separate style sheet for mobile devices, and you will need to make sure that it links to the style sheet on your website. The style sheet should be easy to access, and it should be compatible with all mobile devices.

10 Easy Ways to Make your Website Mobile Responsive

mobile friendly website SEO checklist
Mobile-friendly Website SEO checklist

1. Use Responsive Design and Layout

A responsive layout is the most popular way to design a mobile website. Responsive design will automatically adjust the layout and size of the website to fit the device screen size. It's made using a combination of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Google announced that mobile-friendly websites would rank better in search engine results pages, so having a mobile-friendly website boosts a website's SEO value. Google prefers indexing and ranking websites that have mobile adaptive websites. If you do not have one, you negatively affect your SERP rankings.

You can use a mobile website template if you don't want to create a responsive design for your website. Templates are pre-made responsive designs that you can use for your website. Many templates are available, and most are free to use.

When designing a website for mobile users, it is essential to remember that mobile phones display content in both Landscape and Portrait orientations. Therefore, ensuring the website looks and functions properly in both orientations is imperative, without any UI distortion or glitches. It can be easily checked by testing the website on real devices. Ensuring the website is optimized correctly for both orientations may require extra effort on the developer's part. However, it is worth it for a better experience for mobile users.

2. Optimize Website Page Speed for Mobile

Most web users conduct searches on mobile devices, as we established previously. According to Google's mobile search behavior study, 53% of visitors abandon a mobile-friendly website layout if it takes over three seconds to load.

While page speed optimization efforts are essential site-wide, the above statistic highlights how crucial it is to provide a good page speed for all mobile-friendly layouts.

Page speed is a critical factor for website rankings, and optimizing your website for mobile can be a great way to improve your page speed. To increase your website's page speed, you can minimize images, use caching, and optimize your code.

Please read our page speed optimization guide to know more.

3. Simplify and Reduce Clutter

Another mobile-friendly approach to making your website responsive is simplifying the design and layout. Mobile users will navigate the website more easily. You can do this by reducing the clutter on the page, avoiding large chunks of text, and reducing image sizes.

Users typically look for quick answers on mobile, so your website copy should be short and sweet. The faster users find the information they are looking for, the more likely they will stay on your website.

Another way to make your website more mobile responsive is to use fonts that are easy to read on mobile devices. You can do this by using big and easy-to-read fonts and avoiding using ones that are difficult to read on small screens.

4. Small Image Size & Compressed CSS files

Another way to convert your site to mobile, improve website speed, and make it mobile-friendly is by using small image sizes and compressed CSS files. Small images help reduce your website's file size, improving page speed on mobile devices.

Images should be lazy-loaded and have small file sizes. It becomes even more important on mobile as users are typically on slower network connections and smaller screen sizes.

You can use TinyPNG and CSS Compressor to compress images and CSS files.

5. Optimize Videos for Mobile Websites

Users increasingly watch videos on their mobile devices. In fact, according to a study by Cisco, video traffic will account for 80% of all global internet traffic by 2019. Hence, you need to optimize your videos for mobile devices.

You can do this using a tool like JW Player's video player for mobile. It will automatically optimize your videos for all mobile devices, including iOS and Android. It will adjust the video layout to fit the screen size and use optimal compression.

6. Mobile-Friendly Website Navigation

Another critical aspect of making your website mobile-friendly is to make the website navigation easy to use on mobile devices.

Mobile menu navigation should be cleaner and simple than desktop or tablet since the screen size is small. A user should have ample space to click on a button or between different parts of the website.

You do not want users clicking by mistake or feeling frustrated because they can't find information. Some mobile website best practices to remember for mobile adaptive website menu navigation are:

1. Use drop-down menus instead of nested menus

2. Place frequently used menu items at the top of the menu

3. Use clear labels for menu items

4. Keep menu items short and to the point

7. Avoid Flash or Too Many Pop-Ups on Mobile

Using Flash will cause a poor user experience. It's common to use Flash to create animations. However, it is ideal o avoid Flash since mobile devices rarely support it.

Similarly, too many pop-ups on a website can overwhelm and annoy users on mobile devices. Before users even see your website, pop-ups can make them leave.

Users shouldn't encounter sudden pop-ups when browsing web content, especially on mobile devices. The X mark (to close the pop-up) is sometimes not even visible, adding to the users' frustration.

Designers and developers should display advertising subtly. An irrelevant pop-up can turn your prospects into irate customers, resulting in lower mobile conversions.

8. Add Viewport Meta Tag

The viewport meta tag is added to the head section and will tell mobile devices how to display the website.

If you are not using a responsive design, you can add the viewport meta tag to tell mobile devices how to display the website, making it easier to navigate and view on mobile devices.

You can use the code to define each web page's meta elements:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">

9. Optimize Button Sizes and Link Placement

Optimizing button sizing and placement for mobile websites will make it easier for users to navigate. You can do this by making the buttons bigger and placing them in an easy-to-access location.

The buttons on your website should be big enough to be easily accessible and clickable on mobile devices. The options are on a page or in the sidebar.

For link placement, space them out. Avoid placing links close to each other or immediately after each other.

10. Optimize Forms for a Mobile-friendly Website

When filling up forms, people hate to type on a small screen. In fact, according to research, 81% of people would instead use a touch screen then type on a small screen. It is, thus, vital to optimize your forms for mobile devices. So with forms, shorten them and only ask what you need.

Long forms on mobile create a long scroll and frustrate users. They may abandon your page, and you will miss the chance to capture a lead. People are impatient and would want to fill in the shortest form and hit submit. So keep the form short and sweet and only ask for essential information.

Test Regularly & Continue Optimizing for Mobile

Having a mobile-friendly website is critical in digital marketing. Having a website with excellent content and design is no longer enough. A well-designed mobile website is essential. Mobile responsive websites are not just preferred by users but also by search engines.

The best way to ensure your website is mobile adaptive is to test it regularly on different mobile devices. By testing frequently, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes accordingly. You can use various tools to test your website on mobile devices, such as the Google Mobile-Friendly Test.

The Quattr platform can also help you optimize your website to be mobile-friendly. The tool is handy for domains with millions of websites where it is even more critical to have mobile responsive pages rank on SERPs. Quattr tests your entire domain for mobile UX design errors within the usability recommendations. We prioritize our recommendations based on the number of clicks a page receives so that you know which pages to prioritize for mobile optimization.

Mobile-friendly website checks in Quattr
Mobile-friendly website checks in Quattr

You should also keep track of the latest mobile trends and changes to optimize your website for mobile devices. Technology and user behavior are constantly evolving, so you need to be adaptable to keep up.

Check if you have a Mobile-friendly website with Quattr

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Mobile Friendly Website FAQs

What is Mobile-friendly in Website SEO?

Mobile-friendly website SEO is a set of strategies used to optimize a website to be indexed and ranked correctly by search engines, making it easier for users to access content on mobile devices. It includes using a mobile-friendly site design, optimizing content for faster loading on mobile devices, implementing meta tags and page titles optimized for mobile search, and using an HTTPS connection for secure data transmission.

How to know if a Website is Mobile-friendly?

You can test your website using Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if it is mobile-friendly. This tool checks the page loading speed and sizes of the page elements, as well as other factors, such as the use of text instead of images and the presence of viewport meta tags, to assess the overall mobile-friendliness of a website.

How to Make a Website SEO Mobile-friendly?

To make a website mobile-friendly, use responsive web design and optimize page loading speed by reducing image sizes, using compressed files, and caching resources. Optimize meta tags, page titles, and content for mobile search, use structured data, and improve core web vital scores. Lastly, optimize the website for voice search and ensure the content is compatible with all screen sizes.

About The Author

James Gibbons

James Gibbons is the Senior Customer Success Manager at Quattr. He has 10 years of experience in SEO and has worked with multiple agencies, brands, and B2B companies. He has helped clients scale organic and paid search presence to find hidden growth opportunities. James writes about all aspects of SEO: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO.

About Quattr

Quattr is an innovative and fast-growing venture-backed company based in Palo Alto, California USA. We are a Delaware corporation that has raised over $7M in venture capital. Quattr's AI-first platform evaluates like search engines to find opportunities across content, experience, and discoverability. A team of growth concierge analyze your data and recommends the top improvements to make for faster organic traffic growth. Growth-driven brands trust Quattr and are seeing sustained traffic growth.

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