Tips to Help You Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

Mobile Search is constantly on the rise.  As more and more people purchase smart phones and as smartphones get more and more powerful, mobile search has become a very big focus for many companies. Whether you are a local business or service the nation/world, you should consider how mobile search can affect your business.

Mobile Search Evolves

In the early years of mobile search, feature phones had a wap browser that generally delivered very low bandwidth pages of a company’s site- usually just text.  However, as smartphones appeared, browsing the web and viewing the web become a more and more robust experience.  Today, many smartphones or mobile devices such as the iPad deliver web pages exactly or close to exactly as one would view them from a home computer or laptop.  I don’t want to give you an entire history, but today with so many types of devices and ways to access the web, what we traditionally considered mobile search has changed.  Some people don’t consider searching the web at home from their iPad a mobile experience- but search may deliver different results than if you searched from a laptop from an access point.  The same thing is true about browsing the web from your laptop at home or on the road through a wireless stick.

When on a Mobile Device- Results Tend to Serve Up More Local Listings

Generally speaking, if you are on an Android phone- which Google can easily determine your location with, local listings will usually be served up first.  Since Google generally knows your location, these listings will be served up usually from the center of your radius going outwards.  If you are looking for a pizzeria in Houston and you are on the southwest of town, your results will reflect your location.

Google Places

This is a good time to suggest that those companies with a physical location in a specific neighborhood sign up for their Google Places account.  Creating and optimizing a Map account with the big 3 search engines can be one of the most important ways to market your brand to your local community.  Google’s access to your map account and the information within it can be extremely helpful when it serves up listings to mobile users.

Focus on Speed

Another way to grow your mobile reach is to focus on the speed of loading your web pages for mobile users.  Even the newest smartphones generally take longer to load web pages than most desktop and laptop computers.  As you probably already know, it can be quite frustrating waiting for a page to load and many visitors simply give up after only a few seconds.  If you are trying to target mobile users, definitely look into ways of making your web pages load quicker. This might include reducing the amount of images per page or at least compressing your images down and looking at the size of your web pages.  Cutting a few seconds off of a load is quite doable for many websites.

Ease of Use and Navigation

When using one thumb, it can be tough to navigate a website, make your site as easy as possible to navigate for those using mobile devices.  This means that making text easy to spot and click on.  Sometimes bunching up lots of links together can spell doom for someone with a fat thumb.  In addition, make fields where one enters information larger so a visitor can easily tap on the field and enter info.  If you created a mobile website, give the option to the visitor of viewing the original website- sometimes search engines have a hard time distinguishing what device should see a normal or mobile website.

Make it Easy for Visitors to Store Your Website’s Information

Bookmark icons, Facebook and Twitter icons can be extremely helpful for those on mobile devices.  This way they can just click on the icon and have all of your information easily accessible.

Mobile Users now make up a huge amount of search daily.  While those that search with smartphones might have different patterns of search compared to home, laptop and iPad device users (ie: quick chats with friends and family, looking up reports on weather/traffic and finding businesses in the vicinity of their location, it does pay to take the time to optimize your site for this group of potential visitors.

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