Mobile’s Impact on the SEO Business
Smartphones and tablets are changing the way people shop online. While there’s been an obvious shift from e-commerce to m-commerce in recent years, 2017 was a real game-changer. Now almost 64% of Internet users in the United States have purchased products through a mobile device, up from a quarter in 2012.
But what does this mean for SEO?
Well, it means that you must optimize your website for mobile. And if you haven’t already done so, you’ve probably already lost out on some revenue.
Google Is Launching a Mobile-Only Index
Not only will Google be implementing a mobile-only index, they will be using it as their primary index. Desktop has become secondary for most Internet users, having less than 50% of the world’s traffic share. People behave differently when browsing the web via a mobile device and Google recognizes that; therefore, having a separate index that can benefit the user’s platform simply makes sense.
Voice Search Is Gaining Prominence
A big part of mobile optimization that’s often overlooked is the importance of optimizing for voice search. Widespread popularity of personal assistants has led to a 35x increase in voice queries since 2008, and now, voice search has a 20% share of all searches. Voice searches differ from written searches in that they use natural language, which often is less formal and longer than typed queries. To accommodate limitations with previous SEO methods, Google has even increased the permissible title length on web pages.
Linkless Backlinking Is Real
For decades, the quantity and quality of backlinks have determined the trust and quality of a website. For the first time in Internet history, this approach could change. Duane Forrester, former senior product manager of Bing, has already confirmed that Bing incorporates unlinked mentions into their ranking criteria. And many SEO experts believe Google might be doing the same, and that this approach could have even greater weight when the mobile-only index is finally implemented.
Page Speed Is Very Important
The importance of page speed and a clean website code is nothing new; however, it’s unignorably more important when users are looking for quick answers. And what do people do when they’re looking for quick answers? Get out their mobile, of course! If you aren’t using the PageSpeed Insights tool to assess how fast your pages are loading, start using it to get your website into the two-to-three second time bracket.
Mobile Usability Is Crucial
Getting people on your website is just one step of the marketing process. In the long term you want people to engage with your content and come back again. Don’t neglect the design of your website. If people need to pinch-zoom, hit the wrong navigation button, or confuse any of the touch elements of your website, there’s room for improvement.
According to eMarketer, if current trends continue, mobile’s share of U.S. e-commerce spending will exceed 50% by 2021. You can’t afford to get left behind. Pre-empting changes will reduce future damage and keep you on the right track. Fundamentally, mobile optimization does provide a competitive advantage—one that will increase significantly in the coming years, so you must prepare for it!