Mobile optimization

Minutes well spent


Table of contents

What is mobile optimization?

Instead of sitting at a desk in front of a large PC to research information, many users are increasingly using mobile devices, such as the tablet or smartphone, to get necessary information from the comfort of their couch or bed. Mobile optimization is a measure that optimally displays web content on mobile devices (smartphone, tablet, etc.). The requirements for mobile users and mobile devices are different than for desktop users. Therefore, it is even more important that the special guidelines of website operators are taken into account. 


Important differences in the display on computers and smartphones

  • Size of the display: Mobile screens are significantly smaller.
  • Horizontal vs. vertical: Mobile displays are vertically oriented, whereas a desktop is horizontally oriented.
  • Input option: While you usually use a touchscreen when accessing web pages on a smartphone, you need a mouse on a desktop.
  • Internet connection: Using it on the go can often cause the Internet connection to suffer.


Why not disregard optimizing websites for mobile devices?

Mobile devices are being used more and more frequently for surfing the Internet, so the use of these devices (e.g., smartphone or tablet) is rising continuously. Mobile Internet use is becoming more and more popular, especially due to the further development of technology. With 5G alone, surfing via a mobile terminal is becoming even more popular. By comparison, more than 50% of all page impressions worldwide were made via a mobile device in 2017. 

An appropriate and responsive presentation of your site and a complete and meaningful usability on a smartphone will set you apart from your competitors. Google has already become aware of this trend as well, which is why mobile optimization has been elevated to an important ranking factor by Google - according to the corporation, the mobile search index has already become the main index (mobile first). Since Google prefers certain pages that work well on mobile for local searches, mobile optimization is very important for industries such as restaurants, local stores, bars, etc. 

At the latest now you will surely realize that the mobile optimization of your website is simply inevitable.

Mobile = important ranking factor for Google

Due to the new ranking factor "mobile friendly", Google already adjusted its algorithm accordingly in 2015. Shortly thereafter, many website operators suffered ranking losses - and thus inquiries and sales - because their site was not responsive and mobile-optimized. With the Mobile First Index, Google uses information found on the mobile version of a website to compile search results. This means that all websites with a mobile version for these end devices are now given preference. 



Types of mobile optimization

If you now want to optimize your site for mobile, there are basically 3 options available to you. Let's go into the individual options together:

Responsive design

Responsive means in web design that the HTML code and the URL of the website remain the same for all devices, only the content automatically adapts to the respective screen size of the end devices. This option is also liked and recommended by Google. Unfortunately, not all content can be arbitrarily adapted to different display sizes. This is because it is very difficult to ensure that all content can be adapted to every screen without loss. With the help of media queries in CSS, the display of the page can be defined depending on the screen size.

Mobile website version

If you don't want to take the risk of losing content, there is also the simple option of creating a separate mobile version of your website, which also has its own URL and can be accessed via it. So when users access your website via mobile devices, they will be redirected to the mobile version - the whole thing is supported by HTTP redirects. Unfortunately, this alternative can cause problems with  Duplicate Content cause. With an "alternate" tag on the desktop version and a canonical tag on the mobile version, this problem can be avoided.

Dynamic Serving

And last but not least, there is the third option, which is called Dynamic Serving. It delivers different HTML and CSS codes depending on which user is detected. Basically, in this case, the mobile website is a stripped-down version of your actual website. Since the error rate in identifying the user is very high, this method is rather not recommended or should be done by IT experts.


Other requirements for a mobile view

As mentioned above, the speed of your website is an important parameter of mobile optimization, this can be optimized by reducing the amount of data to be transferred - for example, by minimizing CSS and JavaScript files. To reduce loading time, you should also use fewer images for the mobile version. Images that are nevertheless published on the mobile website should at least be compressed (reduced in size). When using sound recordings, videos or other elements, decide wisely if you really want to include them.

Another important mobile optimization requirement is to adapt the menu to smaller display sizes. It's best to do away with hero headers.

Furthermore, you can check whether the font size is set in such a way that it is also readable on smaller displays of smaller devices. Last but not least, you should of course pay attention to user-friendliness - ask yourself the following questions: Why do users want to access the content? Which functions are relevant for them?

If you want to achieve better visibility of your site, the blog article. "SEO Marketing" will be helpful for you. If you're new to search engine optimization, we're happy to help you from the ground up with our blog article "What is SEO?"


So how do you know your website is mobile friendly?

To find out if your website is now mobile friendly optimized, Google offers two helpful tools:

Google Search Console - Test for optimization for mobile devices

With this tool you have the possibility to check how easy it is to use a website on mobile devices and it provides you with a list of found problems. By means of a screenshot, you get an image that shows how the website is currently displayed on mobile devices.

PageSpeed Insights

PageSpeed Insights measures the loading speed of a URL. You get an analysis of the speed of a website on different devices and also get tips on how to optimize the loading speed. Any URL can be checked with this tool.


What mistakes should be avoided at all costs?

Optimizing websites for mobile devices (e.g. smartphones) is not only relevant for Google, but also for smartphone users. You should avoid the following mistakes at all costs:

The web page loads too long

As mentioned several times, website speed is one of the most important aspects of mobile optimization. The website must load completely within the shortest possible time (usually less than 2 seconds). Because in the worst case, users will switch to the competition, where the content loads faster.

Info icon comma99 Good to know: With lazy loading, the content that the user sees first is loaded first.

Overlapping elements cannot be clicked with the finger

Make sure there is appropriate spacing between clickable elements. Since mobile websites are operated almost exclusively with the fingers, it is tedious if the wrong button is selected by mistake.

Poor "skimming" due to too long sentences

Reading and understanding the content is much more difficult for a user on a small display. Therefore, pay attention to the mobile view already during the text creation. Since mobile users are often in a hurry, the text should be structured sensibly with headings, paragraphs, bulleted lists, etc. - this formatting makes it possible to "skim" or "scan" the text and get all the important info. Here you can find our super helpful blog article on how to create your ideal SEO Text  can write.

Fancy fonts are often difficult to read on mobile devices

Even if certain fonts look super fancy and unique - please leave them alone! Such fonts are often difficult to read on mobile devices and therefore uninteresting for the user. In the worst case, the searcher switches to the competitor, as he is more likely to get the desired information there.

The font is too small or too large

You've probably already experienced that a font size that is too small quickly becomes exhausting, but a font that is too large can also quickly become overwhelming. The optimal font size therefore plays an important role for the problem-free comprehension of texts. It is best to choose a font size of at least 16 pixels. 

The contact details are hard to find

Since mobile search is often a quick search and in most cases people often search for addresses or phone numbers, you should definitely make sure that this information is easy to find on your website. Ideally, your phone number should already be found in the header area - also consider that a clickable phone number only brings advantages. This way, the number doesn't have to be typed out first, but can be tapped immediately.


Conclusion: How important is mobile optimization really?

As you can see, a mobile optimization of your website is inevitable. Many users now only use their cell phones to search in search engines. However, you should not disregard the desktop view of your website. Just because the mobile view is important for Google, many smartphone users still prefer the PC for more intensive searches. Read our blog article on the perfect Customer Journey and learn how to optimize your site so that the user is fully satisfied with his search.

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