The significant growth of global search volume has been accelerated by the increasing use of mobile devices including: smartphones, iPads, and an array of new Tablets.
For the first time, Google has also publicly confirmed that mobile optimization is a ranking factor for mobile search results. There are two things webmasters need to consider: #1.) Responsive Site Design for mobile, and #2.) Addressing common errors which have been plaguing smartphone search results.
Responsive Site Design
The principal recommendation from Google is to utilize Responsive Design for your website. Essentially, this design practice provides that the same website will be rendered well across multiple devices, rather than having a separate mobile site for mobile devices.
If you are going to have multiple sites to serve up the same content, ensure that you have dynamic targeting of HTML based on the device, or stick to operating what has become the traditional desktop/mobile site setup. With Responsive Design, it makes a great deal of sense to stick to one site that works across all devices. Note: there will be instances where the experience isn’t perfect even with responsive design, (although, increasingly rarer in the near future).
Google has also provided a great video that helps address common challenges many site owners and web developers need to consider as they look to improve their current site experiences utilizing responsive design:
Smartphone errors are a pain point for mobile SEO, and there are two common mistakes you can readily tackle to cure your site.
First, faulty redirects to the homepage of the mobile site are a big issue. When a user finds a sub-page they are interested in, any redirect should take them straight to the relevant sub-page on the mobile site and NOT to the mobile homepage which is a common configuration.
The second issue for a fast fix is the “Smartphone-Only Error” where a user hits a result in the mobile search listings, only to be told there is nothing there and an error returned. Check your listings and ensure they get the user to the page in the SERPs from multiple devices, and specifically Smartphones.
If your business has invested in search engine optimization, and therefore, optimally structured your website for the engines – you’re likely one step ahead because the On-Page Set-up remains equally as important for the mobile search experience, as it does on a traditional laptop/desktop setting.
Google’s acknowledgement that Mobile optimization is a ranking factor highlights the increasingly important segment of search engine optimization across all screens.
Engage with your site’s developer to ensure that you’re exploring all aspects of Responsive Design into the current version, or next version of your site.
Tackle mobile configuration errors as these are common and can negatively impact your site experience on mobile devices. Typically, these fixes are fast and should be considered to help rankings.
Google published a comprehensive overview that includes a set of detailed recommendations to ensure your site is crawled/indexed well for mobile – following is a very helpful link: