Mobile SEO - Everything You Need to Know (Part 2) - Being Useful

Written by James Wardleworth - 28 Feb 2019

Welcome to part two of our Mobile SEO series. Across this series of three blog posts, we’re sharing our top tips on what makes a successful mobile SEO strategy for your business.

Here’s a rundown of what they’ll cover:

Part One: How to make your brand discoverable.

No business likes to play hide and seek, so part one is all about how to make sure you can be found on mobile when your customers are actively searching for you.

ICYMI, catch up here.

Part Two: How to be useful to your audience 

In this post, we look at how to provide the greatest value to your audience, making sure the mobile content and experience is useful and directly answers their needs. It’s all very well showing up in Google but if the experience on your site doesn’t match the expectation users had when they clicked through, they’ll soon be off to a site that does!

Part Three: How to measure your mobile success (coming soon)

Stay tuned for part three where we explore how to set up the correct tracking to measure your mobile site, with mobile-specific dashboards in Google Analytics, tips on how to best monitor site engagement, and what to do with the data gathered to improve your mobile strategy.

Ready? Let’s learn how to make your brand useful on mobile

The culture of mobile is driven by three things: immediacy, relevance and speed. If your brand is to succeed on mobile, your content and onsite experience needs to balance all three.

According to Ofcom’s 2018 report 78% of all UK adults own a smartphone, and 62% of time spent on the internet is on mobile. As far as your users are concerned, it’s no longer acceptable to allow slow loading times or non-useful content formats block their journey. Patience is not a value held by today’s connected population.

Users have whatever information they need on demand 24/7, in the palm of their hand. This age of immediacy has created a culture of impatience, which means immediacy, relevance and speed has never been more important.

If you want your customers to progress along their journey to purchase – you have to be useful right away, with simple, beautifully optimised content that’s catered specifically to mobile, reducing steps for a customer to achieve their goals.

On mobile, less is more – and how do you get it right?

1. Answer your mobile user’s needs.

What does this mean?

Put simply, your content must answer the questions the user is asking in that moment. If they’re out on the bike have snapped chain, do they want a long list of instructions on how to fix it, or a short video clip showing them the physical steps?

This principal doesn’t just apply to mobile search, but user needs differ depending on the device they’re using, so it’s key to take this into account and answer those needs accordingly.

Why is it important?

Answering mobile user needs in the correct format is a must. Remember, if you don’t a competitor will.

Providing answers in a useful format means your customers will develop an affinity to your brand, and build trust, authority and understanding between the two of you. We’ve all got our favourite apps, most read websites, our go-to source for learning – we choose these because these brands understand and cater exactly to our needs.

In short – they make it easy for us to consume their content and continue along the customer journey. No road blocks allowed.

What are your next steps?

Take a step back to consider your audience’s needs as a mobile user. Think about what your audience want, need and should know about your product/service, and then take this further and consider how the smartphone changes these needs.

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and attempt to answer these needs yourself, this will help you identify where the gaps or pain points are. Always answer your brand’s key micro-moments in a format users expect.

Conducting an audience intent analysis will give you a strong understanding of what it is they’re trying to do, what they’re looking for, and what their expectations are.

2. Provide a strong user experience for mobile:

What does this mean?

On mobile it’s got to be simple. No one likes to pinch or zoom their way around an unoptimised website, or wrestle a long, complicated form when on the go.

The key is to be frictionless. You’ve got to make it easy, allowing users to access the content they want to complete tasks with as no hassle. It’s removing unnecessary steps that could act as barriers to conversion – instead of that pesky complicated sign up form, use social logins for one-click actions, for example.

Your mobile experience should be intuitive, fast and pain free, fully considering the limitations and advanced features that a smartphone provides.

Why is it important?

A poor mobile user experience (UX) will only frustrate users and result in them abandoning your site due to irritation. The risk goes beyond losing just that particular conversion, but future ones too, as they may not come back to your site at all due to their poor experience.

Ultimately this can damage your audience’s opinion of your brand and reduce the trust they have in you. An elephant never forgets!

What are your next steps?

Think about the actions a user must be able to complete on a smartphone. It’s easy to get caught in a trap of squashing everything on your desktop into a mobile view but in our experience, that’s never a good plan.

Often less is always more in this respect. Ask yourself, what tasks does your customer really want/need to complete, and what else is a distraction to this?

Aim for simplicity, clarity and speed. Think about what a mobile user is really on that page to do and don’t distract from it. Consider how the features of a smartphone help them complete their task, such as GPS, camera, simple userface, etc.

Fancy a bit of extra reading?  Check out our Five Considerations for Mobile User Experience.  

Something as simple as a click to call button can make all the difference as a small yet helpful addition that smooths a mobile user journey. Consider, what a smartphone is cable of that a desktop isn’t and how this can benefit your mobile users.

3. Make sure your content is easily digestible on mobile

What is it?

This one’s easy - literally. You should provide content in a format that’s quick and easy to digest on mobile, showing mobile users what they expect to see immediately upon page load – instantly answering their intent.

Give users choice to consume content in the way that they want. Whether that’s enabling them to download a podcast audio version of your long form content for easy consumption on the go, or providing a quick TLDR (too long, didn’t read) summary at the top of your posts so they can skim.

Make it easy, always with mobile in mind.

Why is it important?

Mobile users don’t often have the time or patience to digest a full piece of content. They tend to skim read or scan articles and content for key takeaways in as little time as possible.

Cater for this by breaking content down into bite sized chunks, using bullet points and summarising key information at the top of an article.

What are your next steps?

Think about what your mobile users might be doing when consuming your content. Are they on the go and pushed for time? Does your content answer their questions quickly and can they take-away key information almost immediately?

What pieces of content can you break down into bite-sized chunks? Many publishers use a ‘too long didn’t read’ (TLDR) format which proves effective. This gives the user the choice of scrolling to further read the article if they want to.

Try only showing the key information first, think what that user has to see upon page load and don’t overwhelm them. Accordions and tabs can be used to hide content until a user needs it, give the use control and let them decide when they are ready to view secondary content. 

4. Be quick…mobile users want their information instantly, how quickly can you deliver?

What is it?

Not much to say about this one, it’s pretty self-explanatory – delivering a fast loading experience to your users, allowing them to access content, buy and convert as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Why is it important?

Site speed is essential to being useful and driving conversions. Mobile users want to know, go, and buy quickly. A fast and frictionless mobile experience will drive engagement and ultimately increase conversion.

Users will bounce if a site takes too long to load. Not only that, but they’ll also convert less and be less likely to buy your products or services again.

What are your next steps?

Simple - make sure your site loads quickly. The importance of a fast experience for mobile users cannot be argued. Providing a quick mobile experience can be as simple as ensuring you serve scaled images for mobile, load page elements in a suitable order or using a content delivery network.

For more information on page speed see our blog post here.

5. Provide a frictionless path to conversion

What is it?

This is all about making sure the key moments where a user will convert on your site are as seamless as possible on a mobile device, such as going through the checkout process or signing up to a newsletter.

Why is it important?

With mobile usage overtaking that of desktop in 2016 ensuring the growing number of smartphone internet users can convert just as easily as desktop users is undeniably important.

Not allowing users to easily convert on mobile will have a negative impact on mobile conversion rates, damage trust in your brand and ultimately impact your bottom line.

What are your next steps?

How easy do you make it for your users to convert on mobile? Think about the true necessity of each step. If a user’s main goal is to fill out a form, ask yourself, is all of that information required right now, or can some of this information be collected at a later stage of the journey? Long, complicated forms on mobile are the bugbear of many users. Remove as many steps as possible to let a user complete their goal.

Bear in mind that mobile users may be pressed for time or on bad connections. Make it easy for them to purchase on a smartphone - cut unnecessary additional steps to make purchasing seamless throughout the whole journey across all touchpoints.

Give smartphone users a choice and a clear route to purchase at the right points, maybe pushing users to your store is more effective than purchasing online? Or perhaps someone interacting with your social posts is ready to purchase, but think about whether you send them to the right destination.

It’s ultimately about understanding which stage of the customer journey a user is at and adapting the experience to suit – with as few bumps in the road as possible!

So now you understand the importance of being useful when your audience finds you – What are your next steps in implementing a successful mobile SEO strategy?

Next, in our mobile SEO strategy series we will conclude with our final post exploring the importance of measuring, monitoring and refining your efforts to improve mobile SEO, exploring the following aspects:

- Identifying search visibility on mobile

- Monitoring mobile user behaviour

- Tracking all mobile assets

- Monitoring site mobile performance

In the meantime, if you need help with your mobile SEO strategy, or you have any questions on this series, or any of our blogs, do not hesitate to Get in touch - we always have time for chat