8 Tips for Optimising Your Website for Mobile

Google’s Mobile Friendly Update hasn’t changed search engine results dramatically. That’s a fact, and even Search Engine Land agreed.

In reality, we didn’t see a huge difference before and after the mobile update like we observed with the Panda and Penguin ranking algorithms.

Possibly, Google wants to give us some extra time to make our website mobile-friendly, or perhaps its developers just weren’t ready to roll out a full update and are still tweaking their code!  Whatever the case may be, we have extra time to optimise our websites for mobile properly.

1. Check your website’s appearance on different mobile devices

The simplest way to check how your website will appear on mobile devices is to open it on your smartphone. But this quick test won’t tell you whether or not it will perform the same on other smartphones.

The Cybercrab tool doesn’t provide a huge variety of mobile devices for testing, but it is free.


Mobiletest works the same as Cybercrab and operates on a range of mobile devices, such as iPhone5, Nokia Lumia, Samsung Galaxy and a few others.

Resizer is another free solution. Compared to Cybercrab and Mobiletest, it gives you a few more options to play with your website’s appearance to see how it looks on different devices.

2. Successfully pass Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool

Using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool is the easiest way to calculate your webpage’s mobile optimisation score on the fly. Unfortunately this Google tool doesn’t provide a lot of details concerning why your page is performing poorly on mobile devices. However, it does show, in less than one minute, if your website requires changes right away or if you can wait.

Google Mobile Friendly Test

3. Figure out whether your website’s pages have a properly developed code

There are a plenty of technical issues that can negatively impact your webpage’s mobile-friendliness. Among those that should definitely be listed are the following errors:

  • Using inappropriate cashing controls for dynamic and static page components
  • Putting absolute dimensions and positions in CSS directives
  • Not including JavaScript code in the <head> tag
  • Skipping appropriate Etag headers
  • Using Inline JavaScript instead of collecting JavaScript into a single minified file
  • Implementing pop-ups, frames, framesets or iFrames
  • Not minimising the number of DOM elements
  • Not removing page redirects

To view a full list of issues, I highly recommend using this lovely tool.

Mobi Ready

4. Be careful with setting up separate URL’s for a website’s mobile version

If you chose a separate URL to serve your mobile-optimised content, then you must be sure you implemented everything properly.

In the separated URL scheme, the main pitfall appears when you don’t signal the relationship between mobile and desktop URLs by using tag rel=”canonical” and rel=”alternate” elements.

If you’d love to learn more please, take a look at this Google Guide.

5. Say no to plugins

Desktop websites sometimes use plugins including Flash, Silverlight and Java.

However, it’s absolutely unacceptable to use such plugins for mobile websites, because mobile devices don’t support them.

6. Server response time is reduced to under 200ms

If your website needs more than 200ms to load its HTML for any page, then it’s time to solve the problem. If your website has thousands or even millions of pages, then you should definitely use special tools to monitor it and alert you about any issues related to slow website performance.

To measure your website’s performance speed at-a-glance, I highly using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool.

Speed Insights

7. Focus on user-experience problems

Google heavily influences our websites’ performance. That’s why we spend most of our time tweaking our websites according to Google guides. But do you spend the same amount of time improving your website’s users experience?

If the answer is no, then it’s the right time to reconsider your strategy. You can’t make your mobile users happy without spending enough time on delivering a user-friendly mobile interface. On your site’s mobile version, you need to be sure that all buttons are the right size, as well as other taping targets. The same rules apply to your text, which must be easily readable (legible) even on the smallest screens.

You can check your homepage or any other page for user experience issues with the help of Feedthebot tool.

8. Track your mobile and desktop rankings separately

If you still don’t track your mobile rankings, then there’s no way to understand whether your website was hit by the Google Mobile Update or not. You can find a couple of tools on the market that will allow you to set up a tracking campaign for mobile devices.

Among those tools that should be named are SEMrush’s Position Tracking Tool, Advanced Web Ranking, SERPS.com, and Rankranger.com.

Published 1 year ago by Alexandra Tachalova, Brand Manager at SEMrush.

Alexandra Tachalova, brand manager at SEMrush. Her areas of expertise include corporate communication, customer relationship management, search engine marketing and lead generation. Frequent speaker at digital marketing and SEO conferences.

Follow Alexandra Tachalova on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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