Five tips to make your mobile site SEO friendly

Five Tips to Make Your Mobile Site SEO Friendly

The trend for people to prefer using mobile devices rather than traditional desktop computers continues to increase, with important considerations for online retailers. According to web form publisher Formstack, conversion rates for smartphone visitors have been rapidly increasing compared to desktop conversion rates. To take advantage of this trend and remain competitive, you need to optimise your mobile site and ensure that it is SEO friendly. An optimised site gives your visitors a better user experience (UX), which leads to higher conversion rates and increased revenue. Here are five suggestions that will help ensure that your site is SEO friendly: 

Provide fast page loading

Your customers do not want to visit a website that loads slowly, especially on a mobile device. A page on your website may contain valuable content, but visitors will quickly leave when they encounter pages that load slowly. On average, the loading time for bounced visits is about 2.5 seconds slower than the loading time for sessions where visitors engage with a site.

You’ll receive more visitor engagement with a faster mobile experience, so analyse all pieces of CSS and JavaScript and every image and compress them where feasible. Also, use your cache for static items that load constantly, and be sure to minimise redirects.

 Minimise pop-ups

Pages on mobile sites that show intrusive pop-ups provide poor UX, which is the main reason that Google now penalises sites that use them. Since mobile devices have small screens, search engines use these penalties as an incentive for businesses to improve customer UX.

Non-intrusive pop-ups such as small banners and age verification boxes that don’t cover a large portion of the screen are fine and do not incur a penalty. However, any pop-up that drastically obscures the screen or requires a visitor to dismiss it before your site displays content will have a big impact on your site’s SEO.

 Design for all finger sizes

Be sure that your touch screen navigation allows users with both large and small fingers to easily scroll content. Catering to all visitors will provide a better UX, and don’t forget that people use both their thumb and their index finger when scrolling.

 Size titles and meta descriptions properly

Using action-oriented titles and meta descriptions that include relevant keywords are important for SEO purposes, but you need to consider how these items will display on a mobile site. Unfortunately, search engines can truncate titles and meta descriptions that are too long, thereby hurting your search engine rank, so limit titles to 70 characters and meta descriptions to 130 characters.

 Use simple page designs

Since mobile device screens are small, simpler is better when designing pages for your site. If you try to include too much on a page, UX will suffer, negating the positive effects of SEO. Provide content that is both short and focused, and be sure to use a clear call to action (CTA). Use simple menus. If there are numerous menus and sub-menus, visitors can easily become confused and decide to click out and go elsewhere. Also, make sure that any contact forms that you have are mobile friendly.

As the trend continues of more people using mobile devices instead of desktops, your success will depend on a mobile-friendly design that takes SEO into account.

How to Speed Up Your Ecommerce Website

How to Speed up Your e-Commerce Website

These days, advances in technology occur at a rapidly increasing rate. One of the most obvious changes has been the increasing speed of the internet, which mirrors the increase in the number of internet users around the world. If you’re an online retailer, making sure that your website loads quickly is not always easy. Many e-commerce sites experience problems that slow down their performance.

This fact should concern you, as customers are much less likely to purchase items from your online store if your website loads slowly. Even if you have a fantastic selection of items for sale, potential customers are likely to turn to your competitors if they experience undue delays in accessing your site. Even a one-second delay can cause you to lose revenue, so increasing your site’s loading speed deserves careful attention. Here are a few suggestions that can help your site load faster and make it more likely that you can convert visitors into paying customers and generate more income.

 Use caching technology whenever possible

Caching technology makes it possible for you to store critical information, such as search indexes, customer profiles and product descriptions, without making repeated calls to your database. By reducing unnecessary access to your database, you can utilise your server’s RAM to store data and dramatically improve response time, as input-output transactions conducted using RAM are up to ten times quicker than those conducted on a hard disk.

 Use a content delivery network

If you want to have a site that loads quickly, you need to use a robust content delivery network (CDN). There are several significant advantages of using a CDN if you have an international customer base, especially if you have conducted an analysis of your sales data to identify where your customers live. You can store content on servers located where your customers are, and customers can then load content from those servers rather than from one central server, thereby reducing your page loading time.

 Reduce page size

Images can be a major contributor to page size. If you reduce the size of images and other embedded objects, you can reduce the page’s loading speed considerably. You need to find the correct balance between using rich graphics and page loading speed, with the objective of maintaining a loading time of three seconds or less.

Make your site mobile friendly

These days, more than 50% of website traffic occurs on mobile devices, and this trend continues to grow, making it important to ensure that your website provides mobile users with a reliable and fast service. Also, if you don’t optimise your website for mobile devices, it is likely that you will experience lower rankings in search results, which could adversely impact your sales. Since mobile devices have less processing power than desktop computers and can have difficulty rendering complex pages properly, it is crucial to ensure that your site loads quickly with complete functionality on mobile devices.

 Use efficient coding

Efficient coding can reduce the number of HTTP requests that your site makes, thereby improving the time it takes pages to load. By storing frequently used information, they don’t require reloading on every page.

Following these tips should help your site load faster and improve both customer experience and sales.

The importance of an SSL certificate

The Importance of an SSL Certificate

Cyber security is now a major concern for both online businesses and internet users. Website visitors want assurances that a website is secure before they decide to access it, and an SSL certificate issued by a certificate authority provides online businesses with the ability to assure visitors that the site is safe.

When you obtain an SSL certificate, a third party (the certificate authority) has stated that your website is secure and that visitors can trust it. It is imperative that you obtain an SSL certificate if your site sells products or services to visitors, provides visitors with the opportunity to become members of an organisation, or asks visitors to provide sensitive personal information on online forms.

Once you install an SSL certificate on your website, all interactions between your website and your visitors are encrypted, meaning that they are secure. This security makes it almost impossible for a third party to gain access to the information being exchanged between you and your visitors.

SSL certificates maintain security by providing both a public and private key. The public key enables the encryption of the connection between your site and your visitors, while the private key enables the decryption. The information exchanged remains secure because it is quite difficult for a third party to obtain both randomly generated keys to gain access to the information.

If your site does not have an SSL certificate, major internet browsers will warn visitors that your site is not secure and suggest that they do not enter, and most visitors will choose not to access your site once they receive that warning. Once you purchase an SSL certificate, visitors will know that your site is secure by the information displayed in your website’s URL on their browser: a green bar, a padlock and the HTTPS designation. Therefore, you really don’t have any choice but to purchase an SSL certificate if you operate an online business.

You have several options available as to which type of SSL certificate to purchase. You can get a single domain SSL certificate to protect one domain or a multiple domain SSL certificate if you have more than one domain. You can purchase a wildcard SSL certificate to protect every sub-domain under your main domain, and you can purchase an organisation SSL certificate that validates your company’s credentials, including your email address and other vital information. Finally, you can purchase an extended SSL certificate, which is the most secure and requires the certificate authority to conduct a background check to validate your website.

In addition to securing your website, obtaining an SSL certificate has several other benefits. An SSL certificate adds credibility to your website with search engines. They will designate your site as secure, and this increased credibility will help drive traffic to your site. The increased traffic will then improve your SEO ranking, which will also help your business to grow.

Obtaining an SSL certificate is a win-win situation for both visitors to your site and your business.  Just make sure you remember to use an SSL monitoring service to alert you when your SSL certificate is due to renew.

Large Adverts Slow Websites

Over 40% of Online Advertisements are Too Large and Slow Down Websites

According to a report by Ad Lightning, a digital advertising analysis firm, over 40% of online advertisements exceed industry standards, which frustrate visitors to websites with slow-loading pages.

Large ads have been a major issue with online publishers who have been struggling with how to curtail what many call “fat ads.” The oversized ads have a major impact on the ability of website visitors to see them as they can’t view them if they don’t load properly.

Business Insider and other online advertising publishers have been notifying advertisers that they cannot guarantee that viewers will be able to see ads that exceed the limits of the advertising industry’s guidelines.

Business Insider Chief Revenue Officer Pete Spande said: “If something is a ten-times-larger file size and takes ten seconds to load, viewability is a very difficult thing to expect when something is so far out of spec.”

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has set a maximum threshold of 300KB for online display ads. However, Ad Lightning’s report indicated that 41% of the ads that they evaluated on thousands of sites exceeded that threshold.

Almost 10% of the online display ads were larger than 5MB. To put that in perspective, that represents the word count of Shakespeare’s collected works, and advertisements that large often load slowly or not at all.

Business Insider is one of many publishers that have been criticising advertisers for creating ads that they stuff with animation and other data-intensive media. “Lighter ads with less animation just perform better. It’s not just about viewability,” Spande said.

Websites also load faster with smaller ads. Page loading speed has become a critical factor for user experience as more visitors tend to leave a site without engaging if a site does not load quickly.

Facebook and Google have been instrumental in advocating for faster page loading times as they have seen how quickly visitors leave a site with poor performance. Facebook has been encouraging publishers to post articles directly to its platform to keep people on their business social pages, and Google has recently begun to give a higher ranking in search results to sites that load quickly.

“Consumers experience these issues in ways that reflect on the publisher much more than the advertiser,” Ad Lightning said in its report. “On average, advertising doubles the amount of time it takes to load a webpage. Offending ad quality issues often delay page loads significantly longer.”

Ad Lightning also found that advertising networks with large ads were slow in delivering ads to websites because of the number of requests required. Every online display ad goes into an auction with advertising networks that then place bids, which are called requests. Codes placed within the ads then track how well the ads perform regarding response rates and other analytical reports.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau has set a guideline of a maximum of 15 network requests. However, the report found that the current average is about 60 requests.

Newspaper Websites Slow to Load

Largest Newspapers Worldwide Hurt by Slow Loading Time on Mobile Devices

You would think that the largest news sites would perform exceptionally well on mobile devices, but this is not true in most cases. According to a study conducted by mobile industry intelligence firm DeviceAtlas, the average time that it takes a major newspaper site to load is about 10.5 seconds, with the worst-performing sites taking from 19 to 22 seconds. This poor performance is very costly for the newspapers, as Google estimates that 53% of mobile device users only wait three seconds before abandoning a website that doesn’t load.

To conduct its performance test, DeviceAtlas used a Chrome plug-in to simulate a Nexus 5X smartphone, a mid-range device that was released two years ago, with a connectivity limit of 1.5 Mb/s. DeviceAtlas also used a proprietary tool that visualises a website and measures website page weight over low-end, mid-end and high-end mobile devices.

For its test, DeviceAtlas chose 50 daily newspaper websites from around the world from 18 countries, including Australia, Austria, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US. DeviceAtlas chose the individual newspapers to include in the study based on their circulation figures.

The key results of the performance tests are as follows:

  • The average load time on mobile devices for all tested websites was 10.5 seconds.
  • The average page size on mobile devices was 1.35MB.
  • Of all countries tested, India experienced the fastest average load time at 7.7 seconds.
  • URL redirection was employed by 30% of the websites overall and by all Indian websites.
  • It cost $0.39 (£0.30) for a user in the US to access wsj.com based on average prices of mobile data plans.

To keep things in perspective, a study by Google found that about 53% of visitors to websites will abandon them if it takes more than three seconds for them to load completely. Most of the newspaper websites tested exceeded that time, leading to increased bounce rates and fewer pages viewed on mobile devices. DeviceAtlas noted that most mobile users read news content on the go with less than an ideal connection speed, making the test standard of 1.5 Mb/s realistic.

DeviceAtlas found some interesting differences in load times between countries and regions. Indian newspaper websites had an average load time of 7.7 seconds, which was significantly better than for Spain (12.8 seconds), France (11.4 seconds) and the US (10.4 seconds). Every Indian newspaper website used some type of mobile URL redirection, which indicated that these sites had been optimised for mobile devices.

According to DeviceAtlas, the mobile market in India consists of mostly low-range and mid-range mobile phones. The top five mobile phones used in India included the Xiaomi Redmi Note 2, J7 Duo and Samsung Galaxy J2, none of which are high-end phones. Also, according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, about 44% of internet users in India only use mobile devices to connect.

The report also showed that mobile users incurred significant costs to access the largest and slowest newspaper websites. The highest cost was $0.69 (£0.54) for a user in Canada to access latribune.fr. The main point from this finding is that it will cost you more to access a newspaper website that has not been optimised for mobile use.