It’s 2016 and mobile marketing is far from a new concept. If it seems so to you, where the heck have you been? Optimising content for mobile is essential if you want your customers to find you in their time of need.

Last February, IMRG reported that 45% of all ecommerce traffic in the UK came from smartphone and tablet devices. No surprise, next up was Google, on April 21st 2015, with their initial roll out of their mobile friendly update, which focused on increasing the ranking of mobile friendly pages on mobile search results.

Just last month Google released an update, only reinforcing the importance of mobile to the search engine. As Sam said, in isolation, this update would be important enough. However, looking at the wider picture, alarm bells should be going.

If your business is not implementing an optimised content strategy for mobile by now, it’s time to make it happen!

However, before you rush off and throw yourself head first into your mobile strategy, you might want to read on and see how best you can optimise your content for mobile, ensuring that it is easily recognised by Google.

optimise for local search.

Creating an effective mobile strategy involves considering the technical aspects, and design changes that are needed to make your site mobile friendly. Throughout this process, SEO best practices for optimising your website and content for mobile should be at the forefront of your mind.

Sounds simple enough, right?

Optimise for local search

Research has shown that up to 56% of ‘on the go’ mobile searches have local intent.

This means up to 56% of users are using their mobiles to search for information on businesses or products, such as store opening hours or product availability. It is most likely that they are going to be interested in results that are local to them.

To optimise for local search, it is key that you understand the user intent of your audience, and what they are expecting to find when the type their request into a search engine. This will help you to choose the most relevant keywords and ensure that the information your audience is looking for is readily available in your content and meta data.

The right keywords are important as you need to be telling them, “Hey! Our store (that is near you) has exactly what you are looking for!”.

You can use schema markup to add information such as your business’ name, phone number, business hours and full address, to your sites meta data. This will help search engines to understand where you are located and therefore improve your chances of appearing in local search results.

You can also further increase your local visibility by submitting your information to the search engines through Google My Business, Yahoo Local and Bing Places, as well as local citation sites such as, Thompson Local, Yelp or Hotfrog.

Optimise titles and meta descriptions

There are clear benefits for optimising your page titles and meta descriptions for mobile, it seems slightly obvious to state, but as they will be featured in a much smaller space compared to desktop, they will need to be more streamlined.

Title tags on mobiles sites have the same number of characters available as those on desktop, however it is much more than likely that your title will be broken up to two, or even three lines, when viewed on the mobile SERP’s.

It is important to consider this when writing your title tags, you need to ensure that your page title is visually appealing and works for the audience when it is viewed on more than one line.

There is far less room for meta descriptions on a mobile site. With a maximum of 115 to 120 characters it is important to keep your meta description as concise as possible, whilst ensuring that that the information is relevant, engaging and includes a clear call to action.

Ensure your buttons are an ideal size for mobile

Avoid accidental clicks by ensuring your buttons are not too small, not too big and they are not positioned directly where a finger might be looking to make the page scroll.

You should try keep the number of actions that are required to be performed on a mobile device to a minimum. The less time a user has to spend finding what they are looking for the better, as it is very easy and particularly frustrating to make a mistake by clicking on the wrong ‘teeny tiny’ button (which I’m sure we all know from personal experience!).

Optimise images for mobile

Images are often what takes the longest time to load on mobile devices. Matthew Young highlighted three key points to ensuring your images load quickly:

1# Use a page speed to tool to identify which images are the culprits.
Tools such as Google’s PageSpeeds Insights tool can help point out the images which need optimising.

2# Compress your images.
This can include using a less space intensive image format or simply determining how the images are going to load onto a page.

3# Define your image dimensions.
Not defining your images means that the browser renders the image as it loads the other elements of the page. However if your image dimensions are defined, the browser will pre-render the space according to your set dimensions. Saving you precious loading time.

Use deep links for apps

Deep links allow you to pass information to and from applications on a user’s device – This is called Contextual Deep Linking.

These deep links not only help users get to the most relevant content as quickly as possible, but will also help the uptake of mobile applications. This brilliant Tech Crunch study on deep links produced some pretty impressive results:

This image is a graph showing the difference between standard linking and deep links. This helps with optimising for mobile

The graph above specifically shows the difference in the percentage of users that ‘activate’ their account, i.e. sign up within the app or convert.

Deep links help to provide the user with exactly what they are looking for in their initial search query. If a user is directed to the ‘homepage’ of a mobile app, they’re much less likely to become an ‘active’ user. Digital marketing is ever increasingly focused on matching your content to user’s intent. Deep linking helps you achieve just that!

Ensure your content formatting is suitable for mobile

With such a small space, mobile content should be succinct and written to meet users’ needs and intents. Ensure that your content isn’t too wordy by using shorter sentences, that are broken up into clear paragraphs. Effective subheadings will also make your content easier to digest.

Keep all the information that the user needs self-contained, people don’t want to have to trawl through many pages on a mobile sites to find what they want to know. Make sure that your sentences, links, headings and forms all make clear sense as self-contained areas of information.

If your site uses forms, you are more likely to gather the essential information you need from the user if you minimise the time that it takes users to fill them in. Use the shortest possible form requesting only the vital information.

Remember, this is mobile, it is users who are ‘on the go’, and these users will not have time to fill in lengthy requests for information. If you do, you risk losing them by demanding every fact about them under the sun!

By ensuring your site is mobile friendly and optimising your content for mobile, you can expect to see higher search ranking performance and more traffic visiting your mobile site.

optimise for local search. (1)

To really understand what customers want from your content, you need to understand the motivation behind the search. As previously stated, a majority of these searches are performed on the go and are Micro-moments. A micro-moment is a real-time, intent-driven search that requires just a quick glance to identify, and relevant information to consume or act on immediately. In a nutshell, this means your content needs to be short, sharp and very much to the point.

As Tom states in his post, there is no single solution to incorporating micro-moments into your marketing strategy as every brand has a different set of moments and users to target, but if you are off to overhaul all of your content for mobile, you should definitely make your next stop, Tom’s post on Micro-moments