Mobile Website Fails: Do’s and Don’ts

Mobile Website Fails: Do’s and Don’ts

Intentionally designing your website to be used on a mobile device is not the future – it is the present.

Ninety percent of Americans own a cell phone. One-third of those people use their phone as their primary access point to the Internet.

Mobile local searches have already overtaken PC searches, analysts say. As you can see, your website had better look good on a phone or tablet.

Google thinks so, too. Your website can be punished in Google rankings if Google finds your mobile site to be “suboptimal.”

For instance, if some web design company has convinced you of the greatness of Flash, which phones can’t read, then you’ve likely just hurt your SEO.

There are a couple of ways that your web developer can build your mobile site. The best way is HTML5 pages. Google can crawl these pages and index them.

The second is asynchronous JavaScript + XML, or AJAX. But search engines have a hard time crawling JavaScript, so we suggest avoiding it.

There are three ways that a website can be shown on mobile devices:

  1. Responsive design, which Google prefers
  2. Dynamic serving
  3. Building a separate mobile site

There are pros and cons to each. We recommend and use fully responsive design.

Here are seven problems you may have if you are using a separate mobile site:

LOAD SPEED

The average mobile website takes a little more than 10 seconds to load. One reason this happens is because of large image file sizes. It also takes longer for web spiders to index your page, meaning some of the pages may not get catalogued. This is an eternity in Internet time.

Forty percent of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. You must run site speed tests to figure out how to cut that load time to 2 seconds or less.

NO META TAGS

This is related to site indexing, too. And it’s pretty easy to fix: Use the same tags on your mobile site that you use on your desktop site. That way the user gets the same experience no matter whether they search on their phone or computer.

INCORRECTLY DETECTING USER AGENTS

So your website needs to be able to tell whether someone is searching from a phone or computer. It does this through what are called user agents, and this is a frequent place for errors. When this goes wrong, a smartphone user ends up on a non-mobile site, and vice versa. Google has good resources on how to solve this issue.

PAGES THAT DON’T MATCH UP TO THE DESKTOP VERSION

Your mobile site should match up page for page with your desktop version. If they don’t match, or you have incorrect coding or listing for a page on your desktop site, then potential patients can’t access it.

NOT ESTABLISHING WHICH PAGE IS DOMINANT

This is related to the previous problem: When you have two of the same page (one for desktop, one for mobile), search engines have to know which one is the primary page, or canonical. Otherwise you can get penalized in your SEO for duplicate copy.

NOT HAVING A SITE MAP

Here is another issue related to search engine indexing. If you don’t have a site map for your mobile page, it’s harder for search engines to categorize and crawl all the pages.

CLOAKING

In the world of search engines, this is bad. This is where your website presents search engines one website and real users a different site. Don’t do this.

The important thing for you to take away is that your website MUST be mobile responsive, not only for your SEO, but also because potential patients will be using it to check you out.

 




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About the author
Colin Receveur is a nationally recognized speaker, author, and dental web marketing expert who has pioneered the way dentists market themselves online for the past decade. Since incorporating in 2001, Colin has established a rock solid track record with his dentist clients and turned SmartBox into a stalwart of proven results for hundreds of dental practices.