Mobile SEO Factors 2013

Mobile search has grown at an astonishing rate over the past couple of years. If this momentum continues, it is estimated that mobile searches will outnumber desktop searches by 2015. Your website can benefit from this, but only if it has been optimized for mobile users. Here are the new mobile SEO factors for 2013.

Responsive Design

It has been over a year since Google stated that it favored websites that are one-URL, i.e. they can be accessed using the same URL on any device. This year, they have made it clear that one-URL websites are ideal for mobile SEO. What this means is that Google prefers websites with a responsive design. Instead of having separate URLs for desktops, tablets and smartphones, make your website responsive and it can be viewed equally well on each.

One of the biggest advantages of this design is getting rid of redirects. Mobile website redirects can sometimes take a lot of time and they don’t often point to the right webpage. This wastes your time and causes frustration. Moreover, having a single URL makes social sharing easier. No redirects improve the user experience, which is a ranking factor, along with your mobile website’s presence on social media websites. So, go responsive if you want your mobile website to rank higher.

Mobile Proxies

Mobile proxies are passé to say the least. Yet, most webmasters use them to power their mobile websites. If you cannot ‘not’ use mobile proxies, you have to make sure your usage falls in line with Google’s annotation requirements. Less than 5% of online retailers meet the requirements and their rankings suffer as a result. Every page of your mobile website should have a canonical link tag to its corresponding page on the desktop-version.

Avoiding Mistakes

There are a few mistakes Google has pointed out that can hurt mobile SEO. These occur exclusively on smartphones.

  • Poor Cross-Linking: Users often don’t want to access your mobile website even if they are using a smartphone. When they opt for the desktop-version, they are redirected to the home page instead of the page they were at.
  • Interstitials: Smartphone users are familiar with the interstitials that pop up, prompting them to download an app. These usually take up the entire screen. Turns out, Google is as frustrated with them and the company retaliates with a lower ranking.
  • Misdirected Redirects: In spite of all the progress in mobile SEO, flawed redirects are still a common occurrence. This problem can be avoided by switching to responsive design. If you want to stick to separate mobile and desktop URLs, make sure that all redirects are correct and don’t take much time.

Along with these, slow loading speed is set to become a ranking factor for the future as highlighted by Matt Cutts. Smartphone-only 404s is another common mistake, but that is not as prevalent as it was before.

These are the main mobile SEO factors for 2013. Use them to your advantage and get your mobile website to the top of the search rankings.