As stated by Google,
“More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers worldwide.”
This is the prevalent reason as to why Google indexes mobile searches and desktop searches so differently.
Problem is, most marketers are still operating off of a strategy that was built solely for the desktop. Yeah sure, you could always revamp your strategy to be optimized for mobile some other day, but take a quick look at some of this data before you decide to put it off any longer, all of which is taken from a recent Searchmetrics in-depth study.
This is as close to a revealing as we can get, as of course Google will never tell us exactly what goes into their ranking formulae. Thus, this study goes fully into precisely what the highest ranking mobile websites have in common, which is what you will find below.
First, the following chart shows the percent of mobile website domains that are in the top 100 search results in each industry that are “mobile optimized”.
This chart clearly shows the favor that Google places on sites that are optimized for a mobile viewing experience.
And what this essentially means is that in order to be considered to be worthy of being in the top mobile search results, your website needs to be optimized in the following disciplines.
Overall word count in content has definitely increased from last year, yet mobile posts are sitting at about 868 as the average. The following are all part of the highest ranking mobile web pages.
- Mobile ranking keywords in content nearly doubled from 2.7 to 5.48 from 2014 to 2015.
- High amount of “proof terms” that help Google know what your content is about but aren’t targeted keywords intentionally placed in the content.
- Word count should be shorter than a desktop read but long enough to cover a topic.
User experience can be basically summed up into these three factors:
- Bounce rate
- Visitor clicks
Each one of these factors correlates exactly to the results that Google indexes in the top three positions. In each industry, the websites with the best numbers in these three variable is almost always indexed first by Google.
This is no small ranking factor, either. Which is why this is just another reason as to why good website design goes a long way, especially for mobile.
In order to get the optimal design for mobile search results, the report highlighted these three key points for user experience.
- Only link highly important internal links to the user
- Keep about 4 images per page at a maximum
- Utilize bulleted lists and some tabbed content in mobile content as much as possible
Because Google knows quite well how mobile searches are done and what is necessary for a good mobile experience, meeting the technical requirements is a must, so they are heavily ranked in mobile search results. Here are the top best practices for technical benchmarks on mobile.
- Having your website load in under 2 seconds on mobile is critical; the average is 1.1 seconds.
- Because of the above point, less top websites are using flash; some are replacing with HTML5.
- Having a keyword in your domain no longer matters as much as it once did, using that space for branding is now potentially a better choice
Links and Social Signal Strength
It’s no secret that having strong backlinks and social signals likely boost your rankings in Google, but it looks to be very different on mobile in terms of inbound links.
- Half as many backlinks were found in the top ranked mobile sites vs top ranked desktop sites
- Social signals were found to be strongest in the top ranked results in mobile SERP’s
This leads us to believe that backlinks are only further on the decline compared to Google ranking algorithms, especially in mobile search results.