When it comes to mobile websites and SEO, we test, track, analyse and tweak almost to the point of complete OCD, and we get first class results for all of our clients.

But how do we actually do it?

How do we manage to take a site that is down in the depths of Google’s 513th page, and slowly resurrect it to claim one of the most coveted top spots in the search engines?

Well, a huge amount of the success of any website today comes from it being adaptable with smartphones, tablets and, of course, desktop computers.

Think back to when television was first introduced. It was a new medium in the market, with radio being the main medium before it. The first television advertisements were simply radio advertisements read from a script, delivered by serious looking chaps with moustaches and meticulously combed, slicked back hair…they hadn’t yet evolved to meet this new medium.

Think about advertising in the 21st century — how crazy, unholy and wildly different it is now, and how you 100% absolutely have to keep up with the times.

This is the impetus behind this article — online advertising is taking away from what we used to do, and into adventurous new ground, so listen up!

What’s changed?

Prior to some major overhauls of their search engine in 2013, Google didn’t worry about mobile and tablet users quite so much.

If you were at the top of the search engines for the keywords “cheap guitars in Brisbane”, it didn’t matter how your website was viewed by visitors on smartphones or tablets. The website could show up as the normal desktop version, it could be an ugly, difficult to negotiate site or it could even just be a 404 (a blank page).

The Australian Communications Media Authority (ACMA), a government-run organisation, states that smartphone usage in Australia is approaching saturation level, with data that shows over 92% of Australians over 18 years old were using a mobile phone as far back as 2012…and this number is growing exponentially!

Think about your family, friends, associates, clubs and societies you belong to — there is a good chance that 100% of the people you now know over 18 are using a smartphone, and they are using it religiously.

For this reason, Google has implemented some incredibly serious new protocols when it comes to SEO. It has also laid out several key criteria for us as webmasters to follow which ensures that we:

A) Don’t lose our place in the search rankings

B) Can beat our competitors who are slow to react to these new policies

C) Give our users a better experience (which is how Google, Facebook, YouTube and numerous other online platforms make money)

Here are two of the most valuable tips we can give on mobile and SEO strategies to help you send your site up the rankings:

1. Use a quality responsive theme/layout

A website without a responsive theme in 2014 is to Google like shooting fish in a barrel. A responsive website means that your website will work well on a smartphone or tablet. With their powerful web crawlers and robots, they can see in an instant if you cater to mobile/portable device users. If you don’t have a responsive theme, it triggers a response from the Google Quality Control team.

If your website is large and has authority, they may contact you to warn you about this, but your site has to be quite important for them to deliver an indictment first. 95% of the time, they will just fire at will, and decrease your rankings accordingly. These aren’t scare tactics from Google either, if you take a moment to consider how frustrating it is for the end user to be confronted with a difficult to use webpage, you can understand their methods.

Be safe, and ensure that you have a website that responds accordingly to users who are on any sort of device to avoid being penalised.

2. Don’t force visitors to download your app

Google is one of the biggest anti-spam companies online — if you use Gmail you will know that not too much spam gets into your inbox. When you force a visitor to download an app to view your site in mobile, Google views this as a type of spam.

This may be because they want you to continue using your browser (which helps them retain more visitors), or because it forces the user to take extra actions than they need, but either way, it is something to refrain from.

There’s a whole host of other Google recommendations such as:

  • Ensure all video is playable (no Flash content)
  • Keep load speeds high
  • When giving users the option to switch between versions, keep them on the same page (cross-linking)
  • Reduce your bounce rates

This last point is particularly important. Google penalises websites with high bounce rates — bounce rates meaning the number of people that go onto your website and leave almost instantly. If your website has a high bounce rate, this means that your website is either not engaging enough, provides a poor user experience, or it wasn’t what the user was originally looking for. And, you will be penalised for high bounce rates on mobile and tablet devices as well. With the number of people using these devices, you can’t let that market go to waste.

For more information about bounce rates, take a look at last week’s post.

Advertising and marketing have gone through some wild phases, and we are now seeing something that couldn’t have even been dreamed about 20 years ago.

Where advertising used to be confined to monopolistic companies who had credit with the influential newspapers and television stations, the tables have turned for the better.

Even small businesses can now compete with corporate conglomerates as the barriers to entry online are almost zero, and with a well-executed digital marketing campaign, you can beat larger and more powerful companies online — which is where it counts in 2014 and onwards.

Although a lot of this is high-tech stuff and difficult to execute perfectly, here at Bambrick we have ensured our clients thrive.

Through all the industry changes and updates, our SEO Brisbane strategists have kept our clients at the top of search engines like Google, enabling them to drive more traffic, more sales, and more profits. For more info or to talk strategy with one of our in-house digital consultants, get in touch via the contact form, give us a call, or stop in if you are in the Brisbane CBD.