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What is a slug and how to optimize it?

Posted by on Aug 22, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on What is a slug and how to optimize it?

What is a slug and how to optimize it?

In SEO, we often talk about creating the right slug for a page. But what is this really? And why should you optimize it? In this post, we’ll explain all you need to know about it.

What’s a slug?

A slug is the part of a URL which identifies a particular page on a website in an easy to read form. In other words, it’s the nice part of the URL, which explains the page’s content. In this article, for example, that part of the URL simply is ‘slug’.

Here’s how Joost explained slugs in an Ask Yoast video:

WordPress slugs

In WordPress, it’s the part of your URL that you can edit when writing a new post. Note that this only works with the right permalink settings. It looks like this:

If you have added more variables to your URL, we’re still talking about just that editable part of the URL to the page, like this:

There’s an additional value at the end of that URL. In this case, that extra variable is used so slugs can be the same without the URL being the same. I think these examples clearly show what the slug we are talking about is.

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What does a slug mean for SEO

The SEO benefit of a slug is that you can change the words to make sure that it has the words that you really want to rank for. It’s one of the indicators Google uses to determine what a page is about. It’s also one of the things that people see in the search results. You always see ten different URLs about a certain topic, like WordPress SEO, right? Our main article on this has the URL yoast.com/wordpress-seo, which is very on point. People might click on that a lot easier than if it’s yoast.com/?P=613458, which what WordPress does by default.

Find out more about creating SEO-friendly URLs »

Optimizing your slug

What are the things you need to think of when constructing the right slug for your post or page? Let’s go over a number of characteristics you need to take into account:

No stop words

Filter out all the unnecessary words. Filter out “a”, “the” and “and” and similar words. We have written a tad bit more on stop words in our WordPress SEO article. For users of our Yoast SEO plugin: you might have noticed we filter stop words out by default.

Add focus

Don’t just filter out stop words, but really all the words that you don’t need. Make sure the slug still makes sense though. In the case of this post, WordPress automatically creates the slug “what-s-a-slug-and-how-to-optimize-it” (based upon the permalink settings in WordPress), which I manually reduced to “slug”.

There is one thing to keep in mind here. “Slug” as a subject is not likely to get another page on its own on our blog. This informative article will most probably remain the central point for information about slugs on our website. So I can reduce the slug to just “slug” for that reason. If this was an additional post to the main article, it would probably have been something like “optimize-slug” (and I wouldn’t have explained what it is, for that matter). So, do consider the page’s level or position on your website.

Keep it short, but descriptive

The URL of your page is shown in Google search results. Not always, sometimes it’s for instance replaced with breadcrumbs (awesome). Don’t include too much information if you intend to reuse the URL for article updates. Be careful with dates and such:So you need to keep that in mind as well. Next to this, a short slug, right after the domain, will allow Google to show keywords in its mobile search result pages as well.

Now go optimize your slug with these three things in mind!

Read more: SEO basics: what does Google do? »

The post What is a slug and how to optimize it? appeared first on Yoast.

Less is More: Why I Wish I Never Wrote 4,784 Blog Posts

Posted by on Aug 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Less is More: Why I Wish I Never Wrote 4,784 Blog Posts

Less is More: Why I Wish I Never Wrote 4,784 Blog Posts

Can you guess how many blog posts I have on NeilPatel.com?

Well, if you guessed 4,784 you’re wrong. 😉

Technically I just published this blog post, which makes it 4,785.

That’s a lot of content! Especially considering that the blog has been around for roughly 4 years. That means that I am publishing an average of 3.27 blog posts per day.

I know what you are thinking… seems a bit too much content for one person to write.

Well, let’s first go over how I published 4,784 blog posts in 4 years.

Did you really write all 4,784 posts?

Just look at the screenshot below:

As you can see there really are 4,784 blog posts published on NeilPatel.com.

But here’s the thing: If you look closely at the image you’ll notice that some of the posts are in different languages.

There’s content in German, Spanish, Portuguese, and English. And no, I don’t know how to fluently speak all of those languages.

Which means I only wrote the English posts.

In other words, I paid people to manually translate my content into multiple languages.

In addition to that, I acquired the KISSmetrics blog and their 1,313 blog posts got merged into NeilPatel.com.

So, I only wrote 862 blog posts myself. The rest are from the KISSmetrics blog and translations (not all of the content has been translated).

Considering that I didn’t have to write all of the 4,784 blog posts, you are probably wondering why I regret it.

Why wouldn’t you write all that content?

More content doesn’t mean more traffic. It’s really that simple.

Sure, if you blog 100 times a day like those news sites your traffic should go up. But there is no guarantee because there are 199 other factors that Google is looking at.

Plus, it would be really expensive to produce 100 pieces a day!

Let’s look at the traffic on NeilPatel.com:

As you can see from the image above, my blog generated 1,701,486 unique visitors and 5,948,818 page views. Now let’s look at what pages are generating the visitors.

You’ll notice that my homepage generates a lot of page views. A large portion of that is bot traffic that is coming from Turkey. Don’t ask me why!

So, let’s look at the “unique page views” number as that number excludes most of the bot traffic.

The top 10 pages account for 29.23% of the traffic. But what’s crazy is that 5 of the 10 most popular pages are tools. (That’s why I switched my SEO strategy to spend more time and money on technology.)

But I love blogging, so I wouldn’t just stop writing.

Now, let’s look at the top 50 pages:

The top 50 pages make up 45.75% of my traffic. As you can see, each post starts driving a lot less traffic when you go past the top 10 pages.

And the numbers get smaller as you keep going down the list. The top 250 pages make up 64.49% of my traffic. The top 500 pages make up 72.96% of the traffic. And the top 1000 pages make up 80.99% of the traffic.

In other words, most of the content doesn’t even generate that much traffic. More than half of my content doesn’t even generate 83 visits a month.

Read that again:

More than half of my content doesn’t even generate 83 visits a month!!

There are a few popular posts and pages that do extremely well and then there is a huge long tail, in which the rest of the content barely generates any traffic.

And I am the unique case because I know SEO, social media marketing, and content marketing better than most people. I am able to generate more traffic to my unpopular posts than most blogs.

To prove it, I analyzed data from 11 blogs that generate anywhere from 1,301,492 to 24,502,503 unique visitors a month. And these blogs have anywhere from 5,592 to 29,095 blog posts.

Let’s look at what portion of their traffic comes from their top 10, 50, 250, 500, and top 1,000 pages.

You’ll notice that their top 10 and even top 50 pages don’t make up as high of a percentage of their total traffic compared to NeilPatel.com, but you have to keep in mind that none of these blogs have tools. People love tools.

But their top 250 pages make up 68.97% of their total traffic, their top 500 pages make up 81.45%, and their top 1,000 pages make up 86.88%.

Assuming your blog is large, you’ll find that it is hard to generate traffic outside the top 10% of your content. If you know SEO well, you can make those numbers a bit better like I have, but it isn’t easy.

So why would you want to write tons of content people won’t read?

So, what would you do instead?

As I mentioned above, I love blogging. So, no matter what, I wouldn’t stop. It’s not only about the traffic, it’s not only about the revenue, blogging is just fun for me.

But I would have adjusted my strategy earlier on.

I would use tools like Ubersuggest and Ahrefs to see the top pages of my competitors (the screenshot below is from the new Ubersuggest tool, which is not out yet).

Then I would dig in and see what keywords are driving their traffic.

From there I would double check to make sure that the page also is loved by people and not just search engines. I would do this by looking at the social share count, which you can also see in the screenshot above.

In other words, if people are sharing content heavily on social sites like Facebook, it means that they enjoyed reading the content.

Once you have a list of blog posts that do really well for your competition, from both a human and search engine perspective, you’ll want to create better versions of it.

That means you will want to make your content more in-depth, with better screenshots, maybe even include video tutorials, infographics, or whatever else you can think of that will make your post better than the competitions.

This way you are ONLY writing content that has a good chance of getting tons of traffic versus cranking out hundreds if not thousands of content pieces that very few people will ever read.

So, would you still translate your content?

Similar to how I would still blog, but just not write 4,784 posts, I would translate my content, but just not all of it.

When I started translating my content, I made a huge mistake.

Can you guess what it is?

It’s that I was translating my content.

Here’s what I mean…

Even if you hire smart people who know your industry to translate your content, it doesn’t guarantee success. What’s popular in one country isn’t always popular in another country.

For that reason, you have to use keyword research tools like Ubersuggest to see what keywords are popular in each country.

My traffic in regions like Brazil didn’t start growing fast until we started to transcribe the content and adapt it to the region. And now I can generate over 209,949 unique visitors a month from Brazil.

Even if you focus on only writing content people love and if you ever decide to expand internationally there is one big issue that you are going to face.

More content means more maintenance

People don’t really talk about this, but if you write thousands of blog posts as I have your traffic will eventually go down if you don’t update and maintain your old content.

It’s different for news website because their content isn’t evergreen.

But assuming you are writing evergreen content like me your traffic will drop if you don’t continually update your old, outdated content.

With NeilPatel.com my traffic has continually grown over time because I constantly update my old content, but I didn’t do that with my previous blog, Quick Sprout.

Quick Sprout peaked at around 518,068 unique visitors a month. New content is still published on the blog each week, the on-page SEO is fine and the number of sites that link to Quick Sprout has grown over time.

Yet the traffic is continually dropping because I haven’t been updating the old content.

When you have a lot of content like I do, it is a huge pain to update thousands of blog posts each year.

Luckily for me, I have an amazing team that goes through each post at least once a year and figures out if it needs to be updated (and if it does, they update it).

Conclusion

If I were starting over, I would use the simple process I described above, in which I would only write new content based on what both people and search engines love.

I would figure out what that content is by using tools like Ahrefs and Ubersuggest. I would look at total search traffic each blog post gets as well as how many social shares it has.

And as for how many posts you should publish, it really depends on your competition.

For example, if no one in your industry is doing content marketing, I would start off with one post a week until you figure out what works and what doesn’t. Because you wouldn’t be able to use tools Ahrefs or Buzzsumo to see what’s hot in your industry due to no one doing content marketing.

On the flip side, if you are in a space where all of your competitors are doing content marketing, I would try to play a game of catchup and crank out a blog post a day based on what’s popular.

But I wouldn’t write more than one post a day because content marketing isn’t just about writing content, it’s also about promoting the content.

And it is really hard to promote more than one piece a day. That’s why I blog weekly now instead of daily.

If you are wondering what process I use to promote and market my content, I break it down here. Here is a quick overview of my process:

Boosting posts – I spend $400 to boost each of my posts on Facebook. I don’t know why I spend $400 instead of $100 or even $1,000… it’s just a random number that I am comfortable spending each week.
Email everyone I link to – the second step I take is to email everyone I link out to. I ask them to share my content on the social web. (I provide an email template that you can use in the original post that breaks down my process)
Top sharers – I look to see who shared competitor articles on the social web and I ask them to share mine. (I also provide instructions and a template for this in the original post)
Beg for links – see who links to your competition and ask them to link to your site. This will help boost your search engine rankings. (I also provide instructions and a template for this in the original post)

And if you are wondering how much time you should spend writing versus marketing, use the 80/20 rule.

20% of your time should be spent on writing content and 80% of the time should be used to promote your content.

Keep in mind the goal isn’t to write more blog posts than everyone else in your space, it’s to only write posts that generate high volumes of traffic.

Of course, when you are following this advice, you’ll still find yourself writing content that doesn’t do too well every once in a while. That’s ok and every blog has that issue… but overall you won’t be stuck with thousands of blog posts that generate little to no traffic.

If you look at the NeilPatel.com blog, you’ll also notice that I only blog once a week. It’s because I’ve found it more effective. Once I switched to the strategy of blogging less, my traffic started to climb faster.

Sure, it’s less content for Google to index, but I’m spending more time promoting the content, hence my traffic is 21.31% higher.

So how many blog posts have you written? Are you going to change your strategy of blogging less frequently?

The post Less is More: Why I Wish I Never Wrote 4,784 Blog Posts appeared first on Neil Patel.

NEW On-Demand Crawl: Quick Insights for Sales, Prospecting, & Competitive Analysis

Posted by on Aug 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on NEW On-Demand Crawl: Quick Insights for Sales, Prospecting, & Competitive Analysis

NEW On-Demand Crawl: Quick Insights for Sales, Prospecting, & Competitive Analysis

Posted by Dr-Pete

In June of 2017, Moz launched our entirely rebuilt Site Crawl, helping you dive deep into crawl issues and technical SEO problems, fix those issues in your Moz Pro Campaigns (tracked websites), and monitor weekly for new issues. Many times, though, you need quick insights outside of a Campaign context, whether you’re analyzing a prospect site before a sales call or trying to assess the competition.

For years, Moz had a lab tool called Crawl Test. The bad news is that Crawl Test never made it to prime-time and suffered from some neglect. The good news is that I’m happy to announce the full launch (as of August 2018) of On-Demand Crawl, an entirely new crawl tool built on the engine that powers Site Crawl, but with a UI designed around quick insights for prospecting and competitive analysis.

While you don’t need a Campaign to run a crawl, you do need to be logged into your Moz Pro subscription. If you don’t have a subscription, you can sign-up for a free trial and give it a whirl.

How can you put On-Demand Crawl to work? Let’s walk through a short example together.

All you need is a domain

Getting started is easy. From the “Moz Pro” menu, find “On-Demand Crawl” under “Research Tools”:

Just enter a root domain or subdomain in the box at the top and click the blue button to kick off a crawl. While I don’t want to pick on anyone, I’ve decided to use a real site. Our recent analysis of the August 1st Google update identified some sites that were hit hard, and I’ve picked one (lilluna.com) from that list.

Please note that Moz is not affiliated with Lil’ Luna in any way. For the most part, it seems to be a decent site with reasonably good content. Let’s pretend, just for this post, that you’re looking to help this site out and determine if they’d be a good fit for your SEO services. You’ve got a call scheduled and need to spot-check for any major problems so that you can go into that call as informed as possible.

On-Demand Crawls aren’t instantaneous (crawling is a big job), but they’ll generally finish between a few minutes and an hour. We know these are time-sensitive situations. You’ll soon receive an email that looks like this:

The email includes the number of URLs crawled (On-Demand will currently crawl up to 3,000 URLs), the total issues found, and a summary table of crawl issues by category. Click on the [View Report] link to dive into the full crawl data.

Assess critical issues quickly

We’ve designed On-Demand Crawl to assist your own human intelligence. You’ll see some basic stats at the top, but then immediately move into a graph of your top issues by count. The graph only displays issues that occur at least once on your site – you can click “See More” to show all of the issues that On-Demand Crawl tracks (the top two bars have been truncated)…

Issues are also color-coded by category. Some items are warnings, and whether they matter depends a lot on context. Other issues, like “Critcal Errors” (in red) almost always demand attention. So, let’s check out those 404 errors. Scroll down and you’ll see a list of “Pages Crawled” with filters. You’re going to select “4xx” in the “Status Codes” dropdown…

You can then pretty easily spot-check these URLs and find out that they do, in fact, seem to be returning 404 errors. Some appear to be legitimate content that has either internal or external links (or both). So, within a few minutes, you’ve already found something useful.

Let’s look at those yellow “Meta Noindex” errors next. This is a tricky one, because you can’t easily determine intent. An intentional Meta Noindex may be fine. An unintentional one (or hundreds of unintentional ones) could be blocking crawlers and causing serious harm. Here, you’ll filter by issue type…

Like the top graph, issues appear in order of prevalence. You can also filter by all pages that have issues (any issues) or pages that have no issues. Here’s a sample of what you get back (the full table also includes status code, issue count, and an option to view all issues)…

Notice the “?s=” common to all of these URLs. Clicking on a few, you can see that these are internal search pages. These URLs have no particular SEO value, and the Meta Noindex is likely intentional. Good technical SEO is also about avoiding false alarms because you lack internal knowledge of a site. On-Demand Crawl helps you semi-automate and summarize insights to put your human intelligence to work quickly.

Dive deeper with exports

Let’s go back to those 404s. Ideally, you’d like to know where those URLs are showing up. We can’t fit everything into one screen, but if you scroll up to the “All Issues” graph you’ll see an “Export CSV” option…

The export will honor any filters set in the page list, so let’s re-apply that “4xx” filter and pull the data. Your export should download almost immediately. The full export contains a wealth of information, but I’ve zeroed in on just what’s critical for this particular case…

Now, you know not only what pages are missing, but exactly where they link from internally, and can easily pass along suggested fixes to the customer or prospect. Some of these turn out to be link-heavy pages that could probably benefit from some clean-up or updating (if newer recipes are a good fit).

Let’s try another one. You’ve got 8 duplicate content errors. Potentially thin content could fit theories about the August 1st update, so this is worth digging into. If you filter by “Duplicate Content” issues, you’ll see the following message…

The 8 duplicate issues actually represent 18 pages, and the table returns all 18 affected pages. In some cases, the duplicates will be obvious from the title and/or URL, but in this case there’s a bit of mystery, so let’s pull that export file. In this case, there’s a column called “Duplicate Content Group,” and sorting by it reveals something like the following (there’s a lot more data in the original export file)…

I’ve renamed “Duplicate Content Group” to just “Group” and included the word count (“Words”), which could be useful for verifying true duplicates. Look at group #7 – it turns out that these “Weekly Menu Plan” pages are very image heavy and have a common block of text before any unique text. While not 100% duplicated, these otherwise valuable pages could easily look like thin content to Google and represent a broader problem.

Real insights in real-time

Not counting the time spent writing the blog post, running this crawl and diving in took less than an hour, and even that small amount of time spent uncovered more potential issues than what I could cover in this post. In less than an hour, you can walk into a client meeting or sales call with in-depth knowledge of any domain.

Keep in mind that many of these features also exist in our Site Crawl tool. If you’re looking for long-term, campaign insights, use Site Crawl (if you just need to update your data, use our “Recrawl” feature). If you’re looking for quick, one-time insights, check out On-Demand Crawl. Standard Pro users currently get 5 On-Demand Crawls per month (with limits increasing at higher tiers).

Your On-Demand Crawls are currently stored for 90 days. When you re-enter the feature, you’ll see a table of all of your recent crawls (the image below has been truncated):

Click on any row to go back to see the crawl data for that domain. If you get the sale and decide to move forward, congratulations! You can port that domain directly into a Moz campaign.

We hope you’ll try On-Demand Crawl out and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear your case studies, whether it’s sales, competitive analysis, or just trying to solve the mysteries of a Google update.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

The Page Speed update: what SEOs need to know

Posted by on Aug 21, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on The Page Speed update: what SEOs need to know

The Page Speed update: what SEOs need to know

Page speed has been a ranking factor for desktop searches since April 2010, but it was never officially a ranking factor for mobile searches (despite what we’ve all suspected for a long time). Not until July 2018, that is, when Google rolled out the Speed Update.

Google’s pushing for a faster mobile experience

The Speed Update is the latest in a long list of speed-related updates, tools, and technologies that Google has developed over the last decade – many of which specifically target the mobile experience.

For example, PageSpeed tools, such as the modules for servers like Apache and Nginx, PageSpeed reports in Google Search Console and Google Analytics, and plugins like the PageSpeed Chrome Developer Tools extension have become par for course since their introduction back in 2010.

Since then, Google has introduced tools such as the Mobile-Friendly Test to help websites gauge their responsiveness.

They’ve also launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), which allows content creators to make lightweight and lightning-fast versions of pages for their mobile audiences, and Progressive Web Apps (PWA), which load content instantly regardless of a user’s network state.

And, in the past 6 months alone, Google has further introduced an onslaught of new speed-related tools, including:

Lighthouse – helps users automatically audit and optimize web pages
Impact Calculator and Mobile Speed Scorecard – grades your mobile site’s speed and calculates what impact your site speed is having on your conversion rates and revenue
Chrome User Experience Report (CrUX) – a database of real user experience metrics from Chrome users.

Google also transitioned to ‘mobile-first’ indexing in February 2018, which means it now prioritizes the mobile versions of websites over desktop versions when it comes to ranking and indexing.

And last but not least, the Speed Update has ushered in page speed as a ranking factor for mobile websites.

Recent changes to how Google measures page speed

Another recent change you may have noticed is that PageSpeed Insights looks a little different these days. Entering a URL a few months ago would return a report that looked something like this:

As you can see, your site receives one rating and it’s evaluated based on a set of clear technical criteria: redirects, compression, minification, etc. Optimizing, while not always easy per se, was straightforward.
But if you plug in your URL today, you’ll see a screen that looks more like this:

Now you’re scored according to two different categories: speed and optimization.

Optimization is the new name given to the technical checklist you were already familiar with. Anyone who’s used the PageSpeed Insights in the past should instantly recognize these recommendations.

Speed, however, is something new. It’s scored based on two new metrics: First Contentful Paint (FCP), which measures how long it takes a user to see the first visual response from a page, and DOM Content Loaded (DCL), which measures the time it takes an HTML document to be loaded and parsed.

These two new metrics are the game-changers because even if you were measuring them before the update (most SEOs I know weren’t), there’s a high chance that Google’s numbers don’t match yours.

So why the disconnect? Well, while you’re measuring DCL based on your website’s optimal performance, Google is pulling its results from its CrUX database. In other words, these metrics are based on real user measurements.

That means that even if everything looks perfectly optimized on your end, Google may consider your website to be ‘slow’ if most of your users have poor connection speeds or outdated mobile devices.

In other words, Google’s switched from measuring ‘lab’ data to ‘field’ data. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to improve field data except for optimizing your website to make it even faster.

Our experiment measuring the impact of the Speed Update

My team recently conducted a series of experiments to determine what impact, if any, the Speed Update has had on mobile rankings.

First, we analyzed one million pages in mobile search results to understand the relationship between page speed and mobile SERPs before the update. Our research revealed that a page’s Page Speed Optimization Score had a high correlation (0.97) to its position in SERPs. FCP and DCL, however, had almost no bearing on a page’s rank.

Three months later, after Google’s Speed Update went live, we ran the same experiment. Again, we analyzed one million different pages and we collected Optimization Scores, median FCPs, and median DCLs for each unique URL.

What we discovered is that the correlation between a page’s average speed Optimization Score and its position in SERPs remains static: 0.97.

We also discovered that there is still no significant correlation between a page’s position in mobile SERPs and the median FCP/DCL metrics.

The only change we did notice was an industry-wide increase in the performance of mobile pages: the ranking on the first 30 positions in mobile search improved by 0.83 Optimization Score points between our first and our second experiments.

So, what’s the takeaway? At this point in time, it’s very important to continue improving your Optimization Score. FCP and DCL metrics seem to play a minor role where search results are concerned, but the standards for the top positions in SERPs keep increasing.

Advanced checklist for optimizing page speed

Optimizing mobile page speed requires you to test your page speed first. Before you begin making any improvements, plug your URLs into PageSpeed Insights. Or, if you find the thought of checking every page one-by-one exhausting, use a tool that can monitor all of your pages at once.

My team uses the tool we developed, WebSite Auditor. It’s integrated with PageSpeed Insights, which makes it easy to test, analyze, and optimize each page’s performance. GTMetrix and Pingdom are two other great tools for testing and optimizing page speed.

Once you’ve tested your mobile site speed and identified areas of improvement, it’s time to get to work:

Ensure each page has no more than one redirect
– If you need to use a redirect: use 301 for permanent redirects (e.g. deleted content) and 302 for temporary redirects (e.g. limited-time promotions)
– Googlebot supports both JavaScript-based redirects and HTTP redirects
Enable compression to reduce file size
– Gzip all compressible content or use a Gzip alternative (e.g. Brotli)
– Remove unnecessary data whenever possible
– Use different compression techniques for HTML codes & digital assets
Aim for a server response time of <200ms
– Use HTTP/2 for a performance boost
– Enable OCSP stapling
– Support both IPv6 and IPv4
– Add resource hints like dns-lookup, preconnect, prefetch, and preload.
Implement a caching policy
– Use cache-control to automatically control how and how long browsers cache responses
– Use Etags to enable efficient revalidation
– Double check Google’s caching checklist to determine optimal caching policy
Minify resources
– Minify HTML, CSS, JavaScript
– Minify images, videos, and other content if they’re slowing down your page speed
– Automate minification using third-party tools
Optimize images
– Eliminate unnecessary resources
– Replace images with CSS3 where possible
– Don’t encode text in images; use web fonts instead
– Minify and compress SVG assets
– Remove metadata if it’s not needed
– Select smaller raster formats if they don’t interfere with quality
– Resize and scale images to fit display size
– Choose the image quality settings that best fit your site needs.
Optimize CSS delivery
– Inline small CSS files directly into the HTML to remove small external resources.
Keep above-the-fold content under 148kB (compressed)
– Reduce the size of data required to render above-the-fold content
– Organize HTML markup to quickly render above-the-fold content.
Remove all blocking JavaScript in above-the-fold content
– If you need JavaScript above the fold, you can make it non-render blocking by marking your <script> tag as async
– Inline critical scripts
– Defer non-critical scripts and 3rd party JavaScript libraries at least until after the fold.

Needless to say, there are a lot of technical SEO tips and tricks you can do to continue tweaking and refining your mobile page speed. If you need more information on how, exactly, to perform any of the above actions, visit Google’s PageSpeed Insight Rules for more detail.

Conclusion: why you need to be optimizing mobile page speed

Year-after-year search engines continue to push the importance of mobile optimization. And it’s no secret why: recent studies suggest that 53% of all mobile visits are abandoned when a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load, and you lose 10% of your users with every additional second.

Page speed has always mattered, but providing people with a fast mobile experience is now more important than ever before. This is especially true when you consider mobile-first indexing and the news that the average Optimization Scores of top ranking pages continue to rise.

7 Ways To Improve Website Usability

Posted by on Aug 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 7 Ways To Improve Website Usability

7 Ways To Improve Website Usability

7 Ways To Improve Website Usability

Have you went to a website before and just feel lost?

You don’t know where to find the navigation bar. And when you finally found it hidden as a drop down menu, the categories tab brings you to another confusing page where you can’t find a single product.

Now, we would never want that for our website visitors.

Here’s where website usability comes in.

“The user experiences usability first and pays later.” – Jakob Nielsen, The King of Usability

Website usability is how easy an average person can navigate your website to achieve specific goals. Be it getting to your blog post or complete a purchase.

What you need to know is,

The final aim of usability is to create a navigational and informative website. The website can not only retain visitors but also make them into recurring visitors. Thus, help to build a user community on your website.

Ignoring usability means you’re neglecting your users. What will they do when they have difficulty navigating your website? They’ll leave, there are plenty other websites out there.

A website with a good usability should be simple, natural and easy to use.

Let’s look at usability more closely, it is made up of 5 smaller segments.

Learnability
How easy it is for a first time visitor to navigate and accomplish a task.

Memorability
How easy it is for someone to navigate and accomplish a task on your website after having left for a period.

Efficiency
How quickly someone can complete a task after getting used to your website.

Satisfaction
How pleasant it is to use your website.

Errors
How many errors the user made, how serious those errors are and how easily can they recover from the errors.

A successful website combines both the company’s and the user’s usability goals.

Keep this in mind,

A company’s goal is tangible and can be presented by numbers, like conversion rate, revenue, page ranking etc.

While the user’s usability goal is a little less tangible to measure, which includes their satisfaction and efficiency.

It is crucial to test your website usability every time you have a new update or a redesign. That is because you need to strike a balance between the two goals.

The importance of testing website usability includes:

Helps predict user behavior and map out visitor path
What you think is user behavior may not be the actual user behavior. When you carry out a test, you have actual data to build your visitor path on.

Accurately predicting user behavior is crucial in increasing web page dwell time. You can use the real data to smooth out and guide your visitor’s exploration process on your website.

Helps retain visitors by lowering bounce rate and exit rate
Testing out website usability let you learn where and when a user decides to leave your web page. Not only that, you can also know whether your CTA (click-to-action) is working as they should.

When you know what’s working and what’s not working, you will have a better idea on which part of the design to start fixing to retain visitors.

You get happier users and increase conversion rate
Website usability is all about creating a good and fruitful experience for your website users, which, naturally leads to happier users.

When you take what you learn from the test to improve your website design, you can ultimately increase your conversion because of the good usability that leads to good user experience.

Testing can be carried out in multiple stages of a website development. There are ways to test it out before the website is created or when the website has matured.

Here are 7 ways to test your website usability
1. Paper prototype

(Source)

This is the most cost effective way to test your website usability. Since you only need some papers, drawing skill, someone who understands how the system works, a facilitator and 5 real users who are willing to help you carry out the test.

Paper prototype can be used at the early stages of or before development to test out different concepts instead of scrutinizing detailed features.

Create the screen and all the different features of the website, like a burger menu in separate papers. Create a list of scenarios for the users to follow. The human computer a.k.a the guy who knows the most about the system will then adjust the papers accordingly to mimic a real prototype. All while the facilitator takes care of the whole process.

2. Heatmap

The confetti report from Crazy Egg offers an unique heatwave report based on individual clicks.

Heatmap is a visual analyzing tool that can be used on live and running websites. The idea of a heatmap is to use a cool to warm color spectrum to show you the most clicked or viewed spots on a webpage by tracking real user behavior.

Website redesign can benefit a lot if you can get real user data from a heatmap to see the browsing habit of your visitors and which elements interest them to click on the most. You might be surprised how different it is compared to where you think they’d click.

Heatmap tools like CrazyEgg offers more personalized data on every unique visitors’ clicks with their confetti feature. You can further customize your data by selecting the matrix like search term, search engine, time of day etc.

3. Remote Usability Testing

(Source)

As the name suggested, the users are not in the same room as you when the test is carried out. This gives a test result that is closer to the real thing because some users might behave differently subconsciously when they’re face to face with the researcher compared to when they’re on their own.

This type of test can also give you a wider pool of users since they can be recruited online instead of having to be physically present for the test.

The remote test can be done either moderated or unmoderated. You can share-screen, or be on a conference call with the users while they’re testing, that is moderated. While an unmoderated user gets a list of tasks, an automated software to carry out the test while their screen and voice is recorded while saying out loud what they think.

4. Online Website Survey

If your website is already established and have a good size of visitors daily, you can implement a survey to ask them directly how their experience on your website is.

This method is easier and cheaper to implement since your visitors will be free volunteers who answer your questions. However, how effective your data can be used depending on what questions you ask. If your questions are too general, you won’t get usable data; if your questions go too technical or complex, the visitors might not answer it at all.

For example, don’t ask Do you like the dropdown menu?, instead, you should ask Does the drop-down menu has everything you need?.

So the best way is to base the survey questions off a set of data you want and offer your estimations as the options for the users to choose from. Instead of giving them open-ended questions with no options that require more time and effort to answer.

5. Expert Review/ Site Audit

This is straightforward, you hire someone, usually a UX designer to go through your website and tell you what they think. What is good, what is bad, what should be changed, what can be better etc.

The thing with accessing your website through the eye of an expert is they already know what the users will be looking for. While the users may not be able to tell you what they really want unless it’s presented as an option for them.

Expert Review can happen at any stages of the website development and when a website is already established. The cost will also be cheaper than planning for a full-fledged test hiring real users. The User Is Drunk is one of the more unique expert out there that will carry out a review on your website and also give you a good time while watching it.

6. Focus Group

To create a focus group for your usability test, you will need to gather 6 to 8 users from your targeted market that fits your buyer persona, and also a moderator. This is a technique better used on the early planning stages because it helps immensely in deciding the direction your design will follow.

First thing’s first, you need to state a clear focus of the discussion. Sit the participants down before the discussion starts to make sure they understand what they need to be talking about. Set the length of the session to no less than 2 to 3 hours, especially when you have a bigger group nearing 10 people so every participant has a chance to voice out.

To fuel the session, you can ask a few open-ended questions. Note the word open end, you don’t want in any way influence their answer because the data you gather will be skewed.

7. One on One Usability Testing

(Source)

Like the remote usability test, one single user will be testing out your website. But instead of using means like screenshare or screen and audio recording, you will be in the same room as the user to observe the testing process directly.

To accommodate the tester/ user, you will have to set up the space and equipments to carry out the test. You will also need to create a set of tasks beforehand for the user to accomplish, together with a set of question regarding the user’s opinion on your website.

Take into account the time the tester takes to accomplish certain tasks because that speaks volume on the usability. Also, prepare a subjective scale to easily gauge the level of ease to accomplish each assigned tasks. The test can be carried out repetitively throughout the course of website development and also on an established website.

Now that you have some brief idea about why and how to carry out some tests for your website’s usability, we have some tips that can help you make the whole process easier…

1. Less is more
5 is the magical number that you’re looking for. According to the usability expert Jakob Nielsen, you can get enough usable insights to work on from having just 5 testers.

2. Run multiple tests
He also suggests that you should carry out more small tests instead of one big, complex, elaborated test. Remember, you’re testing for the improvement of the website design, not recording weaknesses.

3. Don’t be too choosy
Every website has their targeted audience, but not every user visiting your website will fit your targeted persona. Keep that in mind when recruiting testers or volunteers, have a basic requirement and stop there. Getting diverse opinions is more important than getting the opinions you want.

4. Before the fold is the most important part
You want to put the most effort on the part that greets your visitors when the website is first loaded, that is before the fold. How pleasant and clear the navigation is at the first glance means a lot in retaining visitors.

Here comes the conclusion…

A website doesn’t have to be fancy, but it needs to be easy to use. Having a good website where visitors can actually get to where they want and what they want, is the very first step of having some happy people that might become your happy customers. So start testing and improve your website usability to be a bigger conversion magnet!

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background-size: cover;
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font-family: “roboto”, helvetica, sans-serif;
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Gear up your paid social plan for Q4

Posted by on Aug 20, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Gear up your paid social plan for Q4

Q4 is right around the corner and it’s imperative to do some legwork now to set yourself up for success once the holiday season is upon us.

Paid social is likely to have a significant impact on your overall efforts – not only in building the funnel but actually delivering end-of-the-funnel conversions.

So how do you set yourself up for success? Here are my top five tips for what to take care of now.

Personas, personas, personas

Do your audience research. Comb through your internal data and understand who your customers are – even if you think you know this like the back of your hand, do some research to see whether any segments have changed or emerged.

What are their characteristics, behaviors, and traits? Think about demographics, household income, interests, and likes. Additionally, leverage audience insights tools from both Google and Facebook to get a richer, more layered sense of who your customers might be.

Once you have this information, you can create your various personas – the different types of audiences that would be interested in your product or service. Now you know who to target.

Channels

When you truly know your customers, you’ll get additional insight into what channels you should be advertising on. Facebook, of all social media channels, is always a given because of its enormity and ability to get very granular with its targeting.

But which other social media channels might be right to advertise on? Did you find out that one of your target personas happens to consist of senior-level business people? If so, LinkedIn may be worth a try.

If your audiences like to consume information, news, and technical knowledge, Twitter would be a great channel to pull those folks into the funnel.

Are you going after females who tend to research, be fashion-driven and creative, or perhaps are big DIY-ers? Pinterest could help you achieve scale.

Test the different relevant social media channels, get a sense of where your audiences lie, and understand where you can fill the funnel with an engaged and interested audience.

Audience

Now that you know your personas and the channels you’d like to reach them on, you’ll need to develop a number of audiences and begin doing some rapid-fire testing to understand which targeting types work best for your business.

If you have a strong CRM list, begin with lookalike audiences – segment your customer list into groups of identifiable characteristics, build a lookalike from those, and test away. Also consider testing layers on interests, demographics, etc., to gauge what fine-tuning those lookalikes may do to performance.

Then, of course, leverage the other targeting styles within the platform – use a combination of interests, behaviors, and demographics to really get granular and as close to your personas as possible.

As all performance marketers know, granular can be great – but keep in mind that you don’t want your audience size to get too low. Healthy volume (the general recommendation with Facebook is to have audiences of at least 200,000) makes the job of an automated bidding algorithm easier as it has more people to work with, more data to flow in, and more ability to understand what is working and run tests to replicate success with other audiences.

Creative

Don’t forget your creative: it plays a hugely critical role in paid social – it’s what gets people to notice you, click on your ad, and get into the funnel in the first place.

When approaching creative, remember to try to be as clear and straightforward as possible when discussing your business. Ideally you want your audiences to know who you are, what you do, and why they should care. If your creative achieves this, with great imagery and copy, your customers are qualifying themselves by engaging.

If you’re in ecommerce, think about featuring top-selling products, or most clicked on/viewed products on the site. If you’re a service provider, think about why people use your service, what their most favorite things about it are, and what value it can really bring to one’s life.

Then: test, test, test. Be smart about it, though – come up with a testing roadmap in which you have brainstormed unique and different copy themes, value props, images, products, testimonials etc., so that you can analyze what’s resonating with your audiences.

Additionally, don’t forget to tailor your creative/copy towards specific audience segments. The more personalized you can get with the audience you are targeting, the better.

Landing pages

Just as with creative testing, test out your landing pages. Figure out what types of audiences or creative mesh with what types of landing pages you have. Again, it’s always about a tailored experience.

One recommendation I always give is that, if you don’t necessarily have the means to develop multiple landing pages, at least leverage dynamic copy on your pages. This is where you can pass through a parameter in your link and have your page update to feature messaging that flows with that ad copy theme.

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m a big fan of testing – especially before the seasonal rush hits. Test as much as you can prior to Q4 so you can understand who the right audiences are for you to target, the appropriate social media channel mix to use, and the perfect combination of creative and landing page to hit a home run when it comes to conversions.

Is it important for SEO to rank first in 2018?

Posted by on Aug 18, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Is it important for SEO to rank first in 2018?

Is it important for SEO to rank first in 2018?

When starting with SEO one of the top goals for businesses is to rank first on the search results.

It is the equivalent of success and lots of SEO professionals have been working hard to deliver a good ranking to their clients. As SEO is changing though, is it still relevant to aim for a #1 ranking on SERPs?

And if it’s not a priority anymore, what should you do instead?

Defining success in SEO

Every company would like to show up as the first result in a search engine. And it’s not just for the sake of vanity, as the top ranking increases your chances of improved awareness, traffic, authority.

There are more than 40,000 search queries processed by Google every second, which means that there are more than 3.5 billion searches every single day.

We were reporting back in 2013 how the top listing in Google’s top position receives 33% of the total traffic. The second position received 17.6% of the traffic, while the fifth result only received 6.1% of the traffic.

This meant that back in the day, the initial goal was to show up on the first page of SERPs and then to work harder to reach the top. It’s not always easy to achieve it and the authority of your site certainly plays a big role, but it was still considered the ultimate goal.

SEO has evolved quite a lot since 2013, which means that even the definition of a successful SEO strategy has changed. It’s not enough anymore to aim for a top ranking. At least, not in the organic search results.

How SEO is changing

The big difference with SEO ranking through the years is that search engines are becoming smarter. Users are happier with the ease of finding what they’re looking for and businesses have to adapt in the way SEO works.

There may still be companies that aim for the top ranking in SERPs, but is this still the definition of SEO success? If we want to combine success with ROI, then is it enough to rank first?

There are growing discussions on the organic drop of CTRs even on popular terms. 

This is due to the changing nature of SEO and how users search for a result.

You’ve probably noticed on your own that search has evolved and you won’t necessarily reach the first organic search result to find the answer you’re looking for.

Google’s focus on adding additional boxes and ads at the top of the SERPs reduced the chances for people to notice the organic results.

Think of it, nowadays you may be distracted by:

PPC Ads
Knowledge Graph
Social Information
Featured Snippet
News
Local information and Maps.

It’s not a distraction per se, but rather a new way of finding the answer to your questions.

This is a good change for the user, so all you need as a company is to adjust to this change when planning your SEO strategy.

Thus, you don’t necessarily need to aim for a top ranking, but you can still optimize your content to increase your success.

In this case, the definition of success becomes more practical and it refers to:

Increased clicks
Improved authority
Engaged users.

Tips to consider when aiming for SEO success in 2018

SEO becomes more sophisticated year-by-year and this means that your goals are also evolving. It’s not enough anymore as an SEO professional to promise top ranking.

Here are six tips to consider when adjusting your SEO strategy:

Aim for a good ranking, not a top ranking

There is already a change in perception of what counts as SEO success. It’s definitely important to rank as high as possible in SERPs, but you don’t need to aim for the top position to see an increase in clicks and engagement. Find the best way to improve your ranking step-by-step by paying close attention to Google’s updates.

Keep focusing on optimization

This is a good old tip but it’s still applicable to a modern SEO strategy. Do not ignore optimization of your copy either on your site or how it shows up in search results. Spend the right time to build a result that is relevant, appealing, and engaging.

Be creative

Search ranking is becoming more competitive, which means that it’s harder to rank on top of search results. This doesn’t mean that you can’t find SEO success though. You can go beyond organic search results to succeed, whether it’s with ads or an additional optimization to land first on featured snippets and answer boxes.

Here’s everything you need to know about featured snippets and how to make the most of them.

CTR affects ranking

Focus on your clickthrough rates. Your CTR affects ranking and there is a confirmation coming from Google’s engineer Paul Haahr. He mentioned in a presentation that a high CTR can affect your ranking as it gives the signal that your page grabs the users’ attention. Rankbrain can actually affect ranking to results that show up higher than they should have been, with the number of CTRs determining the permanent position.

Thus, make sure your page is appealing, optimize the headline, the description and the content to bring an increased number of visitors to your content.

Never sacrifice the quality of your copy

As you manage to bring in new visitors to your site, you want to ensure that they’re enjoying your content. Content is still a very important ranking factor for Google and it’s always a good idea to focus on the quality of your copy.

Find the best way to add value and make sure that your content is relevant for your target audience. Keyword optimization can still be useful but it’s the quality of your copy that will determine your ranking. Link building is still important, which reminds us that some basic SEO strategies are still prevalent even in an updated way.

Engagement matters

Once your new visitors land to your page and enjoy your copy, the next step is to keep them coming. You don’t want to increase your one-time visitors, but you’d rather have them visit your page on a regular basis. Thus, you want to convince them to proceed to further actions, whether it’s clicking on a CTA button, subscribing to your newsletter, requesting a demo, or even visiting multiple pages.

The time they spend on your site helps search engines understand if your content is relevant for them. In fact, the RankBrain update placed ‘dwell time’, the time a user spends on your site, as a very important ranking factor. It’s not enough anymore to bring in new visitors if they are not interested in learning more about your content and your site.

A good way to increase engagement is to focus on user intent and how people use search engines. Think like a user, not a business and create an optimized copy that will be both enticing and useful.

Should we stop aiming at ranking first?

You can still involve the top ranking as part of your goals, but it’s good to understand how SEO is changing. It could be a welcome addition to reach the top of the SERPs for your favorite keywords, but it’s even better to bring the ROI that will justify your efforts.

SEO is going beyond vanity metrics and it is focusing on delivering the best user experience. The more you spend time on understanding your users, the higher the chances of a successful SEO strategy.

Block your site’s search result pages

Posted by on Aug 17, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Block your site’s search result pages

Block your site’s search result pages

Why should you block your internal search result pages for Google? Well, how would you feel if you are in dire need for the answer to your search query and end up on the internal search pages of a certain website? That’s one crappy experience. Google thinks so too. And prefers you not to have these internal search pages indexed.

Google considers these search results pages to be of lower quality than your actual informational pages. That doesn’t mean these internal search pages are useless, but it makes sense to block these internal search pages.

Back in 2007

Many years ago, Google, or more specifically Matt Cutts, told us that we should block these pages in our robots.txt. The reason for that:

Typically, web search results don’t add value to users, and since our core goal is to provide the best search results possible, we generally exclude search results from our web search index. (Not all URLs that contains things like “/results” or “/search” are search results, of course.)
– Matt Cutts (2007)

Nothing changed, really. Even after more than 10 years of SEO changes, this remains the same. The Google Webmaster Guidelines still state that you should “Use the robots.txt file on your web server to manage your crawling budget by preventing crawling of infinite spaces such as search result pages.” Furthermore, the guidelines state that webmasters should avoid techniques like automatically generated content, in this case, “Stitching or combining content from different web pages without adding sufficient value”.

However, blocking internal search pages in your robots.txt doesn’t seem the right solution. In 2007, it even made more sense to simply redirect the user to the first result of these internal search pages. These days, I’d rather use a slightly different solution. 

Optimize your site for search & social media and keep it optimized with Yoast SEO Premium »

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Blocking internal search pages in 2018

I believe nowadays, using a noindex, follow meta robots tag is the way to go instead. It seems Google ‘listens’ to that meta robots tag and sometimes ignores the robots.txt. That happens, for instance, when a surplus of backlinks to a blocked page tells Google it is of interest to the public anyway. We’ve already mentioned this in our Ultimate guide to robots.txt.

The 2007 reason is still the same in 2018, by the way: linking to search pages from search pages delivers a poor experience for a visitor. For Google, on a mission to deliver the best result for your query, it makes a lot more sense to link directly to an article or another informative page.

Yoast SEO will block internal search pages for you

If you’re on WordPress and using our plugin, you’re fine. We’ve got you covered. Your internal search results pages are noindexed by default in Yoast SEO. In addition, you can set a template for the page title of those pages, so the correct title will display in your browser tab or if your title is used in your theme.

You can set the template in the Search Appearance section of Yoast SEO. Just click on SEO › Search Appearance › Archives › Special pages in the left hand menu, and you’ll get this. This is the default template, but you can amend it, if you consider it necessary:

Most other content management systems allow for templates for your site’s search results as well, so adding a simple line of code to that template will suffice:
<meta name=”robots” content=”noindex,follow”/>

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Meta robots AND robots.txt?

If you try to block internal search pages by adding that meta robots tag and disallowing these in your robots.txt, please think again. Just the meta robots will do. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing the link value of these pages (hence the follow in the meta tag). If Google listens to your robots.txt, they will ignore the meta robots tag, right? And that’s not what you want. So just use the meta robots tag!

Back to you

Did you block your internal search results? And how did you do that? Go check for yourself! Any further insights or experiences are appreciated; just drop us a line in the comments.

Read on: Robots.txt: the ultimate guide »

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Ask Yoast: Workaround to create category page

Posted by on Aug 17, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on Ask Yoast: Workaround to create category page

Ask Yoast: Workaround to create category page

It can be quite a search to find the perfect WordPress theme. One that has a design you like, is nice and fast, and has all the functionalities you need. So, imagine you’ve finally found a theme you like, that answers all your needs, only to realise you’re not happy with the way it generates the category pages. Terribly frustrating, right?

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You know that category pages are important for your SEO efforts, so you want them to be to your liking. But what can you do? Is creating a clever workaround a good solution? And how is your SEO affected when you do that? In this Ask Yoast, I’ll discuss what you should consider before you go for a fix like that.

Saurabh emailed us a possible workaround for creating a category page:

I can’t style my category pages the way I want because they are dynamically generated. I thought of the following workaround: creating a regular page for each category, styling it and adding a blog module to show the right items and redirecting the default category to these pages. Is that a good solution, SEO wise?

Watch the video or read the transcript further down the page for my answer!

Building your category pages

“Well, from an SEO perspective, it might work, but it might make changing themes later on, really a bit of a hassle.

So, I would not do that. I would just go with the theme that already allows you to do what you want to do on the category pages themselves. That probably means you have to go with a bit more of a builder, something like DV, or Elementor or Beaver Builder which allows you to do a lot more on those pages. Good luck!”

Ask Yoast

In the series Ask Yoast, we answer SEO questions from our readers. Do you have an SEO-related question? A pressing SEO dilemma you can’t find the answer to? Send an email to [email protected], and your question may be featured in one of our weekly Ask Yoast vlogs.

Note: you may want to check our blog and knowledge base first, the answer to your question could already be out there! For urgent questions, for example about the Yoast SEO plugin not working properly, please contact us through our support page.

Read more: Using category and tag pages for SEO »

The post Ask Yoast: Workaround to create category page appeared first on Yoast.

10 Simple Ways To Make A Mobile-Friendly Website

Posted by on Aug 17, 2018 in SEO Articles | Comments Off on 10 Simple Ways To Make A Mobile-Friendly Website

10 Simple Ways To Make A Mobile-Friendly Website

10 Simple Ways To Make A Mobile-Friendly Website

What is Mobile-Friendly Website?

As the name implies, a mobile-friendly website is a site designed, developed and optimized for users on mobile devices – and this is both more complex and more important than it seems.

On the most fundamental level, users want content that’s easy to view. If your text and pictures are too small, they’ll grow frustrated and leave – so appropriately-sized content is critical.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to create – mobile phones and tablets come in many different sizes and resolutions, so there’s no one format that will display perfectly on every device.

To solve this, today’s website templates are moving into a scaling format where they can quickly adjust to the device they’re displaying on.

Is My Website Mobile-Friendly?

Checking whether you have a mobile friendly view or not is easy – Google has a Google mobile site test called Webmaster Tool to do exactly that, and it’s accessible right here.

All you need to do is insert the URL of your web page and click on the ANALYZE button.

Google’s test will then analyze your website and display the result.

Analyzing your web page might take awhile…

You’ll see something like this if your web page isn’t mobile-friendly, Google will even list down why your web page isn’t mobile-friendly and suggest solutions for it:

Your mobile website design will look like this when mobile-friendly:

Why is being Mobile-Friendly Important?

In 2018, the percentage of users that are accessing the internet through some sort of mobile device is increasing consistently while the percentage of desktop users are heading in the opposite direction.

Just look at the graph below and you’ll have a clear picture of the trend, and it doesn’t take much to figure that one day, mobile users will outnumber desktop users by a lot.

Data from January 2017 to August 2018 shows how important a mobile-friendly website is.

If that graph isn’t enough to convince you to make your website mobile-friendly, this should – Google has recently updated their search engine algorithm to prioritize websites that are mobile-friendly on mobile searches. This means that even high-quality websites won’t be ranked highly for mobile searches if they’re not mobile-friendly.

In other words, you could be losing out on half or more of your potential visitors. Given today’s searching climate, making your website mobile-friendly is extremely important for your SEO – even if you have to build an entirely new site – is a (relatively) small investment to ensure you can maintain a steady stream of visitors.

If you’re still trying to figure out how to make a website mobile friendly, here are 10 simple things you can do to tighten up your code and make sure everything functions the way you want it to.

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Tips to Optimize Your Website for Mobile
1) Use Media Queries

I know, this sounds like you’re going to talk to a reporter or something – but the ‘media’, in this case, is the content that you’re delivering to a user.

Media queries allow you to ask a device what size it is, then direct the browser to display things following the set of CSS that you have set.

Media queries are a key part of most mobile-friendly sites, but you’ll need to be sure that the system is properly configured for all devices currently in use – not just the two or three most popular. Make sure you actually look at the list or have some kind of ongoing subscription that gets the information for you.

2) Use Frameworks like Bootstrap

There are many frameworks out there that you could use for free such as Foundation 3, Skeleton or TukTuk. One of the more popular framework is Twitter’s Bootstrap.

Bootstrap is a front-end framework for your site designed to quickly and automatically scale your web page to any device. Using a pre-built system is much easier than trying to code every possible combination by yourself – and it’s much less of a headache as well.

However, you will need to check any framework you’re using for full compatibility with your existing site and goals. The more custom coding and functions your site has, the more difficult it may be to ensure everything works properly on a mobile device – don’t be afraid to call in an expert if you really need the help.

3) Don’t Disable the Submit Button

Mobile devices are popular, but many of them still aren’t entirely reliable – and this can be a headache for users who click a ‘Submit’ button only to have their connection drop out and see the button disable itself so they can’t try again. Trying to prevent repeat submissions is an admirable goal, but the realities of mobile connections means it’s not good to prevent them in this way.

4) Use a Responsive Theme on CMS

Responsive themes – such as those from Somothemes – make it easier to ensure a high-quality display for your users. This is something that many companies overlook when they’re trying to become mobile-friendly, and they shouldn’t – because what your users experience is far more important than how easy something is to code.

Moderne theme from Somothemes

Ideally, you’ll be able to get the best of both worlds – and responsive themes are outstanding for casual sites that don’t need a whole lot of customization in order to succeed.

5) Use Percentages

In the past, most people thought about pictures in terms of pixels – but the widely different resolutions on mobile devices mean that having a single size for images is an inherently bad idea. It just doesn’t work – so don’t do it.

Instead, configure things like images to have a certain specific width on the page – typically 100% unless you have a reason to do otherwise. This helps to provide a consistent viewing experience on many different devices and ensure that each image offers as much impact as possible.

6) Focus on Simple Designs

One major way mobile users differ from desktop users is their preference for simple site designs. This is a practical matter as much as anything else – things that are large and complicated will all but inevitably become slow on a mobile device, and one of their main demands is instant delivery of the content they want.

Simple designs also make it easy to keep their attention on the content you want them to see – mobile users often have notoriously short attention spans, and there’s definitely a point where keeping things simple can be more valuable than investing in an elaborate, complex theme.

7) Make Sure You Didn’t Block Javascript, CSS, or Image Files

Java is not a flawless system, but it is widely used – and together with CSS and image files, it’s one of the backbones of a responsive, mobile-friendly site.

One of your main goals here is trying to make your website universally compatible. It should display on practically any device that people would care to view it on, and for the most part, that means using software and coding that are universally accepted. The more specialized something is, the less likely your site will be compatible.

8) Optimize Image Size

When you’re dealing with mobile devices, the goal is to create images that have the smallest possible file size while still looking crisp and clear on whatever screen it’s being viewed on. This is because the bandwidth of mobile devices are much smaller compared to desktop’s and causes longer loading time.

So if you need your users to download a 1MB jpeg file just so they can see a thumbnail-sized image, they’re going to be frustrated and leave your site.

Remember, mobile friendliness isn’t just about having a nice site design – it’s about improving the user’s experience, and the load times they go through are a major part of that experience. Shrinking the file sizes uses less of their data (if they’re on a limited plan), helps load the page faster, and generally contributes to a positive image of your site.

9) Don’t Use Flash

Broadly speaking, mobile devices do not support Flash. The reasons for this are less important than the reality – if your website is still relying on Flash, then it’s not going to display properly on any mobile device.

Flash is an obsolete technology and nobody loves Flash, even on desktop. Even if you think you need to use Flash, you could find other technology that could replace Flash, so to be smart and safe, do not use Flash.

Switch to a compatible technology like HTML instead – and remember that if you want to do something complicated on a mobile device, it’s best to relegate it to the realms of apps.

10) Use Standard Fonts

Custom, creative fonts can help a website look nice, but mobile users don’t want to be constantly prompted to download new fonts to their phone – in fact, it’s more likely that they’d instantly reject any such request and navigate to a different website instead.

Fortunately, most of today’s devices come with a wide variety of fonts pre-installed, and chances are you’ll be able to use these when designing your site. There’s one more thing to note, though – some fonts are easier (or harder) to read at different sizes, so be sure you check the readability of your font before you’re done with your updates.

Final Advice

Finally, we have one more design tip to share with you: remember your directions. The average desktop is a horizontal screen – sure, we may scroll up and down, but it’s wide.

Mobile phones, on the other hand, are tall and narrow – so the width of your content is an important consideration. Whether you’re creating drop-down menus, adding pictures, or playing a video, always remember the direction of the device and how people will view the content.

And if all else fails, there’s no shame in relying on some professionals to fix your website to make it mobile-friendly. This might require some investment, but with the increasing amount of mobile users and Google’s updated algorithm, you could say that it’s a calculated and worthy investment to make.

10 Simple Ways to Make Your Website #Mobilefriendly. #Mobilegeddon.
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This post was originally written by Zhi Yuan and published on Aug 12, 2015. It was most recently updated on Aug 17, 2018

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