In my last article, I discussed How Location & Small Screen Size Impact Search Behavior On Mobile Devices, and the main conclusion was that the user behavior is significantly impacted.
So, mobile SEO deserves a special treatment of its own. This, of course, means that once the user arrives from search to your landing pages, his/her behavior does not change suddenly. The same constraints of location and small screen size apply on landing pages, and that is why it is very important to take this aspect seriously if you get any significant or important mobile traffic.
Do I Really Need Separate Landing Pages For Mobiles?
I hear you that developing custom landing pages for mobile screen sizes is a significant investment, both in terms of time and money. Moreover, you cannot forget the continued investment you need to commit for maintaining and upgrading those mobile-friendly pages and websites. Is such an effort really worth it?
Wait, did I just write “mobile-friendly”?
There’s a big difference between websites that are mobile-friendly and websites that are specifically developed for mobiles, the ones that use special features like pinching and zooming and take notice of the fact that limited screen size poses constraints of a different kind.
With most modern smartphones, I’d go on to say that most websites (unless they were coded in the IE6 era and never updated) are mobile friendly. Fire up your iPhone or Android Phone and you would be able to view any website perfectly. So thanks to the latest mobile browsers, the phrase mobile-friendly is really a superfluous tag.
How To Develop A Made-For-Mobiles Landing Page
If your business is serious about mobile device usage, what it needs to do is to invest in making sure your website and landing pages have versions that are made exclusively with mobiles in mind. Since limited screen size on mobiles and their on-the-go usage pose special constraints, simply retouching your existing website to make it “mobile-friendly” will not suffice.
Following are some of the things you need to take care of if you want to maximize your sales and conversions on mobiles:
1. Users should be able to read the page without zooming.
It is crucial for your mobile screen to be just big enough so the user can view the entire landing page without having to zoom or scroll up and down. You don’t want your call-to-action (CTA) being placed at a location on your landing page which isn’t easily viewable and consequently, inaccessible to the user.
Often, it is observed that mobile phone users do not care to zoom or scroll up and down a webpage. One reason could well be the fact that such users who view webpages extensively on a mobile phone are usually on the go and often in a rush. Another could be human-interaction factors such as mobile phone designs, screen shapes, keypad usability and comfort, etc. But, you’ve got the idea, keep it wide enough!
2. Place your content in a way so as to focus on all important elements.
Since screen size is always a critical factor that determines the amount of exposure your viewer can have; it is always advisable to place crucial content in the right places. If there is an important element on your website that you want to make visible immediately, especially with the ones that affect conversion rates, always make it noticeable immediately to the user.
It could well mean that you would have to enlarge it amidst other insignificant elements, or place it in key areas, but CTA location will be the key to your conversion rates.
3. Minimize the content; make it simple, consistent and easily navigable.
Due to screen-size constraints, it is not easy for a mobile user to navigate through a website. Hence, it is of paramount importance that content should be prioritized, and a landing page loaded with excessive content should be avoided.
All links and action buttons should lead the user to the heart of information, making a clear path to the actions you want the user to perform.
Users may not have enough patience to go through large chunks of text to arrive at information about content they are looking specifically for. However, as always, a picture says a thousand words instead. It is very advisable to convey messages through highly appealing graphics.
4. Make navigation easy and simple.
Navigation features should be made as simple as possible. To have content throughout the website readily accessible to the user, you have to include a search bar, back-to-home, menu options and other significant buttons in the right places for easy navigation.
Action buttons should be of prominent and noticeable sizes, and they should have enough spacing to actually have the users scroll comfortably using their fingers.
5. Scalability issues across screen sizes should not be neglected.
Even though it is equally important, by scalability, I don’t mean the ability of a website to handle the traffic. It is disappointing to have a webpage that doesn’t scale to all mobile devices since there are at least over 500 different screen sizes between Android, iPhone, Windows, Blackberry and tablets, thus making it difficult to have a truly optimized landing page for all mobile phones.
New paradigms such as responsive design really help in making sure the website is displayed perfectly across different screen sizes.
6. Make sure your page scales to both landscape and portrait views.
Tilt in a mobile device is a regularly used function, so do not assume that your visitors will only view your website in the portrait mode. Also ensure that your webpage is coded on technologies like HTML and not on Flash since it is not compatible with all mobile phone browsers.
7. Fonts and appearances do matter.
Although it may not seem apparent, fonts do make a significant difference to the user experience, especially when the scope of vision is limited. Only content that is strikingly different in appearance will stand out from the pack.
You must create a visually appealing effect in the minds of your readers wherein a crucial chunk of information is given its due importance.
8. Make it load faster for the reduced attention span of your user.
Unlike a bigger screen which can draw the attention of a user for a longer period of time, you do not enjoy such privileges. Hence, it is best to make your page load faster by avoiding unnecessary objects that increase page loading time such as heavy images, frames, bigger pages, flash, etc.
9. Use the geo-location of the visitor to personalize your website.
On mobiles, it is easier to get a more accurate location of the visitor than is possible on desktops. In fact, using technologies such as Geolocation API, you can get exact GPS coordinates, if available.
Now, if your business has a significant offline presence, you can do all sorts of magic, such as inviting your visitors to visit your offices or factories, if they are nearby.
Or, you could show them the location of your nearest outlet with distance from their current location. Depending on the business case, the opportunities to use the geolocation data are limitless.
10. A/B test what works best on mobiles!
Being in the A/B testing industry for years (disclaimer: I’m CEO of the company behind Visual Website Optimizer), I have come to fall in love with A/B testing, and my favorite tip has become: ignore all the tips!
Traditionally, A/B testing has been limited to the usual websites and landing pages. However, as we have seen, mobiles pose the unique constraint of their limited screen size and also provide us an extra signal of visitor geo-location.
The nine tips mentioned above should be taken as a guideline to help test your own hypotheses. It is quite likely that your visitors do not like the use of their geo-location for customizing the experience for them. Or it is also likely that you reduce text to such an extent that your visitors start feeling uncertain about your products or services.
It is very important to treat the tips as a way to generate ideas for your A/B and multivariate tests to optimize sales and conversions. With today’s tools and technologies, developing and executing A/B tests specifically for mobiles has become very easy and cost effective.
I hope you appreciated the 10 tips and that these tips may serve as a quick checklist while you go about developing your made-for-mobile webpages and landing pages. In case you think an important factor has been missed in the list, I’m happy to discuss in the comments below!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.