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Mobile Search – Rankings on Google

Do you remember when Google updated its mobile algorithm earlier this year? This was the wake up call businesses needed to finally implement mobile-friendly websites.

Yet some companies are not seeing the Google mobile search rankings they want, despite their best efforts to align with the new demands of digital behavior.

Here are three suggestions we have for improving your page rankings in Google mobile search:

Optimize for Local

Joint research by Google and Ipsos MediaCT shows that 56 percent of searches done on smartphones have local intent. This means more than half of smartphone users are looking for a business or service near to them. Can your business be found easily by local users?

To make sure, update your Google+ business page with your current address, phone number, and hours of operation. Encourage customers to leave reviews on Google+, as they are factored into mobile search rankings.

Note: Since Google reduced the amount of local business listings it shows in mobile search results, it is even more critical that all parts of your Google+ page are updated.

The “3-pack” shows just three local business listings in Google mobile search rankings.

The “3-pack” shows just three local business listings in Google mobile search rankings.

Eliminate Sneaky Mobile Redirects

Are you redirecting mobile users to different pages than those who click-through on desktop? If so, Google says “redirecting mobile users sneakily to a different content is bad for user experience and is against Google’s webmaster guidelines.” So not only is this likely annoying mobile users; it is also a violation of best practices in mobile search.

The exception is if you are redirecting mobile users to a page that offers a better user experience, such as redirecting from sample.com/stuff to m.sample.com/stuff.

Avoid Interstitials

If you are trying to promote a mobile app, then it can be tempting to use interstitial ads – those that pop up when someone clicks your link and arrives at your webpage – to force users to see your ad about downloading your app. However, many interstitials cover the majority of the screen, making it impossible for the user to see any of the actual page content. This approach has been shown to increase bounce rates on mobile pages and have little to no impact on app downloads.

Interstitial ads are determined to be so disruptive to users that on November 2, 2015, Google confirmed “pages with app install interstitial that hides a significant amount of content on the transition from the search results page won’t be considered mobile-friendly.”

If you are currently using interstitial ads to encourage app downloads, then we recommend using a smaller, less intrusive ad format to improve mobile search rankings on Google.

What changes have you noticed in your Google search rankings on mobile, since updating your web pages or local listings?