With nearly 40 percent of all internet traffic coming from mobile devices, it’s essential that your website is ready to be viewed while people are on the go. Having a mobile-ready website isn’t just important for user’s sake, but also for Google. The search company has started to apply more weight to factors like usability and load time when it comes to where sites will be placed in SERPs. Nothing is more frustrating than getting buried in search rankings, which is why it’s important to not handicap yourself ahead of time.

Three routes to mobile optimization

There are three primary ways to prepare your website for the mobile web: responsive design, mobile-only websites and dynamic serving. Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each method is crucial when deciding which is best for your site, and we’re here to break it down for you.

Shape shift with responsive design

It’s probably safe to say most internet users don’t like using a website if it’s cumbersome to navigate on their smartphone or tablet. And seeing more of people are using handheld devices to access the web than ever before, you want an easy-to-use website that works both in desktop and mobile environments. Of all the mobile optimization tools, responsive design is the most comprehensive. It not only gives your site the ability to shift its layout based on what device it’s being viewed from, it also allows you to use one URL. This means that unlike mobile websites, which often appear as “m.website.com,” your site will always be “www.website.com,” regardless of device. By using responsive design, your site will load quickly and be easy to use, making your customers happy and increasing your mobile conversions.

Serve your site dynamically

When you set up dynamic serving for your website, your site detects the device a user is on and sends the appropriate design based on that device. It’s similar to responsive design in that your website only has one URL, but the content seen by users could be completely different than that on the desktop site. This is a solid option if you want to provide less information in the mobile environment to decrease load time, but it can be a little more complicated to implement.

Send your customers to a mobile-only site

While not as all encompassing as responsive design, mobile websites still can serve a place in today’s internet, though they are a bit more convoluted with respect to search engines. With this method, you are actually serving two different websites to your customers depending which device they are accessing your site from. For example, if someone heads to your site via a smartphone, it will load a different website than if they were accessing from a desktop. This method can be effective because it allows you to control exactly how your site looks in the mobile environment, but it requires a little more SEO work.

Having your rel=”canonical” URLs set up is absolutely essential if you’re going to go with a mobile site. If you don’t, Google and Bing might think there’s duplicate content between your mobile site and your desktop site, which can effect your rankings. Before you launch a mobile site, always double check your SEO work to ensure everything is up to snuff. Otherwise, your site could suffer in the long run.

Take a listen for more info!

Want to learn more about mobile website optimization and how to implement it on your website? Listen to the TM SEO Web Talk Radio show!

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