Mobile SEO in 2016 and Beyond

By Tinuiti Team

Did you know that 57 percent of mobile users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site? This statistic implies that most people want you to practice search marketing techniques that allow for easy searching, fast-loading web pages, and highly viewable mobile content.
Fortunately, Google is in the process of implementing exciting mobile SEO updates to keep up with growing mobile usage among consumers in 2016. These SEO updates touch on display advertising, search ranking, mobile-friendliness, page speed, and more. Some new Google tools are in the works, too.

Let’s dig into these upcoming search marketing trends deeper to uncover the ways you can enhance your mobile experience.

Accelerated mobile pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), a Google project, is being improved to add more visibility to mobile pages by expanding them to the entire organic search results page. They were originally included in only the “Top Stories” of Google News. AMP is only the most beneficial for Google News publishers, so try to make your way into the community to take advantage of this update for your search marketing purposes.

Improvements to ad monetization have been made for multi-size media requests. Publishers and advertisers can develop innovative, performant AMP format ad creatives, which will be delivered by supported ad servers later on.

Mobile-friendly algorithm updates

On top of AMP, Google has rolled out a mobile-friendly algorithm update to give websites an additional boost in search rankings. More specifically, the algorithm update is meant to “increase the effect of [mobile-friendly] ranking signal.”

The algorithm is a page-by-page signal, meaning it takes time for Google to assess each page. Therefore, the impact can be slow to show for your site, if it’s not already mobile-friendly. If it is, the update won’t impact you. If you’re unsure about the mobile-friendly status of your site, use Google’s new tool to evaluate how mobile-ready and fast it is.

It actually provides more details than the GSC test tool. Mobile results are compared to desktop results, too, such as page speed. You can even download a free report for more search marketing insights.

New page speed ranking algorithm factor

Speaking of page speed, Google will implement a page speed ranking factor into the evaluation of mobile sites’ effectiveness. This algorithm update will come in months rather than years. Google typically applies many ranking signals to mobile rankings that are based on desktop web pages, not mobile web pages.

So, having fast desktop web pages and slow mobile web pages doesn’t hurt mobile rankings. More specifically, this new page speed factor is expected to be added to Google’s mobile-friendly algorithm, cutting out the need for the desktop version. This update continues to simplify search marketing tasks.

Mobile search updates are in the works

Google is still working on a mobile-only search index. This index was first confirmed last year. The purpose of this index is based on the dramatic change in search percentages, with mobile gaining more than 50 percent of searches. It didn’t make sense to pursue this when desktop searches were the majority. This issue was announced at the 2016 Search Marketing Summit in Sydney.

Two areas Google strongly aims to improve are mobile links and page content. The mobile aspects of these things negatively impact mobile rankings. People don’t link to mobile content as much as desktop content. Also, mobile content sometimes lacks all the information that desktop content has, hurting the user experience.

On another note, Google is interested in training more people to produce conversational and question-based searches tied with voice search. Out of the more than 50 percent of mobile searches performed, 20 percent are done with voice search, confirmed by Google CEO Sundar Pichai at his Google I/O Keynote.

Impressed by these 2016 Google updates? Plan ahead to figure out how you can apply them all to your search marketing strategy effectively. Want more information about Google? Feel free to read How Feed Quality Affects Google Shopping.

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