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SEO Self-Assessment Series: Mobile User Experience

Video 5: Mobile User Experience

Today we're talking about your mobile user experience as part of our eight-part, SEO self-assessment series. This video will provide a peak into which tools we use at Workshop Digital when we're assessing mobile sites. You can watch any of the videos at your own pace—although we do recommend watching each video in the series.


Today we're talking about the mobile site experience and how it can impact your organic search engine rankings and visibility. It's part of our eight-part SEO self-assessment video series. We’re putting out the videos in no particular order, so you can watch them in any order you choose and go at your own pace.

We're all familiar with the difference between a desktop device and a mobile device—and how different websites are rendered differently on different screen sizes. It's important for your SEO strategies as well, as Google is now crawling and indexing most sites as a mobile-first crawler, or smartphone-friendly crawler—which essentially means they're looking at your site, through the lens of a typical smartphone user, or screen size, to make sure that that experience is topnotch and that they're not putting anything in their index it's not going to appeal to somebody on a smaller screen. Google's projecting that in the future more web traffic is going to happen on smartphones and tablet-sized devices than on desktops. So, they're making sure that webmasters or web designers are prioritizing those things as well.

It's really easy to analyze your own site and assess whether or not your content is portrayed in a meaningful and valuable way to a smartphone visitor. And I'm going to show you some of the tools that we use at Workshop Digital when we're assessing websites and their mobile user experience.

The first is within Chrome itself. There's a Developer Tool in the View menu under Developer Tools. And we've explored this before, but there's a lot of valuable information in here that's going to share, or show you a lot of the backend or technical components of your website. Right now, we're most interested in the toggle device switch, which is right here in the bottom left of your screen. It's going to load up, or render, your website on as if you're viewing it on a smartphone. Most of us don't have a wide variety of devices lying around—iOS and Android devices and tablets of different sizes and screen configurations. So, this allows you to emulate different screen sizes and experience your site, or a different site, as if you were browsing from those devices.

In this case, we're looking at our site as if we're on an iPhone X, so a fairly large screen—but obviously you can dial that back and go back to older generations of phones with different screen sizes, and even look at it on Android devices as well to see if there are any differences in how your site is rendered across different screen sizes. Now in a lot of cases you're going to see different connection speeds come into play as well. Not all of us are browsing from lightning fast Wi Fi connections, all the time. You're also going to want to look at your site in the context of different load times. Whether you're on a 4G, or even an old fashioned 3G, network, it's going to really impact the user experience and your potential for ranking well in search results.

You can toggle in this menu between online—which would be Wi-Fi, or connected to the internet through a broadband connection—a mid-tier and a low-tier mobile option, which are essentially 4G and 3G speeds. If you actually go to your site and you load up a different page, as if you're browsing from a 4G or mid-tier connection, you're going to notice a dramatic slowdown in how quickly things load, so this gives you a little bit more empathy for the visitors on your site and what they're experiencing as are their browsing. I would encourage you to spend some time playing around with this emulator in Chrome Developer Tools just to get a sense for how your site is being portrayed across different devices.

The next is data directly coming from Google Search Console itself. Search Console is a tool we've talked about many times in this series. There's a particular report in here that's valuable for the mobile user experience. It's called Mobile Usability—no surprise—Google is going to give you a lot more information about what they see when they crawl your site. In this case, we're seeing for our site, 100% of the pages are valid, which means they have a great mobile user experience. And none of the pages are coming up with errors. Although in this case, if Google were to spot something that would create a less than ideal user experience on a smartphone, they're going to point that out to you, along with some suggestions on how to fix it.

Those are a couple of quick tools that we use at Workshop Digital to assess mobile websites—so hopefully you can put them to use on your site and bring your SEO up to speed and match users where they are and fulfill all their expectations.

Thanks for watching the fifth video in our eight-part series. For more information on how to analyze your SEO strategy on your own, check out the remaining videos below.

Learn More About Your SEO Strategy

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1. On-Site Elements

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On-site elements are important for visitors as well as search engines. Learn if your site’s basic on-page factors meet these standards and cater to your end users.

2. Website Content

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Do you have a discernible content strategy that aids in copy and design decisions? Learn why visitors and search engines should understand your content.

3. Link Profile

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Search engines place more value on pages and sites with high quality inbound links. Learn more about your link profile.

4. Desktop Site Speed

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Search engines favor fast load times because they provide a better user experience. Learn more about your link profile.

5. Mobile User Experience

(You are here.)

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Is your website accessible and easy to navigate on mobile devices? This video discusses your mobile user experience.

6. Website Analytics

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Learn why visitor and conversion data is essential to understanding how well your site is performing and identifying areas to improve.

7. Local Search Visibility

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Search engines place more value on pages and sites with high quality inbound links. Learn more about your link profile.

8. Historical Keyword Rankings

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Monitoring your digital footprint is essential for prioritizing opportunities and identifying competitors. This video reviews the importance of keyword rankings.