With mobile-first indexing recently being rolled out, it’s out with the old and in with the new. Here’s how you can up your mobile user engagement in 8 easy steps.
According to Google, user engagement is the number one metric to measure. User engagement comes in many different forms and varies from business to business. Some basic examples include:
- Discussion forums
- Discussion threads on social media
- Comments on blog posts
- Social sharing
- User participation, for example, user generated content or surveys.
- Positive reinforcements in the form of ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ on social media platforms.
User engagement promotes familiarity and helps to build a loyal audience. When users interact with content creators and other readers, a sense of community can be found within your brand.
The domino effect of user engagement also helps to promote your content. If there is an interesting debate going on in the comments section, more people are likely to get involved.
Generating interest effectively builds brand awareness and increases visibility. So it makes sense that monitoring user engagement helps you to measure how your content is performing.
We have all known this for a while. However, tactics we’ve used in the past are due for an update thanks to the major shift mobile-first indexing has caused.
This year, Google made the much-anticipated change over to mobile first indexing. Before, the desktop version of your site was the most important. However, this change means that the search engine’s algorithm uses the mobile version of your website to index pages instead.
With current trends, the other search engines are sure to follow suit. Why? Simply put, mobile currently accounts for half of all global web pages served. Along with this, in 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through smartphones. Just a year saw a major increase from 50.3 percent in 2017.
It’s easy to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to mobile engagement. If you have already learned the basics of increasing mobile user engagement, you just need to update this knowledge so it can be applied to your mobile site.
Read More: A Simple Guide to Fast Indexing on Google
1. Improve Speed
To accompany mobile-first indexing, Google just announced the release of a new ranking algorithm specifically for mobile search.
This comes as no surprise as if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, 40% of visitors will leave your website. What’s more is 80% of those visitors won’t come back.
We all know that to improve user experience, drive traffic and move up in the ranks, you need to improve your page’s loading speed. If your page takes forever to load, it’ll lead to a higher bounce rate and little to no engagement.
Known as the “speed update”, it pretty much does what it says on the tin. Before, we paid much more attention to the loading speed of our desktop sites. Now, we need to give our mobile sites the same treatment when it comes to speed.
Google has stated that the speed update will only impact web pages that “deliver the slowest experience to users”. So it’s a good idea to use the newly updated PageSpeed report to measure page loading times. Luckily, you have time to make improvements before the update goes live in July.
Improving your mobile pages’ loading speed is simple with these hacks:
- Use a browser cache. We can’t take credit for this one as this handy trick came straight from Google. They recommend caching your site to make it faster.
- Compress all images. Once you reduce the file size of your images, they’ll load way faster. For WordPress users, you can easily do this using a plug-in like Smush Image Compression.
- Use a CDN. A CDN or content delivery network reduces latency and makes your website load up to three times faster.
- Use accelerated mobile pages (AMP) code.
- Get rid of pop-ups ads — we can all agree these are twice as annoying on mobile.
- Reduce server response time.
- Make sure the content at the top loads before the content lower down.
- Cut-down on navigation and redirects — instead, optimize your site for scrolling.
Top Tip: Even after you make these improvements, you should continue to regularly test your page speed. This will tell you if any new content or updates are increasing your loading time. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights to perform a quick check-up and avoid slow loading pages.
2. Expedite Mobile Checkout Process
You want to make the road to the checkout as efficient and painless as possible. Consider that every extra bump in the road increases customers rethinking their purchase and backing out. You don’t want your customers to back out before they reach their destination.
You can make the check-out process go smoothly by:
- Making the navigation as easy as possible to follow
- Auto-filling previous payment information to speed up checkout
- Saving a customer’s items to their cart
- Saving items that customers have previously viewed
- Allowing users to make wishlists of items they wish to buy at a later date.
Although it is getting more and more popular, there are still many customers who will avoid purchasing items on their mobile devices. The main reason for this is because the checkout process can be quite glitchy or difficult to use. Often they will consider entering credit card information over public wifi as risky — the tiny keys of our mobiles don’t help either.
One way to overcome these obstacles is to integrate tried and tested payment services like PayPal. Customers will feel more comfortable going through these reliable and secure services.
To increase mobile user engagement, make the checkout process as painless as you can — that means as few clicks as possible.
3. Implement a Deep Linking Strategy
Deep linking uses a uniform resource identifier (URI) that links to a specific location in a mobile app or website. Instead of just launching the app or going to the site’s landing page, it takes the user exactly where they need to go.
Deep linking is especially useful for increasing mobile engagement as it allows users to deep link to content even if the app is not yet installed.
If you implement a deep linking strategy, you can easily direct your audience in the way you want them to go. Deep linking provides a more efficient user experience by cutting down the barriers blocking their desired action.
Deep linking is a great way to include links to content in your app, which can be accessed and shared in the same way weblinks can.
For example, you could send a push notification about a special promotion to selected users. Then, you can deep-link to the purchase page in your app/mobile site, where they can benefit from this promotion.
To make the most of deep links, you need to consider how you want to take your customers from point A to point B. With the help of deep linking, you can make their journey seamless. This will boost customer retention and mobile user engagement.
Links to website content, registration pages, and various other content that offers value to customers will make it easier than ever for your audience to engage in your apps.
4. Enable Social Sharing
Social media and mobile devices go hand in hand. 60% of time spent on social media is done via mobile devices. Obviously, sharing is a vital part of engaging and sharing from apps and other social platforms for mobile users.
It goes without saying that producing high-quality content is key here. In addition, if you want to make the most of the social habits of mobile users, you should add easy to use sharing buttons to your content. This is a great way to boost mobile user engagement and incentivize users to share your content.
5. Improve Customization with Push Notifications
Push notifications are a great way to keep your users updated.
Most mobile apps support push notifications so your business should seize this opportunity to keep your audience engaged. These notifications are attention grabbing and can bring users back to your brand.
A great way to use push notification to enhance mobile user engagement and experience is to personalize them to the needs of each user. This will make them appear less intrusive and help your company provide an individualized experience.
Time-sensitive promotions are a clever way to use push notifications to increase mobile engagement.
You can also use notifications to advertise promotions. Reward your customers with special offers and promo-codes by alerting their attention to time limited offers.
To get that extra engagement boost, use location-based tracking so if customers are nearby, they can use these offers.
6. Consider AMP
Google’s Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) speed up everything on mobile devices.
Since 2015, the initiative has set new standards and considerably improved mobile pages. Instantaneous information, fast-loading content, and unrestricted mobile browsing are facilitated by AMP.
AMP is a great way to increase mobile engagement and enhance user experience. AMP HTML makes mobile sites easier to use and more efficient.
You can find everything you need to know to build your AMP pages, whether you are starting from scratch or converting existing content using the AMP project’s quick start guide.
Read More: Attention Span is the New Currency
7. Optimize Content for Mobile
We use smartphones and tablets in a very different way to desktop devices. When we browse the web on our phones, we are usually out and about, in an informal setting, and looking to get information quickly.
Mobiles are being used more and more for online shopping, quick answers, and, of course, social media.
Other key considerations are simple things like screen area and scrolling which shouldn’t be overlooked.
If you want to make the most of mobile user engagement, you need to optimize your content for mobile behavior.
Mobile viewers only spend about 10-15 seconds viewing a page. They want clear and concise information in the shortest amount of time possible. This means, in most cases, you need to cut down your word count.
Although you should consider that many people will still want to read high-quality content while on the go, in general, fewer words help to retain your viewer’s attention. When you read 500 words on your laptop, you may have to scroll down once. However, the same information can seem far longer on a mobile device.
To make the most engaging content you possibly can for mobile, you need to answer to your audience’s needs while also catering to their short attention spans.
Another key habit of users on mobile devices is watching videos. In fact, almost half of all video views are seen on mobile devices.
You should keep this in mind when deciding what content you want to promote on the mobile version of your site. Perhaps, a video should appear in the top spot on your mobile site while an ever-green resource should appear on your desktop site.
To make the most of mobile user engagement via video content make sure to use HYML5 instead of Flash plugin. It is likely that the Flash plugin will not be available on your viewer’s smartphone.
Read More: A Complete Guide to Mobile SEO in 2018
8. Implement Strong Calls to Action
Using strong calls to action will help you to increase mobile user engagement. It opens up space for dialogue and prompts your users to engage with your content.
This is just as important for desktop sites as it is for mobile. Use action words like ‘retweet’, ‘help’, and ‘follow’, to direct your audience. Asking questions is also a great way to start off a discussion and to get your audience to interact with each other. By spurring on information sharing and the exchange of ideas, you show your users that this is a place their participation will be valued.
Calls to action also spur on a sense of urgency in users. It makes them feel like it is their place to get involved and have their say.
Strong calls to action get your users involved and can help you to get insight into your niche community. In general, they shouldn’t just be used on blog posts. They are very effective when used on social media.
For example, you could start a discussion on Twitter or ask users to retweet. You could host polls on Facebook or Instagram and receive important feedback from your customers. They get to have their say, making them feel valued, while you get to listen to their opinions and needs which will help you to create better content.
Read More: 7 Extra Ways to Promote Your Content
So there you have it. Use a combination of technical tricks and common sense to make the all-around user experience of your website better. Once you do this, increased mobile user engagement will follow.