What does search engine optimization (SEO) and mobile readiness have in common? A lot more than you think. In 2014, mobile readiness officially arrived, which means that most people now do their research on smartphones before making a buying decision (regardless of where that final purchase is made), and there are more people using mobile devices compared to desktops. Of course, it was also a year of Panda and Penguin updates.

What changes will mobile readiness bring to SEO? A few, but it’s also a reminder to keep up with SEO best practices in general. Heading into 2015, here are a few ways to let the mobile world drive your SEO strategy:

1. Speed (really) counts

The New York Times reports that users won’t wait long for a slow loading site, and it generally takes longer for pages to load on a mobile device rather than a desktop. Plus, speed is one of the ranking factors for SEO in general. Google doesn’t want users to be stuck waiting for a slow page to load when there are faster quality websites out there. There are many ways to increase your speed, such as getting a mobile version of a website (key in mobile readiness!), changing your web host, or ditching the flash.

In fact, there’s now a Mobile Optimization report just a click away where you can get SEO reports for your website’s optimization via mobile gadgets, complete with page speed (mobile and desktop) analysis. This is where and how you can find out whether your audience is getting your full mobile experience (or not!).

2. Embrace responsive design

Not all “mobile readiness” is responsive design. In its simplest form, responsive design is a way of designing a website so that it loads beautifully and quickly no matter what browser or device is being used. Another option for a user-friendly mobile experience is to have a mobile version of your site. Whatever option you choose, both of them have their pros and cons. Obviously, you will need to make sure your website looks great on the latest smartphone…but also on a five year old laptop. 

3. Content needs to be shorter and sweeter

“Content is king!” will continue to be the rally cry of SEO experts, but in a mobile world it needs to be shorter, more engaging and any images need to be properly sized and formatted. If you want to include more infographics on your site or blog (great idea!), check out Social Media Examiner’s tips on doing so the right way.

4. Keep a closer eye on your reviews

Reviews, for better or worse, play a key part in SEO and more and more users will be checking them out as they peruse their smartphone in line, on their commute or (sadly) even while on a date. While you can’t control the reviews of others, you can request that abusive reviews be removed, address the issues publicly and directly (while fixing  them), or encourage positive reviews by offering your customers an incentive for a write-up.

5. Speech to text is more prevalent

Right now, SEO keywords are often fragments because people will type in “dog grooming Tampa” instead of “find a dog groomer in Tampa.” However, speech to text technology is advancing, and it’s quite useful when you’re on a mobile device. People are more inclined to speak in the latter style because that’s how they talk. This means keyword variants might become (thankfully) more conversational and less like text speak.
Whether your site is mobile ready or not, it doesn’t matter because mobile readiness is in full swing. There’s still time to get your online presence up to snuff, but the window is swiftly closing. While you consider an app, mobile version of your website or both, don’t forget to think about how these changes are going to impact your SEO. For best results, hire an SEO professional who knows all the white hat tricks to get the results you want.