Chapter 4

UX Factors for Improving CTR

Mobile user experience and interface are just as vital if you want your mobile website to be attractive and not only bring in visitors, but keep them interested as well.

For this side of optimization, you should work closely with a web designer to help you with the implementation. His experience and keen eye, combined with your knowledge of Google recommendations and user behavior, should lead to an excellent result.

Small, but important technicalities that make your mobile site better

There are quite a few technical considerations for mobile sites that improve user experience and make them easy to browse through, read content on, and interact with. Some of them are:

  • Length of links

    Consider making your URLs as short and descriptive as possible, so readers can quickly tell what the pages are about. While this is also a valid point for desktop SEO, on mobile we're dealing with an even shorter space. You could start by testing how your URLs are viewed on mobile devices, and adapting them for this first.

  • Link proximity

    Links within a mobile page should be at considerable distance from each other, so users can click on those they actually want, and not a different one by mistake.

  • Legible fonts

    Although this is a relevant factor for a desktop site too, it might bear even more importance on its mobile version, where the screen is smaller. The Google Developers website offers very helpful content with the necessary recommendations for choosing readable fonts.

Optimize CAPTCHA to help users complete fewer actions

CAPTCHAs can be a great way of securing your site and making sure no malicious bots access it. But the problem is when poorly executed, they can turn into a frustrating experience even for desktop users, let alone mobile users.

If it's acceptable for a desktop user to have to re-enter the CAPTCHA code because they couldn't get it right the first time, a mobile phone user will get frustrated even on the first try. They might have to zoom in on the bar to be able to click on it, and then move between keyboard functions to input lower and upper case letters and numbers.

Things to do:
  • Optimize your CAPTCHA codes for mobile phones. New technologies have reimagined this method of discrimination between humans and bots. Instead of presenting the user with an alphanumeric code, they now provide a set of images and ask the user to click the image corresponding to the description given.
  • There are many companies that offer image-based CAPTCHAs; you should check out several offers before signing off on anything, and determine which solution would be best for you. Another option is trying Google reCAPTCHA.
Google recaptcha

Optimize long forms for conversion rate growth

Just like with CAPTCHAs, it is much more difficult for mobile users to sign up and complete forms on a smaller, narrow screen. The longer the form on a mobile landing page, the higher chances are users will not sign up for a newsletter, eBook or demo on your site while browsing on a mobile phone.

Things to do:
  • Using tools like Google Analytics, you can check and see which pages on your website are most visited for mobile searches. If the pages have a potential for conversion, you might consider optimizing them for mobile by adding forms, or adapting existing ones so that users can easily sign up or subscribe for services you offer.
  • Enable autocomplete on long forms, or allow users to sign up using Google or Facebook accounts. Here is where Google recommends autocomplete and gives more details on the matter, instructing webmasters on how to implement these changes.

Add a click-to-call button to increase consumer engagement

In order to increase consumer engagement with mobile users, you can add a click-to-call button on pages designed for conversion.

Click-to-call buttons allow visitors to contact you directly without having to complete too many actions. Statistics have shown that click-to-call is an essential part of on-boarding customers online. The study, commissioned by Google in 2013, goes on to show that 70% of mobile searchers used the call button, 39% of which used it frequently. These numbers have very likely grown (and still are) as more businesses optimize their sites for mobile to offer users fuller experiences and new useful features.

Click-to-call chart

Especially on mobile, a lot of the searches that occur are about finding an immediate, or even local solution to a problem, such as making dinner reservations, calling for a car towing service, and so on.

Things to do:
  • Depending on the type of business you run, or the type of mobile site you have, determine whether a click-to-call button is something that should show up on all pages of the mobile site, or whether just some pages would lead to conversions.
  • Consider whether your company/business should also implement click-to-text (sms or mms) or click-to-video services. Would you incur any benefits from doing that?
  • Check out the Google Developers website for best implementation practices.

Add social share buttons

You should encourage users and make it easy for them to share your content. Social media signals have the same importance on mobile (still not ranking factors, though!), and with Google saying that more searches occur now on mobile than they do on desktop, you need to make sure users are prompted to share, like, pin and tweet your content too.

Things to do:
  • Consider which social media platforms mobile users are most likely to use, and apply buttons for those only, to avoid cluttering the screen.
  • Make sure the buttons are large and clear enough (or well spaced enough - see designing for the fat finger) so users don't press the wrong one by mistake, and consider placing them at the bottom of the screen to avoid interrupting content consumption or ruining an otherwise pleasant mobile user experience.

Having your site name replace the URL could draw users attention

Because there's less space to work with on mobile, Google has introduced a feature that replaces URLs with site or company names, thus making results appear cleaner and easier to scan for users.

Possible adjacent SEO advantages could be improved CTR and increased brand awareness because the name of your business will start to stand out in listings and users will remember it.

Mobile users scan content even more than they do on desktop, so while they're viewing the ten blue links on mobile, drawing their attention with your name rather than an URL might make that CTR difference.

Replace the URL
Things to do:
  • Ask Google to show your site name instead of the URL by applying some markup requirements.
  • Choose your site or company name, or something similar if these are too long. The point is to remain relevant and recognizable to users.
  • Closely related to structured markup data, enabling breadcrumbs allows Google to follow site name with a trail of links that lead to more important pages on your site, such as archive or about pages, categories or subcategories.