There are more people accessing the internet with their mobile phones, than with any other device. Yet many websites are still not mobile friendly and are not even designed to adjust to different screen size. Optimization for mobile devices considers the site design, structure, speed, and other factors to make sure you’re not turning mobile visitors away without knowing it.

As mobile continues to overpower desktop users, having a mobile-first design with SEO only makes sense. Search engine giants like Google are continuously changing their algorithm to provide a better user experience. Google now uses “mobile-friendly” websites as a ranking factor in their search results.

The following tips are crucial when designing your mobile-friendly website:

1. Super-Fast Page Speed

Don’t lose your visitors! Make sure your server is up to par. The quicker a web page loads, the more engagement you will get from users. Nobody likes waiting — particularly when you’re talking about the internet on a mobile device. According to Think with Google, the average mobile websites’ load times for bounced sessions were about 2.5 seconds slower than non-bounced sessions. Some simple ways to do this: compressing larger images, utilizing cache, and eliminating redirects.

2. Assume Users Have Fat Fingers

With a mobile-first design, you should be able to navigate a touch screen easily by scrolling regardless of whether you have large fingers or thumbs. Ensure your mobile design caters to this for a better user experience.

3. Avoid Using Pop-Ups

Google’s new algorithm update that was released in January of this year, will now penalize businesses that use pop-ups on their mobile sites. Smaller pop-ups such as tiny banners or age verification boxes should still be okay. However, if the pop-up is a stand alone and covers the majority of your page making it difficult to proceed to the website, this will have a major effect on your SEO and user experience.

4. Ditch the Flash

Most web designers today have already phased out the use of flash, but they are still out there. What was once seen as visually cool, is now more of an annoyance for users. It’s horrendous for SEO. Flash is extremely insecure — more than any other web application making it a very popular target for hackers. To make matters worse, it also reduces the amount of content that’s visible to Google’s indexing bots.

Flash plugins may not be available on a user’s phone, which means they’ll likely just leave your website instead of installing a new plugin on their phone. If you want to create special effects, use HTML5 instead.

5. Include a Viewport Meta Tag

A viewport meta tag tells your browser the scaling and sizing information it needs to fit the screen. You can’t “see” the viewport on the web page, but it’s very much needed. Otherwise, depending on the device used, scaling and sizes on your mobile site can be all out of whack

For more information on mobile-friendly websites and why it’s crucial that you have one, visit: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/mobile-friendly-websites-why-its-crucial-that-yours-is-friendly-too/