Mobile continues to be a major player in search as more and more people use smart phones to access websites for entertainment and information.

The latest reports from Google and Hitwise show that nearly 60 percent of search now from mobile devices. The Hitwise data is based on analysis of 11 key search categories and hundreds of millions of search categories.

The Hitwise report showed that the Food and Beverage category had the highest percentage of mobile searches, while Banking was the category with the lowest number of searches.

Whether you are in the food business or banking, you still need to pay more attention to mobile. The number of searches by mobile users has steadily grown, and it will only continue to grow. A future in which desktop computers are obsolete is very possible.

Here are a few things you should be doing to rank your site higher in mobile search:

Choose Long-Tail Keywords

The data from Hitwise showed that search terms with more characters got more searches on mobile.

On average, mobile search terms had 15.5 characters, compared with just 13.8 for desktop search terms.

You can rank more quickly in mobile by choosing long-tail keywords. You’ll more accurately match your content with what your users are looking for, and you’ll reduce the competition you face. The longer the keyword phrase, the more specific it becomes, and the easier it is to narrow in on your audience.

Improve Site Speed

Mobile users don’t have time to sit and wait for a page to load. They are checking the web on the go, so they are already indicating that they are in a hurry.

If your page loads slowly, users are going to leave your site, which will increase your bounce rate drastically and reduce your search ranking. Google has also said that it favors mobile sites that load quickly in its search rankings.

The best-ranking sites on mobile take just over a second to load. If your page takes any longer than two or three seconds to load, you are going to lose visitors and search ranking.

If you aren’t sure how fast your site loads, use a speed tester and get definitive answers. Then you can take steps to improve speed if necessary, such as by minimizing the size of images and videos, using a cache plugin, and removing flash software. Just use HTML5 instead of flash to get the same functionality without losing the speed.

Content Formatting

Mobile content should not only be shorter than desktop, but it should also be formatted so that it is easy to skim.

That means that mobile content should heavily feature bulleted lists, bold words, short sentences, short paragraphs, and subheaders. The content shouldn’t be more than 800 words or so, and it should be sparse on graphics. Only use images that really do something for the content, and make sure the images are properly formatted for smaller screens.

Mobile content should also use vocabulary that is easily readable by most audiences. On the Flesch readability scale, content should score in the mid-70s. That means that even those with a limited education will be able to easily read and understand your content.

Use Fewer Internal Links

Mobile content tends to have far fewer links than desktop content since users don’t tend to have the time or resources to click on a lot of web pages.

Both internal and inbound links are declining in importance to search rankings. However, that doesn’t meant that they are not important at all.

The right links can actually help you raise your search ranking.

For example, when you use CodeFuel’s In-tag, you get links to related content that is tailored to that particular user in that particular moment on that particular device. The platform draws on user-intent signals to understand exactly what the user would want to see based on the timing and the device being used.

When the right link is shown to a user, there is a much higher likelihood that the user will click through, which will earn you more page views and increase your visit times. It will also lower your bounce rate. All of these factors will improve your overall SEO, both on mobile and in desktop.

You can also use In-tag to advertise your site on other pages. Again, since the link will be shown at just the right time to just the right customers, you will get more clicks. That referral traffic will increase your overall search rankings, both with the increased visits and with the link from an authority site.

We are well past the time where you should be optimizing your site for mobile search. However, if you haven’t done so already, these tips will help you start ranking your site now.

Search 60 Percent of Searches Now from Mobile Devices