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SEO Best Practices: Is the Header Sticky for Mobile?

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
a golden colored background with text "is the header sticky for mobile?" that shows the word sticky in prominent white letters. to the left of the title is a smartphone with a honeycomb dripping honey on the screen

According to one report by Bluespace, 75% of users surveyed were more likely to revisit a website if it was mobile-friendly. It's imperative that business owners hold on to those potential leads. Incorporating a sticky header is a simple way to do so.

What is a Sticky Header?

We love this succinct explanation of the power of a sticky header from NN Group:

“Sticky headers (or persistent headers) are a common pattern for keeping the header of a website or app in the same place on the screen while the user scrolls down the page. They increase the discoverability of the elements in the header and the chance that users will take advantage of them.”

The old adage is true for any content marketing call to action: if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind. And most site visitors won't search for what to do next. A sticky header keeps header buttons within sight of the user. People never lose the opportunity to take action and move through your website, no matter how far they scroll down on a page.

Creating a sticky header depends on which tools you’re using for website design and development. Some Content Management Systems (CMS) have the functionality to add sticky headers built into the site. Others may require a plugin or add-on. Sticky headers can also be coded into your web design using HTML.

Why Are Sticky Headers Good for SEO?

Sticky headers are good for SEO for two primary reasons. They’ve been shown to:

  • Decrease Bounce Rates: That means people will be more likely to spend significant time on your website, rather than “bouncing back” to search engine results.

  • Increase Conversion Rates: One company who implemented a sticky header saw their conversion rate jump by 10%. That’s enough ROI to make a big difference for your bottom line.

Because relevance and functionality are critical for search engine optimization, higher-ranking websites are more likely to be those with longer site visits, fewer bounces, and a greater degree of engagement. Google also prizes mobile-first design, so making it easier for mobile users to navigate your site can only help your SEO performance in the long run.

How Do You Improve Sticky Headers?

Having a sticky header set up isn’t enough to optimize your site. The navigation itself has to be user-friendly and logical in order for a sticky header to be useful. Here are some things to remember when it comes to header/top nav design:

  • Linked items should be "thumbable" for mobile devices: small, compact, and interactive is what you’re going for.

  • Use a standout color or call to action color for action-oriented buttons, like “Call Us” or “Book Now”.

  • The phone icon/click-to-call phone number is crucial, since people are searching for you on their phone. Depending on space, you might try a mix of text and icons. But be sure to use clear CTA language, so users know exactly what to do and where to tap to get in touch with you and your team.

As a marketing agency, we recommend and run tests after implementing any website changes for clients. If the navigation looks great and works quickly on your phone, tablet, and desktop, you’re well on your way to giving new site visitors and loyal customers an improved user experience that’s also optimized for search engines.

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