Google: Easy Mobile Forms Are Crucial

Chris CrumSearch

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Google has been making a lot of moves to get mobile users a better user experience. As you may know, the company recently announced a pair of ranking signals for this purpose. One that's already in effect will return in-app results for signed-in users who have those apps installed on their devices. The other one, which is coming next month, places emphasis on sites that are mobile-friendly in general.

Google is now stressing the importance of helping mobile users fill out online forms on your website, and while this may not be directly related to search, it can certainly help in the conversions department, which is probably the reason you're wanting to rank highly in the first place.

Back in 2012, Google launched support for the "autocomplete" attribute in Chrome, aimed at making it easier for people to fill out forms on websites. Chrome now supports it for form fields according to the current WHATWG HTML Standard so webmasters and developers can label input element fields with things like "name," "street address," etc., without changing the user interface or backend.

According to the company, many webmasters have increased the rate of form completion on their sties by marking up their forms for auto-completion.

Here's an example of the markup for an email address field.

<input type="email" name="customerEmail" autocomplete="email"/>

You can see a sample form here.

"A lot of websites rely on forms for important goals completion, such as completing a transaction on a shopping site or registering on a news site," Google says in a blog post. "For many users, online forms mean repeatedly typing common information like their names, emails, phone numbers or addresses, on different sites across the web. In addition to being tedious, this task is also error-prone, which can lead many users to abandon the flow entirely. In a world where users browse the internet using their mobile devices more than their laptops or desktops, having forms that are easy and quick to fill out is crucial!"

Google put out a video about the "autocompletetype" attribute a couple years ago. In that, Matt Cutts explained how the auto-completing of forms can help you get users to "whisk right through your form" and do what you want them to do.

"Making websites friendly and easy to browse for users on mobile devices is very important," Google says in the blog post. "We hope to see many forms marked up with the 'autocomplete' attribute in the future."

Here's a look at Google's recommended input name and autocomplete attribute values:

"This is important," said Google's Gary Illyes in a Google+ post. "Not because it will give you higher rankings, but because filling out forms on mobile is a nightmare without autocomplete."

He also said he's not hinting at this being in the search ranking algorithm for mobile.

For more on getting your site mobile-friendly, read this.

Images via Google

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.