Mobile SEO: Is SEO Different for Mobile?

Mobile SEO

I’m sure you’ve heard that “SEO is different for mobile.” But what does this really mean? There are SEO best practices for mobile, but there are also things that are the same. How do you know if your SEO strategy needs changing? In this post I’ll discuss the common misconceptions about SEO for mobile, whether Google makes it easy to just one thing for SEO for mobile, and how I approach SEO for both desktop and mobile.

A decade ago, mobile SEO was non-existent. It wasn’t significant because mobile phones weren’t very good at web browsing and didn’t have the processing power to build their own websites. Instead, they were forced to use a watered-down version of the desktop experience which was typically preloaded with text links and images only.

Google has gradually been changing its algorithm over the past few years so that it increasingly ranks websites based on user experience (UX) signals such as page loading speeds and whether or not your website is optimized for mobile devices. At Cadence, a lot of people ask us about how to maximize search engine optimization (SEO) for mobile.

A decade ago, mobile SEO was non-existent. It wasn’t significant because mobile phones weren’t very good at web browsing and didn’t have the processing power to build their own websites. Instead, they were forced to use a watered-down version of the desktop experience which was typically preloaded with text links and images only.

See also What do I do with Keyword Research?

Mobile SEO is the practice of optimizing a website to rank well in search engines on mobile devices. Why does it matter? Because even though you may have a great website that ranks well for desktop searches, if your mobile site isn’t optimized, then users won’t find you when they’re searching from their phones.

Mobile SEO is important because mobile searches are growing and different from desktop searches. Mobile usage is increasing: 65% of internet users worldwide now own a smartphone and 23% own a tablet computer as well. In addition, Google has stated that “more than half of all Google searches take place on smartphones.” As more people use smartphones to search online (more than 95% of teens in America!) businesses need to optimize their sites or risk being left out!

Mobile SEO differs from desktop SEO in several ways. The most important thing to remember is that mobile devices have a much smaller screen than desktops. This means you need to use shorter paragraphs and sentences, and ensure your content is easy to read. You can also take advantage of the fact that most people will access your site on their phones by making it easy for them to find what they want quickly.

If you’re on a desktop computer, you may be used to having a lot of space for your keywords in your meta tags and ad copy — but this won’t necessarily work for mobile users. Instead, focus on writing effective copy.

In addition, make sure your site loads quickly on mobile devices, so users don’t get frustrated trying to read or interact with it.

See also What does Authority mean in SEO?

On mobile, you have less space to work with and can’t use as much content on your page. This means that you’ll have to be more strategic about what content goes where, so that it doesn’t overwhelm visitors or force them to leave your site before they find what they’re looking for.

Users are more likely to search on their phones than on desktops, so it’s important to optimize your site for both devices — and ideally create separate versions of each page (such as one optimized for mobile devices and one optimized for desktops).

Mobile users tend to look up local businesses, events, and news more frequently than their desktop counterparts — so these types of searches will likely drive traffic specifically through mobile devices, rather than general web browsing behavior across all devices combined.

In April 2014, Google announced it would move to a mobile-first index. This means they will consider how well your website performs on mobile devices before they decide if it should rank in their results and where it shows up in them.

While many things about SEO have remained constant over time and across platforms, Google’s mobile user experience guidelines are constantly changing and evolving with each new iteration of its algorithm. They provide valuable information about how to create websites or applications that deliver the best possible user experience on mobile devices. However, to rank well in their search engine results pages (SERPs), they must also abide by these guidelines at every level: from ranking factors down to page load time.

See also Breadcrumbs: What are Their SEO Benefits?

Development and content teams should work together to ensure the site is mobile-friendly. The content team needs to understand what device the user is on, so they can provide a customized experience. This means your site should be responsive, which automatically adjusts its layout based on the browser type and size. If you don’t have a responsive website, you will lose search traffic from devices like tablets and smartphones.

The development team needs to make sure their code adjusts based on device type. If not, users will see broken pages or unexpected behavior when they visit your site from their phone or tablet.

Mobile-first indexing is an important part of ranking highly on Google, but there are other factors to consider. It’s important for SEO experts to understand how users interact with your site so that they can optimize it accordingly. With these tips and strategies in mind, you can improve your mobile SEO and drive more traffic to your website.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this quick rundown of what mobile SEO is and how it can help your business. If you want to learn more about the services we offer, you can check out our blog, or contact one of our experts today.

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Kevin McLauchlin

Co-Founder and Director of Growth at CadenceSEO. Online Marketing and SEO Nerd. Lover of Personal and Professional Growth. Husband and Father of 6