Mobile SEO optimization services boost the mobile version of your website to the top of organic Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
In 2018, Google announced that web developers should build “mobile-first.” Two years later, Google applied its mobile-first index. Today, it has become “mobile-only.” Better follow up on this, right?
We will share below a comprehensive definition of the “mobile SEO” concept. Then, we will explain why mobile SEO is important and how to improve your website performance on smartphones.
What is Mobile SEO?
Mobile Search Engine Optimization (SEO) makes your smartphone website version accessible to online spiders. Mobile SEO services focus on optimizing your website for small-screen formats.
It is different from mobile ASO (App Store Optimization). While mobile SEO companies work on smartphone versions of a website, ASO relates to mobile applications only.
Keep in mind that mobile apps look more native than mobile websites. They also include more features, like specific notifications, or geolocation software.
Mobile SEO is not mobile ASO. We will detail the former in the sections below.
Why is Mobile SEO Important?
Mobile SEO is so essential nowadays that it should be one of your priorities when you strategize for organic online optimizations.
People spend most of their internet time on mobile, thanks to its convenience. Data also show that online users search more on their mobiles than on their computers. Based on this information alone, if you own a website, you must consider mobile SEO optimization services.
Besides, we are all more likely to trust, buy, and become loyal to a mobile-friendly website. Who would purchase from a bugged or poorly resized website displayed on a smartphone? As we will see below, the user experience is essential when it comes to mobile devices.
If we cannot convince you yet, maybe you shall hear from Google itself?
The biggest worldwide search engine prioritizes smartphone versions of websites when crawling and indexing them. It means that, even if a web page has a desktop version, Google indexes it by looking at the mobile one.
No one ignores mobile SEO. Except companies not having any website.
Prepare Your Website for Mobile SEO
Before contacting your favorite mobile SEO company, check what you can do by yourself. With some guidance, you can audit your current website performance for mobile SEO.
The implementation part may be a little too technical if you are not familiar with mobile SEO optimization services. In all cases, have a read below to learn about it.
Check Your Website for Mobile SEO
To get started with your mobile SEO audit, use these Google tools. As Google’s search engine covers over 90% of the worldwide market, you cannot go wrong with them.
The first tool gives you a quick vision of how responsive your mobile website is. The second has a function called “mobile usability” that provides more insight.
From this analysis, you should have a clear understanding of what to fix for mobile SEO improvements.
Make sure that your website complies with the following checklist:
- website resources loading across devices
- mobile loading time
- mobile user experience (UX)
Before the Google mobile-first indexing rule, it was a common thing to hide mobile content. If you developed your website after 2020, you shouldn’t be concerned about this issue. Otherwise, check if web crawlers can properly load all resources even on smartphones.
What is true for desktop remains valid for mobile… with higher constraints. Overall, the quicker the loading time, the better. Online users may accept a loading time of up to 2 seconds on computers. On mobile, you must target under 1 second.
Your website must have a mobile-friendly UX. Your graphic designers may not appreciate this rule, as mobile devices are technically much more limited than desktops (screen size, interactivity, user interface, etc.). Unfortunately, there is no choice. Make your mobile version easy to read and navigate or accept to lose potential leads.
Fix Your Website for Mobile SEO
The audit gives you the keys to roadmap your mobile SEO fixes. Once you understand the gaps between what you have and how it should be, you can proceed with the website’s technical implementations.
To achieve this, you need at least a developer familiar with your website CMS (Content Management System) and a graphic designer who can revise the visual directions.
The best way to be mobile SEO-friendly is to build a website with a responsive design. Recommended by Google, this option guarantees that, whatever the device screen size, your website will look good.
Ideally, you want to display the same content on desktop and mobile versions, with only a different design, suitable for each platform. It is the responsibility of the graphic designers.
In parallel, consider technical fixes. Your web developers must not only optimize the desktop version but, above all, the mobile one too.
For this huge task, we recommend checking free online resources (like Google Search Central for developers) or simply exchanging experiences with other communities. When it comes to mobile SEO, sometimes, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Ready-to-use solutions may await you in a few clicks.
Mobile SEO & Desktop SEO Differences
Whatever the device, SEO has the same purpose. The main goals of both desktop and mobile SEO are:
- improve the domain’s technical performance
- enhance the online user experience
- build a solid content marketing strategy
- rank for desired keywords
- increase the website’s organic traffic
The difference between mobile SEO and desktop SEO lands in what needs to be done and how you perform the optimizations. Smartphones and computers technically differ by nature. Here are specific areas that mobile SEO agencies must focus on:
- SERP layout
- GPS and local SEO search
- finger tap
- mobile apps and notifications
On a desktop screen, we display much more information than on smartphones. Usually, the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) has 2 columns on computers versus 1 on mobile devices. Your mobile SEO service must take this information into account to maximize the content display.
Smartphones benefit from the Global Positioning System (GPS). It is a great way for businesses to understand their target users’ geographical position and propose custom content. Local SEO services bring such solutions.
You don’t use a mouse when navigating on your mobile phone. Consequently, you cannot click on buttons. Instead, you tap on your device with your fingers. It represents a huge area of mobile SEO improvements that we will detail in the next section.
Phones also have a range of extra features that are not available on computers. The notification systems do not work the same. Besides, mobile supports applications, unlike desktop. We will see below how to optimize and take advantage of them.
12 Mobile SEO Best Practices
As explained earlier, classic SEO rules apply to mobile SEO. In this section, we only focus on smartphone specifics. Those practices do not concern computers.
Mobile SEO companies follow the checklist below to optimize websites for small devices. Here are the twelve main areas of improvement:
- optimize your mobile loading time.
- avoid pop-ups and flash.
- integrate responsive design.
- change the desktop top navigation bar for a hamburger menu.
- embed videos through a hosting provider (like YouTube).
- focus on text content rather than images.
- adapt the User Interface (UI) to mobile.
- ensure that mobile users do not need the keyboard too much.
- write content for mobile and your local audience.
- follow the principle of parsimony.
- resize your mobile content font.
Smartphone users are impatient. Keep your loading time under 1 second to maximize your chances of keeping them around your website.
Google does not recommend using interstitials like pop-ups on mobile. They even penalize websites having full-screen pop-ups, so watch out!
By default, all websites should be mobile-responsive. Avoid alternatives like creating different URLs for the desktop and mobile versions.
Due to the small screen sizes, mobile devices cannot display most of the desktop top navigation bars. The (ham)burger menu is a decent solution.
Do not self-host videos on your website. It has a considerable impact on page loading performance, especially on mobile. Embed through YouTube instead.
We all love visual creatives. Unfortunately, on mobile, they take up lots of space, which is scarce. Reduce your top header images (or remove them completely for mobile) and focus on text content.
Space competition is fierce on small screen sizes. Design clear buttons, navigation indicators, and visual feedback. Keep enough space for (big) fingers with buffers and margins.
Desktop keyboards are convenient. Mobile ones are not. Ideally, build your mobile web versions so online users don’t need to interact with the keyboard often.
Segment your content production based on your target audience. Desktop users and mobile users are not the same. Besides, people using smartphones engage more with geolocated information.
On mobile, small text fonts quickly become unreadable. To keep online users comfortable, set your font sizes to 16px at least (bigger fonts for titles are fine).
The principle of parsimony is not only an economic concept. It perfectly applies to the mobile SEO world. Unlike on the desktop, focus on the most important only and remove the rest.
Mobile SEO Agency: Prodima
If you are looking for a professional mobile SEO company, consider Prodima as your new long-term partner. Our team of experts did not only write this web page content (which is optimized for mobile SEO by the way!). They also have years of experience optimizing for hundreds of clients.
The best mobile SEO agency awaits you right here! Send us your website URL and we will tell you if you need to fix anything. Get in touch with our mobile SEO consultants to get started.
Mobile SEO FAQ
Can We Do SEO on Mobile?
Yes, definitely! Most of the SEO rules that apply to desktop websites remain relevant for mobile. There are a few differences though. Read our detailed content above to find out which ones.
Is SEO Different for Mobile & Desktop?
The logic to rank high and get organic traffic is the same between smartphones and computers. Consequently, mobile and desktop SEO are rather similar. However, few optimizations only concern small devices.
Is Mobile SEO the Same as Mobile ASO?
Many people confuse mobile SEO and ASO. They are completely different. Mobile SEO focuses on websites displayed on smartphones. Mobile ASO focuses on application optimizations.
What is “Mobile-First” Indexing?
In 2020, Google started to consider the mobile version of websites for indexing content. Until then, the search engine was mostly using the desktop version to evaluate the web page quality.
Are Mobile & Desktop Rankings Different?
Yes, they are. Algorithms separate mobile indexing from desktop indexing, and so rankings are different. Besides, the rankings factors are not fully overlapping.
How Does Google Penalize Non-Mobile SEO Websites?
Depending on the issue severity, search engines can consider not indexing web pages that do not perform well on mobile devices. It implies a lack of online visibility.