The Complete Guide to Mobile SEO
- Mobile SEO represents the practice of optimising your content for people searching on smartphones.
- As Google, the most prominent search engine, employs a mobile-first approach, this is crucial to improving rankings in both mobile and desktop SERPs.
- Mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches for some time, so it’s essential to optimise your content to improve user experience and site speed. Within these optimisations, you may focus your efforts on content, structure, design optimisations, and technical SEO fixes.
- Due to the complex nature of mobile and technical SEO, it’s best to get a professional to manage and conduct it as part of a wider SEO strategy to grow your site.
What is Mobile SEO?
Mobile search engine optimisation, or mobile SEO, involves optimising your website, specifically for smartphone users, so it looks great and functions well no matter the screen size. Mobile SEO is a key ranking factor in Google; thus, it can help grow organic traffic to your website. As a significant part of technical SEO, mobile optimisations aim to upgrade site structure and systems to improve the way Google indexes a website. Mobile is one segment that SEO experts may attend to during a technical SEO audit. In the rest of this article, we dive into why mobile SEO is growing in relevance and how exactly you can work towards optimising your mobile site.
Why is Mobile SEO so Important?
Mobile Search is Rising
Mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches for some time now, but it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Typically, mobile searches make up approximately 60% of search volume, and according to Google, there are 27.8 billion more searches on mobile compared to desktop. Thus, optimising content for handheld devices makes it easier for those searching on their phone to find your site.
Google Has a Mobile-First Algorithm
For years now, Google has employed a mobile-first algorithm called mobile-first indexing. What this means is when Google bots crawl your website, it uses mobile content to determine the ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). While there are many search engines available, Google represents the primary choice as it accounts for 95% of all mobile searches. Mobile SEO is also a significant part of technical SEO as it impacts the way Google crawls and indexes your site. Due to this past change to their algorithm, Google assesses a website’s position based on the mobile version of a page, even if you’re searching on a desktop. Therefore, without mobile optimisation, your site is at a high risk of ranking poorly.
Mobile Search May Drive More Sales
Due to the changes in the way people browse, consume and purchase, mobile searches could drive more sales. It’s estimated that 70% of the time spent on the internet is on mobile. According to Google, in two years, mobile searches for product reviews have grown by 35%, with 80% of mobile searches using the word “best”. Their data highlights that mobile is driving presale searches as people research which products to buy. Even more staggering, approximately 40% of people prefer using their phone to research, compare products and purchase an item. In short, the whole shopping process is complete via a handheld device. Statistics like these underline the clear conclusion that if you don’t adapt to mobile users, you risk losing a significant customer base and ranking very low in Google SERPs.
Mobile SEO Impacts Voice Search
Most marketers haven’t considered how they will pivot their SEO strategy to account for voice search. Which predominantly includes people using handheld devices. Alongside mobile, voice search is rising just as quickly, particularly with the invention of smart home assistants, like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Consequently, mobile optimisation is one way to future-proof your SEO strategy as it makes your content mobile-friendly and easier for search engines to read.
How to Optimise a Website to Improve Mobile SEO?
Before taking action to optimise your mobile site, it’s a good idea to review how SEO-friendly your site already is. There are a number of methods to do this, but a good place to start is Google’s mobile-friendly test which provides a report for your site. However, to do a proper evaluation, we recommend getting a professional to assess the SEO potential of your mobile site and what areas need improving.
Two crucial aspects of mobile SEO include the following:
Mobile User Experience
When it comes to searching on a handheld device, paying attention to user experience is crucial to improving click-through rate (CTR) and SERP rankings. Without an effortless experience, searchers won’t stay on your website for long, and your bounce rate will increase. In fact, data shows the bounce rate on mobile devices is higher than on desktops. Not only that, but the time a visitor stays after clicking a link to your site (also known as dwell time) represents a huge SEO ranking factor. Consequently, a seamless user experience is key to making the visitor want to stay.
Here are a few factors to consider to improve the user experience for your website:
- Relevance: A significant reason visitors “bounce” is because the page they landed on didn’t have the information they expected. This is where it’s crucial to do extensive keyword research to identify appropriate keywords in your niche. Using these search queries, you’re able to create relevant, concise and compelling pages that answer searchers’ questions. Ensuring your web pages are relevant and attract your ideal audience is where many people decide to outsource their SEO. Developing and implementing SEO is a holistic approach; therefore, it’s best to get a professional to optimise your content for mobile as part of a broader strategy to improve search page rankings.
- Content and Design: A common tell that a website owner hasn’t optimised their content for mobile is if the visitor must zoom in to read the content. Although it may seem like a minor detail, this can be the difference between someone viewing your site as a credible source or not. In fact, this is something Google would penalise as it isn’t optimised for mobile users. In short, make your design and content easy to read. Google sees mobile as the “main” website and shouldn’t be an afterthought.
- Avoid Hiding Content from Mobile Users: As we have outlined, your mobile site should be just as good as your desktop version. Consequently, mobile users should get the whole experience of visiting your website as they would on a computer. In the past, website owners may have hidden some content from mobile users to make it easier to display the page. Nowadays, this will hinder your ability to rank in Google, as you have not optimised your content properly.
Improve Site Speed
Site speed is essential for improving customer experience but also ranking on the first page of SERPs. In terms of Google, it wants pages to load in under one second. Although this is an ambitious target, Google highlights that 53% of site visitors leave a page if it takes more than three seconds to load. So, with that in mind, here are some things to target to improve site speed.
- Image compression
- Reducing the number of page requests
- Reducing redirects
- Using browser caching
There’s a lot to consider when it comes to optimising your content for mobile, as it requires a broader approach to improve the entire user experience. To set you up on the right path, many website owners seek advice from an SEO agency through consulting services or full service packages.
Should You Outsource Mobile SEO Services?
Mobile SEO is a fundamental part of technical SEO, which requires specialist skills to implement. As with these technical fixes, it is easier to make seemingly small mistakes that have bigger impacts on your site. On the one hand, if you have an expert in-house, then you may not require a completely hands-on service. In this case, you may prefer an SEO consultation to set you up on the right path.
Comparatively, if your business lacks the time, resources and skills, it is best to hire an SEO agency that can manage these technical processes and promote sustainable growth. An SEO expert can optimise your entire site, including addressing technical fixes and making sure your mobile site works equally well as your desktop version.
As we’ve discussed, both mobile and technical SEO form a fundamental part of your broader SEO strategy. Hence, many business owners consider hiring an SEO agency to manage the entire process. Hiring an agency to manage your SEO strategy gives you access to entire teams of digital marketing experts, content professionals and development teams. They are able to create a seamlessly integrated SEO strategy that does the following:
- Relevant keyword research
- On-page SEO
- Mobile SEO
- Content curation and optimisation
- Technical fixes to improve speed and indexing
- High authority backlink building
- Local SEO
An SEO agency, like NUOPTIMA, can save businesses time, thanks to their expert in-house teams. SEO is key to growing your online presence over time by increasing search rankings and attracting organic traffic. Even if you decide to stop SEO efforts in the future, your website will still benefit from high rankings as NUOPTIMA sets you up for long-term growth.
Final Thoughts on Mobile SEO
Mobile optimisation is essential to future-proof any online business. In fact, we are already seeing more users browsing websites on their phones rather than on desktops, supporting the fact that businesses must create a seamless user experience on mobile as well as desktop. With that in mind, digital content must load quickly across all devices (no matter the size of the screen) and be easy to use and digest so the user doesn’t bounce off your site.
Technical optimisations, including mobile SEO, should be done by professionals in conjunction with other SEO methods. It will help if you have an experienced team with numerous specialists to do SEO effectively and see excellent results. For instance, NUOPTIMA has an exceptional SEO team with numerous successful projects under its belt. If you’re keen to increase search rankings, attract more organic traffic and improve user experience on your site, book a discovery call with NUOPTIMA and find out how our SEO team can support you.
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