Is Mobile SEO Really Necessary?

August 13, 2018


It’s been a while since Google announced in 2015 that mobile friendliness was a ranking factor for search engine results. Fast forward three years. In March, 2018, Google introduced mobile-first indexing.


Google gradually shifted from crawling, indexing, and ranking the desktop version of your website pages to their mobile versions. The change is because there are now more mobile users searching Google than desktop users. And Google is all about user experience.


Why is that a big deal for businesses? Because if you buck the trend, you’ll lose your share of mobile traffic – which is now a majority of the traffic on Google.


So let’s get on with making sure your business is getting all the online traffic it deserves, and that starts with the optimizing your website for mobile searches.


In this post, you’ll learn how mobile SEO is different from traditional website SEO, how to optimize your website for mobile, and common mistakes to avoid when moving to mobile-friendly websites.


How Is SEO for Mobile Different?


Mobile SEO is a specialty of traditional SEO with different techniques and strategies to get the best results – a speedy, user-friendly mobile website that is easily found by searchers and search engines.

Google has long taken into account certain factors when ranking websites for search results. Titles, content, descriptions, and links all factor into ranking, but with mobile first, these are also used to calculate ranking:

  • The page displays correctly without having to scroll left or right on mobile.

  • Pages load quickly in keeping with Google’s emphasis on speed for mobile.

  • Images, buttons, and text can be seen and accessed easily without zooming.

  • Pages use local SEO (mobile search results are customized to user location).

  • Google ad placement guidelines are applied to mobile AdSense and other ads.

Don’t get confused. Google doesn’t have separate algorithms for indexing desktop and mobile websites. It’s just that their indexing will be applied to the mobile version of your website, and take these additional factors into consideration.


Website owners who migrate to mobile-first indexing will see benefits, according to Google. They “will see significantly increased crawl rate from the Smartphone Googlebot.” And, “Google will show the mobile version of pages in Search results and Google Cached pages.




So if you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, well, you can see how that might pose a problem.


How Do I Optimize My Website for Mobile?


To optimize your website for mobile, first, you’ll need to discover if your website is mobile-friendly, or not. You can do this easily by using Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool. Enter your website’s URL in the box and click RUN TEST.


If your page doesn’t pass, you’ll know exactly what’s wrong. There will be a list of things to correct. Usually, they’ll have to do with your website theme’s CSS or HTML. You can fix the problems yourself, if you’re skilled in those areas, or have your website developer do it for you.


Even if your page passes, there may still be problems loading some pages. You’ll see a gold triangle with an exclamation point in it next to the words ‘Page loading issues.’ You can click on VIEW DETAILS to see what issues prevented pages from loading quickly, or at all. If the list is long, it may be easier (and better) to switch to a website theme that’s already mobile friendly.


Choosing a theme with a responsive design is key. Website pages will adapt to the user’s device seamlessly with no scrolling or zooming required. Also, whatever SEO work you do on your website pages will apply to both desktop and mobile.


Yes, changing themes can be a pain, but it is unmistakably worth the time and effort considering the impact on your website’s long-term visibility.


We include website optimization free of charge with SEO services.

If free sounds good to you, call 800 932 7446 today!


Does the Way People Search Matter to Mobile SEO?


Both the types of searches and the way people search are dramatically different on mobile.


Generally, mobile searches are functional. Users are much less likely to search “how to optimize my website for mobile” on their smartphone than “Italian food near me.” Think about your own search behavior. How does what you search for on mobile differ from what you search for on your computer? Even the words you use in mobile searches are likely different.


It’s important to think about how people type in a search query on their desktop as opposed to mobile. Mobile queries are much shorter. Many times they’re spoken. And they lean toward local queries, rather than informational. Consequently, you’ll want to include short head mobile keywords to optimize your website for mobile. (Keep your long-tail keywords for improved relevancy.) For a deep-dive into mobile keyword research, click the link.


Mobile users are often on the go and want exactly what they’re looking for fast. They’re less likely to scroll through a bunch of search results. So, mobile makes it even more important to rank at the top of your niche. Click-through-rate (CTR) drops by 90% from the first position of search results to the fourth. Also, mobile users move on if the page they chose doesn’t open within three seconds on average.


What Common SEO for Mobile Mistakes Can I Avoid?


After helping numerous businesses create mobile optimized websites with a responsive design, we’ve seen a few predictable mistakes you can avoid.


No Click-to-Call Button: People accessing your website from mobile are on the go, as I mentioned. Be sure that your business phone number is prominent and clickable for the best user experience.


Misplaced Call to Action Buttons: Visually check every one of your website pages on mobile. Call-to-action buttons, sign-ups, and product offers should be near the top of the page. Users shouldn’t have to scroll too much to get to them.


Too Many Steps for Conversions: There should be as few steps (screens) as possible for check-outs, sign-ups, or other forms. Forms should also be easy see and quick to fill out on mobile.


Pop-ups: Pop-ups can be annoying to users on their computers, which is why they should be limited. Exit pop-ups are the best at not interrupting the user experience. For mobile, pop-ups should always be avoided.


Resources (CSS files or JavaScript) are blocked: Since responsive design is born from CSS and JavaScript, don’t block them from Google crawlers. In the Google Search console, use FETCH AS GOOGLE to see if you have any robots.txt files. Make adjustments if you do. (If you used the mobile-friendly testing tool mentioned above, you may have seen a few of these files in the results.)


You Can Rely on Us for Mobile SEO


You discovered why mobile search engine optimization is necessary, how it differs from traditional website SEO, how you can optimize your site for mobile, and what mistakes to avoid along the way.

If improving your mobile SEO makes sense, but sounds like something you’ll keep pushing down the to-do list, let our friendly team do it for you. Why wait until your competitors have locked down the mobile market in your niche or location?


Call 800 932 7446 or 712 330 2919 today, and take advantage of your free website SEO analysis and website optimization.


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