An Introduction to Mobile SEO: The Definitive Guide

mobile seo
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Did you know that it’s estimated that over 40% of transactions happen on mobile? What does this mean? if you want mobile users to engage with your site and turn into potential customers then you have to invest in mobile SEO(search engine optimization).

What is mobile SEO?

It is the process of ensuring that visitors who access your site from mobile devices have an experience optimized for the device.

With mobile SEO, your site users will be provided a positive experience as your site will look great on any device regardless of the size of the screen.

If your site is already well optimized for search engines, there are only a few additional things that you need to think about when optimizing for mobile devices and Google’s move to mobile-first indexing.

mobile seo

Mobile SEO best practices

Let’s look at a few mobile SEO best practices and techniques that apply to all mobile sites.

Mobile site performance

Page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users. Beyond optimizing images, you’ll want to minify code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects.

This is why Google introduced the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project to improve site speed and page load times for mobile content. AMP allows content to be cached and served directly within a SERP (rather than sending the user to the original website).

I’d recommend using responsive design as well as AMP pages.

Mobile content

To sum up mobile SEO, you want the same exact content from your desktop on your mobile site. All content formats (text, videos, images, etc.) should be crawlable and indexable in mobile.

Voice search = mobile device.
This means redefining the way marketers perform keyword research. Long-form queries and questions are dominating the SERPs, which is why things like featured snippets are having a major impact.
It’s about user intent now

Don’t use pop-ups either

It can be difficult and frustrating to try and close these on a mobile device. This might lead to a high bounce rate.

Use Schema.org structured data

Because of the limited screen space, a search result with rich snippets is even more likely to stand out than on a desktop.

Making your site mobile friendly

There are three main approaches to making your website mobile-friendly:

  1. Responsive Design
  2. Adaptive Website
  3. Separate Mobile Site
    Here’s how to optimize each.

Don’t block CSS, JavaScript, or images

In the old days, some mobile devices couldn’t support all of these elements, so webmasters of mobile sites blocked one or all three. But for the most part that’s no longer true, and the Smartphone GoogleBot wants to be able to see and categorize the same content that users do. So don’t hide it. These elements are also critical to helping Google understand if you have a responsive site or a different mobile solution.

Site design for mobile

Mobile devices are simplifying and revolutionizing the ways sites are designed. “Above the fold” no longer has meaning in a world where we scroll endlessly

Don’t use Flash

The plugin may not be available on your user’s phone, which means they’ll miss out on all the fun. If you want to create special effects, use HTML5 instead.

Don’t use pop-ups either

It can be difficult and frustrating to try and close these on a mobile device. This might lead to a high bounce rate.

Design for the fat finger

Touch screen navigation can lead to accidental clicks if your buttons are too big, too small, or in the path of a finger that’s trying to get the page to scroll.

Optimize titles and meta descriptions

Remember that you’re working with less screen space when a user searches using a mobile device. To show off your best work in SERPS, be as concise as possible (without sacrificing the quality of the information) when creating titles, URLs, and meta descriptions.

Use Schema.org structured data

Because of the limited screen space, a search result with rich snippets is even more likely to stand out than on a desktop.

Optimize for local search

If your business has a local element, remember to optimize your mobile content for local search. This includes standardizing your name, address, and phone number and including your city and state name in your site’s metadata.

Mobile site configuration

Probably the most important decision you’ll make when setting up a site is deciding whether you want to use a responsive, dynamic serving, or separate site configuration. Google prefers responsive design but supports all three options as long as you have set them up properly.

Separate URLs
Each desktop URL should serve a mobile URL. For example, if the desktop URL is www.example.com then the mobile URL should be m.example.com.
You will need to add the canonical URL rel=”canonical” tag to the mobile site pointing to the desktop URL.

Implement Mobile Switchboard Tags

Switchboard tags are similar to canonical tags, they tell Google a mobile URLexists with a rel=alternate tag.
Without switchboard tags, Google may not crawl the mobile versions of yourURL. You will need to add the rel=”alternate” tag to the desktop URL that points to the mobile URL

Structured Data

Always include the same structured data on your mobile and desktop sites. Your URLs in the structured data on mobile pages should be the mobile URL.


Hreflang

If you’re a global company using rel=hreflang, make sure your mobile URLs with the hreflang point to the mobile version of your country

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