Mobile SEO: What You Need to Know

Mobile SEO featured image

Nowadays, more and more people are using mobile devices to browse websites and trawl through search engines. Despite this, many websites still aren’t optimised to suit the mobile experience. If yours is the same, don’t despair! A top notch mobile SEO strategy can help you reach more mobile visitors and ensure that they are getting the best possible user experience.

We’re going to walk you through the ins and outs of mobile SEO, explain why it’s so vital and give you ten top tips to help optimise your website for mobile. Let’s dig in!


Table of contents:


What is mobile SEO?

Question mark in circle

Mobile SEO is a process that involves optimising your website so that it offers visitors a great user experience, no matter what device they’re using. If a website is mobile-friendly, it will be…

  • Quick to load
  • Easy to navigate
  • Responsive
  • Great for user experience

If you fail to make your website mobile-friendly, you run the risk of alienating a large portion of your visitors. If they have a bad experience with your site on their mobile device, they’re not going to come back. Even worse, in a study by SuperMonitoring, 57% of users stated that they wouldn’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site.

On the other hand, if you work on improving your website’s mobile-friendliness, you’ll see improvements in organic traffic, conversions and rankings.

Why is it important?

Though we’ve already touched upon the importance of mobile SEO on user experience, there are a few other key reasons why it should be on your agenda right now.

A large portion of web traffic comes from mobile…

Unsurprisingly, more people nowadays are using their mobile devices to browse websites and make purchases. According to Statista, “mobile accounts for approximately half of web traffic worldwide“.

Though we definitely won’t be seeing an end to desktop browsing anytime soon, we can’t discount the popularity of mobile browsing. In fact, by 2025, nearly 73% of internet users will access the internet solely via mobile.

If you don’t put the work into making your website mobile-friendly, these users are just going to find a website that has.

Mobile queries for local businesses are increasing…

If you’re a business that is reliant on local traffic, or attempting to reel people in to a key location, you need to optimise your website for both mobile and local search. This is because more people are searching for local businesses on their mobile.

In the last two years…

  • “Where to buy” and “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 200%
  • “On sale” and “near me” mobile queries have grown by over 250%
  • “Store open near me” mobile searches have grown by over 250%

These figures hint at a positive future for businesses who have the sense to optimise their sites for mobile and local SEO.

Optimising for mobile has an impact on voice search

If you make the effort to optimise your website for mobile, it will have a direct impact on your chances of ranking well for voice search. Given that around 27% of the global population is using voice search on mobile, this is something you’ll want to take advantage of.

Google prioritises mobile

The final, and most important point, is that Google now prioritises the mobile version of your website for indexing and ranking. This is otherwise known as mobile-first indexing. What this means is that Google will index and crawl your mobile website first—determining search rankings from the quality of your mobile website, instead of your desktop website.

If Google decides that your mobile website is optimised for performance, content and user experience, it will give you a better ranking. If your website is lacking, however, it will likely lead to a dip in your…

  • Rankings
  • Organic traffic
  • Leads
  • Conversions

How to check if your website is mobile-friendly

Magnifying glass over a laptop with a mobile next to it

Before we get stuck into the ways you can improve your website’s mobile SEO, we first have to check how mobile-friendly your site already is. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools that you can take advantage of to do this.

Google’s mobile-friendly test

With Google’s mobile-friendly test, all you need to do is type your URL into the search bar and select ‘Test URL’. After a minute or so, you’ll get the results of the test. This will include a screenshot of what your website looks like to Google on a mobile, along with a list of mobile usability issues.

Typical issues that can occur on pages include:

  • Incompatible plugins
  • Content wider than the screen
  • Text too small to read
  • An undefined viewport
  • A viewport not set to ‘device-width’
  • Clickable elements too close together

Google Search Console

If you have access to it, you can use Search Console to test your website’s mobile-friendliness. Simply head to ‘Experience’ > ‘Mobile Usability’, and you’ll see which pages have usability issues when viewed on a mobile device. As with the mobile-friendly test, you’ll see which exact issues are plaguing your website.

Chrome

Another way of testing your website’s mobile-friendliness is by using Chrome’s Inspect tool. This will let you see what your pages look like on various devices. This is extremely useful! Not all mobile devices are the same size, so it’s important that you’re able to make sure that your website looks good on all of them.

Pick a page on your website and then right-click and select ‘Inspect’. At the top, under the ‘Responsive’ tab, you can select different devices, e.g., iPhone X, iPad Pro and Galaxy Fold.

The best part about this is that it allows you to interact with your website as though you’re actually viewing it from these devices. This gives you the opportunity to view your website from the perspective of your mobile visitors and see what kind of changes need to be made to improve the user experience.

Your phone

If you can’t be bothered trying any of the above methods, you can just opt for the most straightforward approach: try it on your own phone. Head to your website and make your way through the pages, interacting with clickable elements, to see how user friendly it is on mobile.

Do bear in mind, however, that this will only give you one perspective. If you want to see how user experience varies on other mobile devices, you’ll need to use a wider range of devices.


How to optimise your website for mobile

Content audit analysis

Now that you know which issues are standing in the way of your website’s mobile-friendliness, we can get started on the optimisation process!

Make sure your content is equal

A few years back, many businesses opted to present their mobile visitors with a less thorough version of their website. In other words, a website in which content is stripped down to the absolute basics. This is also known as mobile parity. They did this to make things look simple and accessible to visitors.

Now, however, you could face serious consequences for presenting less information on your mobile website. Remember, with mobile-first indexing, Google is crawling your mobile website first. If they think your content is lacking substance or value, they’re not going to reward you with decent rankings.

In short, you need to ensure your mobile website is the best version of your website that you’d actually want Google to index.

 Optimise page speed

If you want people to stay on your website and make a purchase, you need to make sure that your pages load quickly. The longer it takes to load, the more likely your visitors are to bounce and never come back.

To figure out where your website stands in terms of page speed, you can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights. This tool will help you determine what solutions you need to implement to improve your website’s load time for mobile device visitors.

These solutions will be listed under ‘Opportunities’ and will come with an estimated saving. This is the total number of seconds that you can reduce page loading time by.

Example fixes include:

  • Reduce unused JavaScript
  • Eliminate render-blocking resources
  • Serve images in next generation formats
  • Compress images to smaller file sizes
  • Use video formats for animated content
  • Reduce unused CSS

To find how to improve your site speed, head on over to our guide to Core Web Vitals.

Make everything responsive

Google recommends websites use a responsive design, in order to give visitors the best user experience. This type of design—unlike dynamic serving and separate URLs—serves all devices with a bit of code that will make adjustments according to screen size.

So, no matter what device your visitor is viewing your website on, their browser will adjust the content to match the size of their screens. This means that they won’t have to zoom in to read your content, or struggle interacting with clickable elements on your page.

Limit popups

On desktop, popups can be a mild inconvenience that visitors have to put up with. Fortunately, they’re usually done away with in just one or two clicks. On mobile devices, however, popups can make it impossible to scroll or interact with a website if they’re not sized properly. This, inevitably, leads to a website bounce.

First things first, you want to limit the number of popups to one per page. If you overdo it, you risk annoying your visitors. Next, you need to carefully consider the design of your popups on mobile devices. They need to be relatively small and as non-intrusive as possible. Additionally, visitors should be able to get rid of them in one simple tap. This will likely take some time to perfect, but if you want to avoid accessibility issues and encourage conversions, it’s more than worth it.

Consider readability

Not only does your website need to be responsive and quick to load on mobile devices, it also needs to be easy on the eyes! To make this possible, you need to:

  • Think about your font choice and size: visitors should be able to clearly read your content without having to pinch and zoom.
  • Use space carefully: break up your written content with space and make sure there’s enough room between clickable elements.
  • Implement smart formatting features: make your pages more readable with bullet points, tables, coloured boxes and numbered lists.

You can find more handy tips in our guide to improving content readability!

Improve navigation

If you want visitors to stay on your website, you need to optimise your website navigation. It shouldn’t matter if people are using a mobile, tablet or desktop to access your website—their user experience should be the same.

To make this possible, you need to simplify your navigation bar so that visitors don’t have to deal with glitchy dropdown menus. Most websites do this by implementing a hamburger icon (three simple lines stacked on top of each other).

Next, you need to make sure that all of the clickable elements on your website are large enough to tap on and also have plenty of space surrounding them so that there’s no risk of a visitor clicking on the wrong thing.

Ensure your CTAs are visible 

If you’re looking to encourage website visitors to take the next step through the sales funnel, you’ll need to make sure that your calls to action (CTAs) stand out.

To ensure your visitors spot your CTAs straight away, you’ll need to place them above the fold for mobile devices. You don’t want to force people to scroll down to find them because, odds are, they just won’t bother.

You’ll need to play around with the design of your CTAs to make sure that the text is clear and that the button is big enough for your visitors to tap on.

Think about local SEO

As we mentioned earlier, local searches are on the rise with mobile devices, e.g., “coffee shop in Manchester”. You can take advantage of this by optimising your website for local search in a few different ways:

  • Use local keywords: if your business covers certain areas, be sure to reference them in your web copy.
  • Gear content towards local areas: try creating new content to target the areas that you cover.
  • Update Google My Business: make sure that your address(es) are all up-to-date and be sure to include relevant phone numbers and photos.
  • Build local links: get your business listed in local directories, newspapers and other relevant websites.

Make it easier to share your content

One of the best ways to get your content out there is by adding social sharing buttons on your website. It encourages your visitors to share specific blog posts and pages that they found interesting with a larger audience base.

On desktop, these buttons are usually placed at the side of a page. On mobile devices, however, you’ll probably need to tweak the placement to avoid cumulative shift, or issues with your visitors accidentally pressing on another clickable element nearby. Your best bet is to place them at the bottom of the page, but do some testing to make sure.

Optimise for voice search

With voice search on the rise with mobile device users, you have a great opportunity on your hands—the chance to nab featured snippets and reel in more mobile visitors. So, where do you start?

  • Use long tail keywords to match voice searches and user intent
  • Structure your content around questions
  • Target featured snippets to find out what works best
  • Improve your business listings
  • Take a well-rounded approach to SEO

To find out exactly what this entails, head on over to our guide to optimising for voice search!


Final thoughts

Some of the fixes we’ve mentioned won’t be easy to implement. They will take time and effort to sort out, and it will likely be a while until you see the benefits. That being said, improving your mobile SEO will help your business experience:

  • More traffic
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Faster loading times
  • More customer engagement
  • Decreases in bounce rate
  • Higher session duration

There’s no time like the present! So, make your way through our guide and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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