SEO is evidently one of the most important things in today’s world of the internet. If you want to stay visible, gain traffic, attract visitors, convert them, and generate revenue, you can’t neglect to optimize your website for search engines. Now you are way behind the game if you have been keeping mobile SEO aside for no good reason. 

The number of mobile users has been increasing exponentially, and with this device being just one pocket away, people practically look for everything on their smartphones first. From thinking of buying healthy peanut butter to looking for a good refrigerator, their first instinct is to open Google and search. 

According to a report published by Statista, 54.4% of global website traffic came from mobile devices in the fourth quarter of 2021. In April 2015, Google extended its algorithms to include mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. And if that’s not enough, Google even spoke about mobile-first indexing in 2018, which clearly indicated that mobile SEO is now a requisite if you want to rank in Google Search. 

So, the question is- does mobile SEO really impact your overall SEO strategy? Or is it something standalone?

 

Let’s first understand why mobile SEO is important? 

Google prioritizes user experience above everything. With a gradual shift in consumer behavior, the search engine revised its algorithms for mobile-friendly sites. When Google rolled out this update, almost 45% of the Fortune 500 companies and 29% of online retail stores were negatively affected. So, site owners automatically started looking for ways to improve the mobile versions of their sites. 

Today, Google crawls the mobile version of a website first. This is called mobile-first indexing. So, if you do not optimize the mobile version of your website, you fall in Google ranking and miss out on a huge chunk of organic traffic. Hence, mobile SEO plays a crucial role in deciding your ranking even on desktop search engines. 

Besides ranking, there are multiple other factors we target through SEO. We primarily optimize a website to improve user experience, minimize bounce rate, enhance click-through rate, and increase the chances of conversions. To accomplish these, you need to focus on every device that your users are on– smartphones topping the list. 

Your optimized site should:

  • Load fast (the average load time< 500 milliseconds)
  • Have accurate placement of elements when loaded
  • Have clear and readable fonts
  • Have easy navigation
  • Adapt to the screen size
  • Be well-structured
  • Have links that are easy-to-click
  • Have no frequent pop-ups 
  • Have functional CTAs (Call-to-Action) 
  • Have no dead links

How does mobile SEO impact overall SEO strategy?

Mobile SEO does impact your overall SEO strategy because paying attention to the mobile version of your site first has become essential. 

You have to make a responsive website 

The current mobile-friendly algorithms require your site to be adaptive to different mobile devices and screen sizes. If your website loads the desktop version on a mobile device, it is already ignored by Google. 

You have to ensure that your website is capable of identifying variations in screen sizes and loads accordingly. But how do you do that? 

There are three ways to do that:

  1. You can use separate URLs by using m. configuration. 
  2. You can use dynamic serving to show different users different versions of your site without needing to create separate URLs.
  3. You can choose to create a responsive website design. 

Now, the first and the second options have problems. The m. configuration, by default, requires you to create many URLs for different devices and complicates the SEO for you. 

On the other hand, dynamic serving will use a single URL but will direct the user to the relevant website version based on their device. The problem with this method is that it often loads the desktop version on a mobile device. Besides, you have got to keep creating a new version of your website every time a new device is launched. 

So, the best decision would be to make a responsive design that wouldn’t create a mess and will respond with the relevant version of your website upon recognizing the device a user is using. 

You can check your website’s mobile-friendliness here.

You can also look for usability issues in your mobile site on Google’s Search Console. Head to the left bar in your GSC account, and click on the Mobile Usability button. 

You must ensure that fonts, images, and negative space are in a proper ratio

Many times, the elements of your website look funky in a mobile browser. This happens because you may not have optimized your website for smartphones. 

There are some basic things to remember, such as if you use Flash for videos and animated content, it may or may not appear visually appealing in the mobile version. Some devices don’t even support Flash. So, it’s better to use HTML 5. 

Similarly, you don’t want your website to look all cluttered and difficult to read on mobile browsers. Increase the font size to 14pt, use negative space so that readers don’t have to focus too hard to find what they are looking for, and use smaller images. 

If you haven’t done all these, your website lacks mobile-friendliness. And since Google is indexing the mobile version, you are going to get a bad hit. 

In short, your website shouldn’t look like this on mobile: 

Impact of Mobile SEO

Another thing that Google hates is pop-ups. Especially on mobile sites, pop-ups immediately trigger a user to bounce back. When a user is looking for some info on their smartphone, they want to get to it as fast as possible. And the unwanted and unnecessary pop-up covers up the whole screen, they will go back and click on another link immediately. 

Website load time and speed should be in check

Everything you would do for your main website’s SEO, you must carry that out on the mobile version of it first. Many statistics have confirmed that users don’t wait for a website to load for more than 2-3 seconds. 

So, if your website fails to load within this average time, your bounce rate will skyrocket. And you know the drill, the optimization should start from the mobile versions of each webpage. 

Similarly, the speed of your website plays a crucial role in user engagement. If a user takes an action, your site must respond as quickly as possible. Check your page’s speed here

You can check how your website looks on mobile phones through Google Search Console’s “Fetch as Google” option. You can use this feature to analyze how a page is opening on a mobile device, what information is missing, and what elements need to be reworked. 

You must also be careful while suppressing information from the mobile version of your site. Site owners used to do this in order to optimize the load time and speed, but it is not acceptable anymore. 

Google believes that if the information is important enough to be included in a desktop site, it must be shown to mobile users as well. Besides, hiding information will only result in a loss, as indexing is done on mobile sites only. 

You should leverage the meta title and meta description well

Meta title and meta description are majorly responsible for click-through rate (CTR). If you are getting the majority of your traffic from mobile sites, you should specifically optimize the meta title and meta description for mobile. 

“How is it different from desktop SERP?”, you may ask. Well, the character limit for meta titles in mobile SERP is slightly more than that for desktop SERP. Usually, you try to stay within the character limit even if it means avoiding an important keyword phrase. 

But you can use that keyword phrase while optimizing the meta title for mobile. Even though the complete title will not show on the desktop browser, it will ultimately reward your CTR. It is especially beneficial if the desktop version of your website only constitutes a small percent of your total traffic. 

You should aim to enhance the 360-degree user experience

You must have gotten a clear idea of how mobile SEO is a non-negligible aspect of website SEO. This is the benchmark that would make your website stand out and help you rank in SERP. 

As Google is on the mission to improve user experience and rewards websites that match its intent, you have to keep the user experience at the center of your SEO strategy. From the website’s design to the functionality of links, everything should be designed keeping users in mind. 

You must also structure your content in a way that is skimmable, readable, and actionable. You can keep a tab on your website’s performance on both desktop and mobile through Google Analytics. 

When you use the tool wisely, you can compare different aspects, such as bounce rate, CTR, and dwell time. If everything looks fine, you have optimally optimized your website for both types of devices. 

In case, if you see a huge difference in the analytics, visit your page from different devices and analyze the cause of concern by yourself. You will notice something or the other going wrong causing your visitors to bounce back. 

The Bottom Line

There are various ways to find out whether your site is mobile-friendly or not. Your overall strategy certainly would revolve around the mobile version of your website once you realize how important mobile SEO is. Even if you keep Google’s algorithm mandates aside, you can’t ignore the fact that more users are using mobiles to visit your website when compared to other devices. So, optimizing the web pages for mobile devices should be your primary focus now. 

And with Google making mobile-friendliness essential, you don’t want to fall to page 3 or later on SERP. We hope this article has given you enough insights on how you can target the first few spots in Google search results on both desktops and mobile devices.