December 7, 2021
Thankfully, communicating the value of a mobile-first SEO strategy is rather easy. It boils down to four key points:
Mobile and desktop SEO, while they have their differences, do share some commonalities. Chief among them include:
Content is the heartbeat for any SEO strategy. For a blog post or other piece of website copy to perform at a high level, it requires:
A user should not have difficulty navigating your website. Whether on mobile or desktop, allow them to find the pages they are looking for in a matter of seconds.
A website’s technical health directly affects its SEO performance. Common errors like low site speeds and excessive third-party code can turn off users (and search engine algorithms). Beyond increased bounce rates, this will also cause search engines to penalize your site with lower organic search result rankings.
People take our mobile devices everywhere. We use our smartphones for directions, to look up business information, and to share our locations with friends and family.
When populating the mobile SERPs, a search engine is more likely to recommend results closer to your geographic location. For example, if you look up the name of a movie on your phone, Google might recommend a nearby movie theater and its showtimes. Conversely, the desktop results for the same film might generate resources like the movie’s trailer or IMDB page.
Page-one results are SEO gold when it comes to desktop strategy. However, Google recently did away with pagination for their mobile results. Instead of prioritizing page-one for mobile, taking an approach to landing an “above the fold” ranking should be the priority before users start scrolling down the page.
Layouts for mobile SERPs are visibly different than desktop. Beyond the narrower, vertical screen, search engines like Google will also give preference to highly optimized pages with mobile-friendly title tags and meta descriptions. If these meta elements are more concise, this means they will display on the mobile SERP layout more effectively.
Search engines are able to determine which type of device you are using. If an algorithm determines that an app might provide value to you based on your search terms, the app will show on the SERP for you to download if you agree it will help meet your needs.
In 2019, Google announced it will be using “mobile-first indexing” for cataloging and ranking pages across the web. This means that it prioritizes the mobile version of a website over its desktop counterpart.
Search engine algorithms prioritize different user experience factors when determining organic rankings for mobile and desktop. The primary ones that affect mobile performance potential are:
The layout of your mobile page can affect your rank potential. If the page is not properly designed for mobile users, this will be noted and the page will be penalized.
To avoid this penalty, take a mobile-first approach to your website design. Use a responsive design scheme so that your site will display appropriately to the dimensions of the user’s screen.
Mobile users are looking for quick information. When your page takes too long to load, this does not satisfy their demands.
Often, site speeds are affected by large website assets that require a long time to load. These can include, but aren’t limited to:
If a site’s UX features do not align with mobile, this will affect ranking. Are CTA buttons appropriately sized? Are there too many popups on mobile that could be annoying to users? These are noted when search engine bots crawl through the mobile version of your website.
Keep the mobile version of your site as simple and straightforward as possible. Provide the information your target audience wants and a quick call-to-action that requires little effort. If something feels like it’s “a little too much,” it probably is on mobile.
You may also want to include mobile-friendly features like a “click to call” button. This allows a visitor to instantly call your client’s business number with the press of a button rather than manually searching for it and typing it into the keypad.
Write keyword-rich content designed to help your client’s audience. While there are opportunities to showcase a company’s awesome products and services, most users are using search engines to learn more about topics they’re interested in.
Develop great pieces of content that answer real questions your target audience might be asking. Plainly spell out your information so that it can be easily understood by human readers and AI algorithms alike.
Google will penalize sites that use different content on the mobile and desktop versions of the same page. At a glance, it might seem logical to offer an abridged version of your desktop content on mobile. However, this affects a consistent cross-device experience for your site visitors and Google views this as poor UX.
Mobile devices are portable, and search engines take this into account. Type in almost any type of business on a keyword research tool and one of the highest-ranking keyword variants will always be “(business) near me”.
If your client is a business that wants to reach more local customers, don’t shy away from using their location information in your content. This will help tell search engines where the business is located so that they can provide the information to users.
Be sure to also ensure your client’s business is featured on all relevant online directories as well like Yelp, Google MyBusiness, and other similar listing services. If your client’s site does not rank highly at the moment, they can still drive organic traffic to their site through these key referral sources that may have a greater presence.
As we mentioned above, mobile SERP results are shorter than desktop. Keep your title tags, meta descriptions, and other meta elements as concise as possible while still conveying important information.
At Conduit, our in-house white label SEO team brings over two decades of combined experience to help your agency scale with managed SEO services. From auditing to strategy development and implementation, we will handle the complete fulfillment cycle as an extension of your own team.
To speak with us about our desktop and mobile SEO services, check out our Agency Partnership page.