If you‘re wondering what mobile SEO is or how to optimize your website for mobile devices, here’s everything you need to know about mobile SEO vs desktop SEO.
As technology evolves, people get more new ways to access the internet. Gone are the days when you needed bulky computers to open a website. Now, you have smartphones, tablets, and other smart devices to access the internet on the go.
Because using the internet on a handheld device is much more convenient than using it on a desktop, the number of internet users on mobile is much higher than the alternative. In fact, more than 60% of all Google queries now originate from mobile devices.
To improve the experience of users coming from mobile, Google has already upgraded its search algorithm to make it friendly for mobile queries. Mobile SEO is how you can optimize your website for mobile users to ensure your site ranks higher in mobile search results as well.
If you’re already doing SEO for your desktop site, you must also include mobile SEO in your digital marketing to ensure you get the best out of both mobile and desktop users.
Why is Mobile SEO Important?
If you think not having your website optimized for mobile will only lose you some traffic, think again.
Google, in 2020, introduced mobile-first indexing and announced that it will be eventually moving all websites to mobile-first indexing, which essentially means that non-responsive websites will be replaced with responsive links in search results.
This is already happening. If your site is not yet optimized for mobile, you may already be losing significant traffic and potential customers. Here’s why.
Sites that aren’t mobile-responsive cannot be seen properly on mobile devices. They offer a poor user experience. People who are using mobile devices to open your website may not be able to read it properly or access all its features if your site is not optimized for mobile SEO.
Google understands this and now only includes mobile-optimized sites in its mobile-first index and search results to ensure optimum user experience.
In other words, your unresponsive website may not even appear in search results for mobile-generated queries. This means you might lose as much as 55-60% of potential traffic coming from mobile phones.
The number of mobile users is only growing each year, which means we should expect a higher percentage of the overall search engine traffic to come from mobile devices in the future.
This is high time to get your website optimized for mobile and implement mobile SEO to boost your mobile search ranking and traffic.
What Does Mobile SEO Do?
Mobile SEO refers to search engine optimization for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Just like desktop SEO targets people who are using Google to search for information, products and services on desktop computers, mobile SEO targets people using smartphones and tablets to access the internet, Google, and other websites.
Here’s why you need mobile SEO.
Even if your website is mobile-responsive, there’s no guarantee that it will rank higher in mobile search results. Desktop SEO doesn’t work for mobile websites.
What you need is mobile SEO, which can help improve your website’s ranking in mobile search results and ensure your potential clients on smartphones and tablets can find and access your website.
The need for mobile optimization has increased drastically ever since the introduction of mobile-first indexing by Google.
What is mobile-first indexing?
The number of mobile phone users has increased significantly over the past decade. This has also increased the number of people using mobile devices to access the internet and open websites.
Google, a few years ago, realized that most of its searches were originating from mobile devices, so it felt the need to introduce mobile-first indexing, according to which Google considers the mobile version of a website the primary version for indexing and ranking.
This can be detrimental to websites that are not properly optimized for mobile devices or do not have a mobile version at all, as they might lose significant traffic and potential leads.
And if your site is already mobile-responsive, i.e. works well on all devices, you may still need mobile SEO to beat your competitors and get ahead in search engine rankings.
There are many other benefits of mobile SEO. It can
- Ensure your website loads quickly,
- Improve your site’s user experience,
- Boost your ranking for relevant mobile search keywords & queries,
- Decrease your site’s bounce rate,
- Ensure your site is optimized for voice search,
- Increase your website traffic, and
- Get you more local customers.
Mobile SEO Vs Desktop SEO
If your website’s target customers are using mobile phones, you must make sure to have a mobile SEO strategy in place.
Here’s everything you need to know about the difference between mobile SEO and desktop SEO:
Mobile search is a lot different from desktop search.
While both mobile and desktop search work similarly, where users type their queries in the search box and get results, the way search results are displayed is different in the two methods.
Google shows results based on user intent, which can be different for mobile users and desktop users. Therefore, it’s important to optimize your website separately for desktop search and mobile search to reach your maximum potential customers.
Here’s how mobile search results on Google are different from desktop search.
The first thing you’d notice when using Google on a mobile device is that the text results are larger because Google wants them to appear properly to mobile users. Furthermore, you’ll see that there are images or videos with many mobile results. This is to further enhance the visual appeal of these results.
Each search result on mobile is set up as a separate card and is larger than Google results on desktop. In most cases, the mobile device screen will only fit about two or three listings at a time, and users will have to scroll a lot to go through the entire page. This is why most users choose from the first few results when searching on Google Mobile.
On the contrary, desktop screens can display more listings in one go, so you can see up to five listings at one time and will be able to go through the page more quickly.
When optimizing for mobile search, you must, therefore, target the top 2-3 results at best.
Other than organic results or listings, Google search also shows a number of special features and results, including knowledge panel, business results, location results (Places), image results, news results, interesting finds, sponsored results, Answer Box (People also ask), etc.
These special results can appear before, in between, and after organic listings.
Mobile search generally shows more features than desktop results. Also, special search results and features might appear differently on different devices. For example, when looking for information in Google on mobile, you’ll generally see the knowledge panel at the top of the search results page as opposed to desktop search where it appears to the right of the results.
More features appearing before organic results mean more scrolling and swiping might be needed for users to access your page. Or, you may have to work harder to get featured in these special result sections in order to get more traffic & exposure for your website.
Click-through rate (CTR)
CTR refers to the rate at which people click your link in search results. The lower you appear in search results, the less number of people will see your website and the lower will be your clickthrough rate.
Mobile search results appear very differently from desktop search. A mobile search results page has more features and less space, so the actual results that appear on the screen are fewer and quite low on the page.
The CTR for the first position in mobile search is 24% and around 14% for the second position. On the other hand, the CTR for the first position in desktop search is 31%, which drops to just 15% for the second position. Apparently, CTR drops less for the mobile search as we go down the search results pages.
This could be because mobile search results are shown in their separate cards and often contain images or videos, which might attract people to click more frequently irrespective of websites’ positions in the search results.
To sum up, ranking at the second position in mobile search can apparently give you more traffic & leads than position two ranking in desktop search.
Now that you understand the difference between mobile search and desktop search, SEO processes for the two platforms also have to be different based on specific conditions.
If you’re wondering why Google search results on mobile are so different from desktop, this is because search results on different devices are adjusted for optimizing the user experience on particular devices.
Users searching on mobile devices are generally looking for information or results fast. This is why Google tries to give them what they need right on the search results page without the need to click or open a page.
Users on desktop search usually have more time to browse for what they need, so the results are more text-based and contain details about web pages to help users make the right selection.
Desktop Vs Mobile: How to Do SEO for Different Devices?
Because mobile search and desktop search work differently, it is crucial to build and implement separate desktop and mobile SEO strategies to target and attract maximum customers on all types of devices.
Or, you can build your SEO strategy by combining methods to optimize your website and online presence for both device types to maximize your ROI.
Building the Best SEO Strategy for Desktop & Mobile
For the best value for money, your SEO strategy should be created to target users on both mobile and desktop devices. This will ensure maximum exposure for your website across devices to get you more traffic and leads.
Building an SEO strategy that works both for mobile and desktop devices will include the following steps:
Optimize your website for mobile
The first step to mobile SEO is, of course, to optimize your website for mobile devices so that your target audience can access & enjoy your content on all devices.
A large number of your potential users might be using smartphones and tablet devices, which is why you need to be where your customers are searching for you – in mobile search.
By optimizing your website design to be responsive to all screens and devices, you can ensure your website operates seamlessly for all users on all devices.
A mobile-responsive web design is one that adapts itself to the device or screen it is being viewed on. So, the website layout will automatically adapt itself to provide a great user experience even when opened on a small-screen device.
When upgrading your website design for mobile, make sure to hire an expert responsive web designer who can help optimize all the elements properly to avoid lags or reduce your page speed.
Optimize for local SEO
Local SEO is a wonderful way to attract your target audience both on mobile and desktop devices. Moreover, this SEO strategy works similarly for all kinds of devices.
There are a number of things you can do when optimizing for local SEO – target local search keywords like “near me,” add and optimize location pages on your site, ask for reviews from your customers, claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing, and get listed in popular online directories in your region.
Websites that are optimized for local SEO are likely to appear in local search results for both desktop and mobile devices.
Optimize your site for user experience
Another thing to include in your SEO strategy is on-page optimization or website optimization, which is intended to improve your user experience and can help improve your site’s ranking in Google search results (both mobile and desktop).
One way to do this is by creating a user-friendly web design, i.e. making sure that your website design is easy and interesting to use.
Wondering what makes a website user-friendly? Well, your web design should be clear, attractive, responsive, fast, easy to use & navigate, and the content must be easy to access & read. Build internal links to connect your important pages with the home page.
To further enhance your website’s user experience, you must identify and remove page errors such as 404 pages and redirection errors.
Choose the right SEO keywords
Keywords are words that your target audience is typing in Google search when looking for your products or services.
You need to identify the best keywords to use in your SEO strategy. For example, if you sell electric bikes, a relevant keyword for you might be “buy electric bikes.”
Also, consider including long-tail keywords such as “buy electric bikes near me” in your SEO strategy, as they are easier to rank and can help you target more specific traffic and customers who are ready to buy.
By using keywords in our SEO strategy and including them in your website content and blogs, we make sure that your content is relevant to your target audience, which can also help its rank higher in search results.
There are a number of keyword research tools you can use to find your target SEO keywords for both mobile and desktop searches. I personally prefer using Google Autocomplete for recommendations based on my keyword.
Optimize your page loading speed
One certain way to boost your SEO, as well as user experience for both mobile and desktop users, is to improve your page speed.
Ideally, your web pages must load within 2 seconds. Anything beyond that and your visitors will quit your page to go for a competitor’s website.
People are not patient, and they definitely do not like websites that take forever to show content. Make sure that your website is optimized to load fast and show content quickly.
When optimizing for mobile SEO, try to make your site load faster than your desktop site. This is important because mobile users want results quickly. You may want to trim down on unnecessary elements, heavy JS or CSS code, etc. for your mobile website.
Also, avoid using too many ads at the top of your page, as this will make it difficult for visitors to access your content.
One indisputable way to boost your Google rankings is to get many high-quality backlinks to your website. This works both for mobile SEO and desktop SEO.
You can create and use content to acquire backlinks from other websites in your niche.
Create long, helpful and unique articles that help your target audience with their queries and, at the same time, might also attract other websites to link/mention your content on their website.
Natural backlinks that are not manually built by you are the best type of links to boost your Google rankings. Create a lot of informative content and spread it all over the web.
When writing blogs for your website or other websites, always include your relevant links within the content and use high-quality calls to action to encourage people to click them and visit your website.
Mobile SEO & Desktop SEO Services by SAG IPL
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When you hire mobile SEO services from SAG IPL, you get access to our amazing team consisting of highly talented & skilled SEO experts, web designers, and content creators.
You can hire our professionals on an hourly or project basis and pay as you use our services. Our SEO services are budget-friendly and very efficient in terms of satisfactory results for you. We’ll seamlessly optimize your website and online presence for both desktop SEO and mobile SEO.
Contact us online or call us at +91 7023472073 to talk to one of our SEO specialists to know more about mobile SEO vs Desktop SEO.