10 important mobile seo tips

A list with the ten most important SEO tips that will help your site rank better in all search engines. Includes the right ways to implement responsive design, present your data in a friendly and structured way for the Google bot and of course - the user. The list contains also tips for optimizing the performance of your website by reducing it's size and requests in various ways.


1. Use responsive design

Why? Here is Google's recommendations on the topic:

  • Makes it easier for users to share and link to your content with a single URL.
  • Helps Google’s algorithms accurately assign indexing properties to the page rather than needing to signal the existence of corresponding desktop/mobile pages.
  • Requires less engineering time to maintain multiple pages for the same content.
  • Reduces the possibility of the common mistakes that affect mobile sites.
  • Requires no redirection for users to have a device-optimized view, which reduces load time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site’s user experience (see “Pitfalls when detecting user agents” section for details).
  • Saves resources when Googlebot crawls your site. For responsive web design pages, a single Googlebot user agent only needs to crawl your page once, rather than crawling multiple times with different Googlebot user agents to retrieve all versions of the content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of your site’s content and keep it appropriately fresh.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. Design for Performance

It’s important to consider that your mobile visitors are likely to be limited by their devices. Often, when searching on a mobile device, your visitors will have to work with slower computing power, a diminishing battery life, and a slower Internet connection.

All of these factors may weigh in the back of the user’s mind and can increase their likelihood of being in a hurry. If your website takes too long to load or they cannot find the answers to their search queries quickly, they will likely leave your site for another.

The key to designing your website for performance is minimizing the stress that your site places on the user’s mobile network while also improving the user’s chances of finding what they need quickly. By using smaller image sizes and lower-quality videos you can decrease the amount of data the user will need to load, which can better ensure that your site operates quickly. However, you want to be careful not to decrease the quality too much and create a worse experience for users with faster connections.

5. Don’t Forget Local

According to Google, around 50 percent of mobile search happens with a local intent.
So don’t forget to optimize your mobile site for local search and use appropriate structured data markup wherever possible. Make sure your site is submitted on Google My Business if you are a local business and keep the following information clearly visible on your site: physical address, hours of operation and contact information.

6. Keep your mobile site simple and easy to navigate.

Have you ever visited a website from your smartphone that made you zoom and reposition the screen just so you could see it? A poor user experience like this causes most people to leave the site and find another with a more optimal mobile user experience. When it comes to mobile search, less is more. Make every word count with valuable content that is:

  • Optimized with the mobile perspective in mind.
  • Easy to access with clear and functional navigation options. 
  • Large enough to read in a font that is legible on a small screen.

7. Keep image sizes down

What's the biggest culprit of a slow mobile site? Images. Optimizing those fat images for mobile SEO is the No. 1 thing you can do to improve mobile UX. The larger your image file sizes, the longer it will take your web pages to load, especially on a phone or other mobile device. Ways to keep your image files small include compressing your images, resizing images to make them smaller, and specifying the width and height dimensions in your HTML image tags.

8. Separate mobile keyword research makes content more targeted

The best part about using dynamic serving or separate URL sites and the fact that you can create separate content for them is that you can also target different keywords - keywords that have high search volumes specifically for mobile searches, and which might be more appropriate for the kind of content that users seek on mobile, or for the actions they are looking to complete.

69% of keywords rank differently on mobile than they do on desktop, so if you’re implementing dynamically served pages or separate URLs, and will thus create different content for the mobile version of your site, then you could consider performing separate keyword research. This should help your mobile optimization efforts and cause rankings to climb higher than before.

9. Add structured data markup to make your content stand out

Google advises webmasters to add structured data markup to their pages in order to make content more visible in search.

While there is no guarantee that this will push your content at the top of the first SERP, if your content is qualitative, well segmented and expanding well on topics, it may stand a chance to feature in answer boxes, a Knowledge Graph card, or simply be more prominent by including breadcrumbs, rich snippets, and so on.

10. Avoid these mobile design mistakes

  • Do not block JavaScript, CSS or image files
    Google has long advised SEOs against blocking these asserts (let's say, in robots.txt), as this may result in poorer rankings for your mobile as well as your desktop site. To make sure these are not blocked, perform the Fetch as Google test in Google Webmaster Tools. Learn more
  • Avoid putting up unplayable content
    Mobile browsers may have problem with license-restricted content or content that requires Flash or an uncommon player to be installed. It's best to avoid these to improve mobile user experience. Learn more
  • Set up your redirects properly
    In regards to mobile, faulty redirects are any redirects that point the mobile user to the wrong equivalent of the "desktop" URL. Usually these issues would be reported in Google Webmaster Tools. Learn more
  • Watch out for mobile-only 404s
    Sometimes a page that loads perfectly fine on desktop returns a 404 on mobile. The best practices is to ensure the respective mobile page is not a 404 and to always redirect mobile users to mobile equivalents of your desktop pages. Learn more