Mobile SEO is the process of optimizing your website, mainly to improve the appearance and search rankings for mobile devices.
Mobile SEO optimization is important because billions of people use their mobile devices to search the web.
Did you know that the number of smartphone mobile users worldwide reached almost 6.7 billion in 2023 and is expected to reach over 7.7 billion by 2028?
According to Think With Google, over 50% of web traffic comes from mobile. So, if your website is not optimized for mobile, you are missing out on a lot of traffic and sales.
In this free guide, you’ll discover some of the mobile website SEO tips and techniques that work like a charm in 2024.
Table of Contents
- Top 8 Mobile SEO Best Practices for 2024
- FAQs on mobile SEO strategy
- Final thoughts on SEO for mobile devices
Top 8 Mobile SEO Best Practices for 2024
1. Create a Mobile-Friendly Site
Did you know that Google uses mobile-first indexing? (Source: Google Search Central)
Mobile-first indexing is enabled by default for all new websites.
Mobile-first indexing means Google primarily uses the mobile version of the webpage for crawling and indexing instead of the desktop version.
You can check if your website is mobile-first indexed by going to the “Mobile Usability report” in Google Search Console. If your website is mobile-first indexed, your pages will appear as “Usable pages.”
Here’s what it looks like;
Another simple way is to use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. This tool allows you to test how easily a visitor can use your page on a mobile device.
You just need to enter a URL to see how your page scores.
Have a look;
As you can see, the tool will display a message that says, “Page is usable on mobile” (if your site is mobile-friendly).
So, if you haven’t already, create a mobile-friendly website.
The most simple and effective way to make a WordPress site responsive is to use a mobile-friendly theme. Regarding mobile-friendly themes, there are too many options out there, such as;
- Elegant Themes
The above-mentioned WordPress themes are extremely affordable and come with a mobile-responsive design out of the box.
2. Make Use of Mobile SEO Plugins
If you’re not using it yet, use the self-hosted WordPress platform for your website.
WordPress is the world’s MOST powerful CMS (content management system). The best part? It offers a ton of mobile SEO plugins that can help you with better optimization. Here are a few handy mobile SEO plugins you can use in 2024.
WPTouch: This is an essential plugin that helps you create a fully mobile responsive website. It can transform content on the same URLs as your regular theme.
You can also control your menus, pages, devices, etc. It offers a wide range of themes that are up to 5x faster than desktops or responsive themes. There’s also a free version in case you want only the basic features.
Smush: It is an image optimization plugin in WordPress. Smush is an essential tool if you’re using many images on your website. This plugin offers many useful features such as image resizing, auto-optimize, bulk smush to optimize multiple images simultaneously, image lazy loading, and more.
WP Mobile Menu: If you want a WordPress responsive mobile menu, use this plugin. It provides your mobile visitors easy access to your website content and works flawlessly on any device, including smartphones, tablets, or desktops.
3. Stop Using Popups
Most websites use intrusive popups to increase their sales or build an email list.
But, if you want to provide the BEST experience to smartphone users on your website, stop using popups.
Why? Popups on a website are NOT helpful for the users, as the content is not easily accessible to use.
Using popups can actually hurt your mobile search rankings, according to Google.
As you can see above, Google has been penalizing websites that use “intrusive popups” for years.
So, if you want better mobile SEO optimization, don’t hide content on your page behind an ad.
If you still want to use popups for conversions, you can use the following less intrusive alternatives.
- Use Hello bars: Hello bars are sticky bars that appear at the top or bottom of a website. They are less intrusive than popups because they don’t block users’ view of the content they’re trying to see.
- Use Slide-ins: Slide-ins are similar to hello bars, but they appear from the side of the screen instead of the top or bottom.
- Use Embedded Forms: Embedded forms can be placed anywhere on a website, such as within a blog post or product page. If you want to collect email addresses, these are better than popups.
- Use Exit-intent popups: Exit-intent popups are popups that appear when a user is about to leave your website. Make sure to use them only on specific pages; otherwise, you’ll be annoying smartphone users.
4. Optimize your Titles and Meta Descriptions
Your titles and meta descriptions are the first things mobile visitors see when they search for your website on Google.
They’re also one of the most important factors in determining whether or not someone clicks on your link.
To optimize your titles and meta descriptions, make sure they are:
- Clear and concise: People should be able to understand what your web page is about from the title alone.
- Keyword-rich: Try to include your target keywords in your titles and meta descriptions, but don’t overdo it.
- Compelling: Use strong verbs and persuasive language to make people want to click on your link.
Here are some more tips for optimizing your titles and meta descriptions:
- Use similar intent keywords in your title tag and meta description.
- Keep your titles under 60 characters and your meta descriptions under 160 characters.
- Use questions in your meta descriptions, as they create curiosity.
5. Optimize for Local Mobile SEO
If you operate a local business or small business, you must optimize for mobile.
Local SEO is EXTREMELY important for mobile optimization. Why? Because more and more people are using their mobile devices to search for local businesses.
According to Google, over half of all searches are now performed on mobile devices.
So, what’s the best way to leverage local mobile SEO to generate more traffic and sales?
Target geo-specific keywords.
You must use local keywords in your website content. You should find and use geo-specific keywords, which are keywords that focus on location.
Here are some examples of geo-specific keywords:
- “Pizza delivery near me”
- “Plumber in San Francisco”
- “Hair salon in Los Angeles”
- “Car dealership in New York”
- “Coffee shop in Seattle”
You can use a keyword research tool like Semrush to find geo-specific keywords.
Have a look at an example keyword;
As you can see above, the Semrush keyword tool suggests over 300 geo-targeted keywords, for the example keyword “New York marketing agency.”
Similarly, you can pick any local keyword phrase, and Semrush will suggest hundreds of geo-targeted keywords.
Once you’ve identified geo-specific keywords, include them in your website title, meta descriptions, header tags, and body text.
Here are a few more tips for targeting geo-specific keywords:
- Use long-tail keywords even when you’re targeting geo-specific keywords. Long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive. This means they are more likely to rank well in local search results.
- Use location-specific modifiers. You can use location-specific modifiers like “near me,” “in [city],” or “in [state]” to make your keywords more geo-specific.
- Analyze your competitors to see what local keywords they’re already ranking for. Make sure they’re relevant to your business so you can drive relevant traffic from Google.
6. Optimize “Above the Fold”
“Above the fold” is what users see in the first scroll.
Above the fold on smartphones is extremely important because it is the first thing that visitors see when they land on your page.
Did you know that people who are visiting your website from their mobile devices are more likely to bounce from your website if they don’t see what they’re looking for above the fold?
So, it is important to make a good impression.
Use strong visuals, such as high-quality images and compelling call to actions in the above the fold.
Here are some of the best practices to optimize above the fold for smartphone users;
- Use a clear and concise headline. Regardless of your website, your headline should be the first thing users see. So, spend quality time crafting your homepage titles or blog post titles. Avoid using all caps, as this can make your headline difficult to read.
- Use a large font size. Smartphone screens are smaller than desktop screens, so make sure your font size is large enough to be readable. A good rule of thumb is to use a font size of at least 16px.
- Use plenty of white space. White space is the empty space around your text and images. It can make your content more readable and visually appealing.
- Don’t clutter your above-the-fold content with too much text and images.
7. Research Keywords for Voice Search
Did you know that 52% of people use voice search while driving? (Social Media Today).
Also, 65% of 25-49-year-olds talk to their voice-enabled devices daily (PwC)
Voice search is the next BIG thing in mobile SEO.
So, if you want to get more traffic and better results from mobile optimization, make sure to optimize your website for voice searches.
In case you don’t know, voice search is a way to use your voice to find information online. Instead of typing a search query into Google search, you simply speak your question.
There is a wide range of voice search assistants people use such as iPhone’s Siri, Alexa, etc.
Some examples of voice search:
- “Find me the nearest coffee shop.”
- “What is the weather forecast for tomorrow?”
- “Define the word ‘SEO.'”
- “Set a timer for 10 minutes.”
Voice search SEO is the process of optimizing your website for voice assistants like Google Assistant, Microsoft Cortana, Apple Siri, etc. So, how to optimize your website for voice search? Here are some best voice search practices.
Find long-tail keywords: Long-tail keywords are more specific and less competitive than short-tail keywords. For example, “Semrush SEO tool free trial” is a 5-word long-tail keyword, which is less competitive than a short-tail keyword like “Semrush trial”.
Also, long-tail keywords are more likely to be used by people who are closer to making a purchase decision. So, if you want better conversions and targeted traffic to your website from smartphones, use long-tail keywords.
You can use Google Autosuggest, Semrush, Ubersuggest, etc to find long-tail keyword phrases in your niche.
Target question-based keywords: Question-based keywords are keywords that start with a question word, such as “what,” “how,” or “why.” They are often used by smartphone users who are using voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, etc.
Use conversation keywords: To target question-based keywords, you can use the following tips:
- Use Google’s People Also Ask box. When you search for a keyword in Google, scroll down to the “People Also Ask” box, which contains a list of related questions that are often asked by other users.
- Use keyword research tools like Semrush Keyword Magic, as it helps you to find question-based keywords. Simply enter a seed keyword, and the Semrush will generate a list of related keywords, including question-based keywords.
- Consider the types of questions your target audience will likely be asking.
Optimize your content using natural language: Last but not least: you need to optimize your voice searches with natural language. Use simple words within your content. Try to include the phrases that people often use while talking to their voice assistants like Siri or Alexa.
8. Improve Core Web Vitals
Core Web Vitals (CWV) are speed metrics that Google uses to understand how users experience a web page. It simply measures the speed, responsiveness, and visual stability of websites.
The better the CWV scores of your website, the better your search performance.
Semrush is one of the best tools that help you identify the CWV scores of your website.
You can use Semrush’s Site Audit tool to find core web vital scores.
Here’s what it looks like;
As you can see, our site has a decent score of 90% out of 100.
The best part? The tool also gives you suggestions when you scroll down a bit.
Have a look;
See that? You’ll get a breakdown of pages by their status for each Core Web Vitals metric, plus optimization tips.
So, Semrush is an essential tool for anyone who wants to improve their Core Web Vitals.
Here are a few quick tips for improving CWV scores;
- Optimize LCP element. Try to reduce the size of your background images (or images usually). Consider using a WebP image format and preload it.
- Optimize third-party code by hosting your website fonts, analytics, etc., locally
- Make sure to use WebP format while using images. It’s a modern image format that provides excellent lossless image compression.
In case you’re curious, Semrush offers the following three pricing plans.
- Pro plan costs $119.95 per month, where you can add up to 5 projects, 500 keywords to track, and 10,000 results per report.
- Guru plan costs $229.95 per month, where you can add up to 15 projects, 1500 keywords to track, and 30,000 results per report.
- Business plan costs $449.95 per month, where you can add up to 40 projects, 5000 keywords to track, and 50,000 results per report.
Want to try it out for free? You can use the following link to try Semrush FREE for next 14 days.
Go try the Semrush account and if you don’t like it, you can cancel it before the trial ends. If not, they also offer a 7-day money-back guarantee, so you’ve nothing to lose.
A Quick Checklist for Mobile Website SEO
Here is a handy mobile SEO checklist for SEOs and website owners.
- Using a mobile-friendly theme is the easiest to create a responsive website. There are a ton of responsive themes available for WordPress users. We recommend GeneratePress or Astra.
- Test your website on different mobile devices. Even if your site is mobile responsive, it’s better to make sure your website looks good and works properly on all devices. You can try a free tool like BrowserStack to test how your website renders across various devices.
- Have a fast mobile site load speed. Compress everything you can, including minifications, compressing databases, GZIP compression, etc. You can use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to identify areas where you can improve your mobile website speed. Make sure to optimize images and use compressed files to improve loading times.
- Always make your website easier to read and interact with on mobile devices. Use mobile-first indexing and prioritize mobile content, and make sure it’s equivalent to desktop content.
- Optimize your content for mobile devices. Use shorter paragraphs, larger fonts, and more images. Make your content easy to read and scannable on mobile devices.
- Use text-to-speech, which allows smartphone users to listen to your website content instead of reading it. It is extremely helpful for users who are on the go or who have difficulty reading.
- If you’re running a local business, target location-based keywords. Local keywords can help you reach mobile users searching for businesses or services in your area.
FAQs on mobile SEO strategy
Here are some frequently asked questions about mobile search engine optimization.
You can use a free tool like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to test your website on different devices, such as smartphones. If your site is not mobile responsive, you can use a mobile-friendly theme for your website.
Mobile SEO is the process of optimizing your website for people who are using smartphones and tablets to browse information online.
According to Google, half of searches come from mobile devices. If your website or business is NOT optimized for mobile, you’ll lose all the traffic, leads, and sales. Mobile optimization helps you with better sales and traffic.
Some of the best ways to improve mobile SEO are;
– Use a responsive design
– Make your website really faster on mobile devices (Use CDN, optimize images, etc)
– Target question keywords (most voice searches are questions)
Mobile SEO PRIMARILY focuses on optimizing your website for mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, whereas desktop SEO focuses on optimizing your website for desktop computers and laptops.
- What is Organic Search? Everything You Need to Know
- Bing SEO 2024: A Simple Yet Practical Guide for Beginners
- 12 Proven YouTube SEO Tips to Get Your Videos Noticed
- People Also Ask SEO: How to Optimize & Rank for PAA
Final thoughts on SEO for mobile devices
Make sure to test your website on different mobile devices to see if it looks good on ALL.
Page loading time is one of the important elements of mobile SEO optimization, so use a CDN, enable caching, and move to a faster web host.
What are your thoughts on SEO for mobile devices? Do you have a mobile SEO strategy? Have any questions? Let us know in the comments.