What is mobile SEO and why should you care?

So, you've got a website and it's making you money. But have you ever looked at your site on a mobile phone? Or a tablet? It might not function as well, especially on a 3g connection. So then you start thinking about mobile website design, but if you're thinking about that, have you given any thought to mobile SEO?

Mobile SEO is a phrase that's thrown around the web a lot lately. Especially with the continued rise of the smartphone and the ever-increasing sales through m-commerce (that is mobile-commerce to the layman). But what is mobile SEO?

The simple answer is that it's the same thing as normal SEO, only for mobile phones. But that might not help if you don't know what SEO is all about.

Simply, mobile SEO is concerned with ensuring that potential customers not only find your website, but also stay on it to make a purchase (or come back to do so) and hopefully tell their friends about it afterwards.

Desktop SEO and Mobile SEO go hand-in-hand

If your website is currently being looked after by an ethical digital marketing agency like us, then you'll be seeing good results from your website, but you might not see the same results from mobile browsing. But you should (at least to some degree) because standard (desktop) SEO and mobile SEO should go hand-in-hand. They both should aim for the same goal - a quick, friendly, easy-to-use website which is relevant to the user. With good search engine rankings that result from a good digital marketing campaign, you'll find mobile users making their way to your site, but their experience of your site might not be great and this could result in you losing a customer.

Potential problems with a standard website viewed on a mobile phone are:

  • Issues with the way the site is displayed
  • Slow loading speeds
  • Awkward navigation
  • Elements of the site not loading or working

Websites designed specifically for mobile are better because they are (theoretically) faster and easier to use with big navigation buttons which can be clicked with a thumb or finger and function well. But there are other considerations of mobile SEO.

The Single URL Theory

Many mobile websites are built in a subdomain or folder of the normal site e.g. http://m.examplesite.com or http://examplesite.com/mobile/ but this potentially raises issues with duplicate content and problems with link building. You potentially have two versions of each page on your site with the same content (a big no-no in Google's eyes) and if a user links to your site while on their phone then he/she is using the mobile link and this could cause a dilution of potential 'link juice'.

So the best practice is a single URL whereby the same URL (e.g. http://examplesite.com/products.html) is returned no matter what device your customer is using to browse the website. As long as Googlebot-Mobile and standard Googlebot have the right content returned to them and you have a good mobile XML site map, there should be no danger of duplicate content and you'll have a user-friendly website that is perfect for link building as well.

Getting The Most Out of Mobile

Having a good digital marketing campaign which incorporates both desktop and mobile SEO will mean that you'll see a better return on your investment and improved revenue generation, especially as mobile user continues to increase and the search engines begin to focus more and more on mobile.

If you're wondering whether you need a mobile website and/or mobile website design, check Analytics (or our iStats Platform) and see how much traffic you already get through mobile browsers and then take a look at your site on a phone, have a poke around and see how it functions. You'll soon see the potential value.