Search Engine Optimization for Mobile Devices

baby playing on an iPad

These days, mobile is king. We hardly use desktops because we’re always on the go. When optimizing your site, it’s important to consider how customers are accessing your content. Yes, there is a difference between search engines on a mobile device and search engines on a computer. And yes, you must optimize for both. Here’s the how and why.

How are search engines different on mobile and on the computer?

According to the Clickz article on mobile optimization, there are a few key ways in which results differ. Just a reminder: Google uses an algorithm to determine the most relevant results. This algorithm determines what kind of device the person is using. If he or she is using a mobile device, Google uses a different algorithm to rank the results. The key difference is that the algorithm for mobile places a higher priority on location. This means that results are more “localized.”

So why do I have to optimize for both?

In his article on SEO in 2016, Gaurav Kumar explained, “Google’s algorithm update this year ensured that mobile-friendly websites get a search ranking boost on mobile searches. As more and more people use mobile to surf the Internet, Google decided to make it easier to find relevant, mobile-optimized websites. So, it now uses mobile-friendliness as a factor in ranking search results.” This infographic on mobile optimization shows that 70% of mobile searches lead to action within an hour, so it’s pretty obvious that mobile optimization is a must.

Okay so what can I do to make sure my website is optimized?

Before fiddling around and giving yourself a heart attack, you should check and see if your website is already optimized for mobile. It’s possible that you are ahead of the game! Google has a tool that will allow you to see if your website is mobile friendly. Website software users should follow Google’s special guide to mobile optimization on platforms like WordPress and Wix. There are plenty of places to buy mobile friendly WordPress themes. We like StudioPress and Theme Forest.

What do I do if my site isn’t up to par?  

If you didn’t pass Google’s test it’s probably because you either haven’t optimized for mobile at all, or you’ve optimized using a problematic method. Either way, MOZ has a list of mobile SEO best practices that’s worth taking a look at.

There are three popular ways to optimize your content: Responsive Web Design, Dynamic Serving, and Different URLs. Google has stated that the best way to optimize for mobile is to use a responsive design, so we won’t waste your time going through the other two. The diagram below shows how responsive design works.

responsive web design diagram
Responsive Web Design. Source



According to MOZ, there are several benefits to using responsive web design. Firstly, you only need one URL. This is beneficial because it makes it easier for customers to remember your address. Having a single website also means that the authority of your brand is consolidated in one place instead of split in two. Secondly, responsive design doesn’t use any redirects, making your page load time quicker and thus improving your rank on search engine results pages. Finally, responsive design doesn’t require you to copy the information on one page to a mobile friendly page. No duplication means no time wasted!

You may be thinking, responsive web design is the best so I bet it’s going to cost me an arm and a leg. We have great news for you! Responsive design is actually the cheapest option out there. Messing around with code may not be your forte. If so, you can buy mobile ready html templates from places like, Creative Market. If you have any questions, please leave drop us a note in the comments section!


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