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September 25, 2013

SEO Strategies for Mobile Phones and Tablets

Mobile SEO

Experts have been espousing for years now that mobile is the next big thing to hit the technical stratosphere. The truth is, the (mobile) eagle has landed. We can no longer anticipate the relevance of small screens; it’s a bona fide reality. If your business hasn’t yet embraced mobile and tablet designs, you’re late to the party. But there is still time!

While it’s true mobile SEO tactics share many similarities to web strategies, there are plenty of differences too, and these are what separate the masters from the fledglings. Looking for advice on how to rise the ranks in the mobile space? Keep reading and get in-the-know.

It’s Time: Go Mobile

If you don’t have a mobile site for your online business yet, it’s way past time. If you’re ready to hit the small screen with a big splash, you have two options – and this may even be your most important mobile decision:

1) Stand Alone Mobile Site – Many businesses opt to create a site unique for mobile users (also called an m.). These are advantageous because they allow your business to address the specific needs of your mobile customer, without watering down your traditional website.

2) Responsive Web Design – Responsive design is all the rage these days, and for good reason – Google has named it their preferred method for mobile. Responsive design is a site developed to automatically adjust screen dimensions and graphical elements to fit smaller screens. The important factor here is that your URL remains the same for all versions of your site. To quote Google: “Sites that use responsive web design, i.e. sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device. This is Google’s recommended configuration.”

Which should you use? It truly depends on your business. While Google and the masses are currently having a love affair with responsive design, know that this can create a generic experience for all your users, and it isn’t always the right decision for your site. Native development, or sites built specifically for small and large screens, allow you to creatively meet the needs of each audience, and often provide a better user experience.

If you do choose to go native, never fear, Google will list your results as usual. But make no mistake, if you do not choose an m. or responsive site, you may lose your rankings all together. Google will soon be weeding out desktop-only page results to mobile users, and they’ve already started suppressing mobile results that are sub-par.

Don’t assume that because you have a website, it is automatically accessible on mobile devices. Most websites still function poorly, unless they’ve adapted one of the two solutions above. Unless you want to be nixed from mobile entirely, you’re going to have to spend significant time serving this audience.

SEO for Mobile: The Nitty Gritty

Another advantage of choosing an m. mobile site is the ability to create unique on-site SEO strategies for your small screen users. Because responsive design integrates all versions of your site into a single URL, on-site SEO remains the same across the board.

To determine your best move, consider the very telling results from a recent survey of mobile users. A significant 1 in 3 mobile searches were for local results, with 61 percent of those users calling a business as a follow-up.

If you’re a local business, this is big news. It means a large portion of your customers will find you through their phones, and as such, you’ll either want to focus all of your SEO efforts on local strategies, or have a native mobile site with special local tactics.

On the flip side, if you’re strictly online or national/global, responsive design is likely the most logical route. The study shows that while 71 percent of users who respond to a TV or online ad by visiting the merchant’s website on their smartphones, only 21 percent of major online businesses currently have a mobile-specific site. See how many customers you could be wooing? And because the space is still riddled with bad user experiences, loyalty is easier to maintain, just by catering to the small screen audience.

Mobile SEO: What Not to Do

It’s already abundantly clear that assuming your desktop site caters to a mobile crowd is a major no-no, but here are a few more cautions in the small screen SEO space:

  • Pay special attention to load times on mobile devices; this is even more critical than on your desktop website, as smartphones usually have significantly less processing power. Google is still keen on penalizing sites with long load times.
  • Make sure to test your mobile site on as many phone types and operating systems as you can. It’s not a one-size-fits-all world, and many issues are specific to device types and the user’s OS version. You don’t need to cater to everyone, but make sure it functions well on all the current heavy hitters.
  • Optimize your mobile site to not only load and function well, but to tell the story of your site in a quick and concise manner. Mobile users have even shorter attention spans than desktop visitors – make sure your site converts in an instant.

Have you taken your business mobile? If not, why not? We’d love to hear about it in the Comments section!


Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

23 Responses to “SEO Strategies for Mobile Phones and Tablets

    avatar deepa says:

    Nice article , but didn’t get much information about SEO . SEO strategies won’t change for mobile devices. You should have added more details about mobile SEO strategies.

    avatar Ferry says:

    Mobile users is growing rapidly and the numbers continue to grow over time.

    If we can target our product sales target to go explore the world of Go Mobile the basic knowledge of SEO for Mobile needs to be known and explored in earnest when did we have a dream to succeed in the mobile online world.

    Thank you for sharing useful knowledge and information is

    Mobile phones will become the second largest SEO platform, this is without a doubt.

    Mobile subscriber growth allows businesses to see the unlimited business opportunities.

    avatar Ledstar Lighting Co., Ltd says:

    Thanks for sharing! This brings great help to me.

    avatar amit says:

    yes, website must be responsive in case of mobiles and laptops,
    well said…

    Great article – we are just about to upload a new responsive site – a bit behind but at least it is coming.

    avatar Dianne says:


    This post is very useful since most people use mobile devices and want quick access. This is great I really enjoyed it. You also showed both sides of the technology, the advantages and what not to do.


    avatar Beth says:

    Thanks for the advice Tina! I definitely think that mobiles and tablets are the future of the internet!

    Websites should be browser friendly. They should be easily viewed in any browser, either desktop browser or mobile browser. Yes, the concept of mobile application will be an advantage here. And SEO Friendly web is always best. Nice post. This will increase awareness of web seo and mobile friendly seo.

    avatar Linton says:

    What are your thoughts on .tel websites? they are specifically designed for mobiles & tablets. we have one but not sure if it is also a way forward and if they get ranked in similar fashion?
    your thoughts?

    avatar TIn says:

    Hi there!

    .tel sites actually have some SEO features built in, by their very nature. No coding required for some core elements like:

    *No HTML coding or webmaster knowledge required
    * Machine-readable structured content
    * Increased relevance and authoritative data source
    * Standard source of contact information for directory listings
    * Continuous re-indexing
    * Structured layout for multi-faceted hierarchy of info
    * Localization for geo-based searches

    For the right business, these are golden 🙂

    avatar Ryan Dye says:

    Great article. We are having our site redesigned to be responsive, versus the mobile version we have now. Responsive makes more sense to me because the user can still access all the functionality of the site, instead of the stripped down mobile site.

    Thanks, information is very useful, for Tablet and Smartphone SEO can not be ruled out, because this is one way to increase traffic on the website.

    avatar N Quamar says:

    True that we need to now start concentrating on mobile devices as well to get more business, but I am expecting an article on how to monitise mobile site as on small screen ad space is very less.

    “While Google and the masses are currently having a love affair with responsive design” – Haha

    Very current Tina!

    avatar Tony Ramirez says:

    We are having trouble with dudamobile right now for mobile redirects. Anyone use them?

    avatar Fani says:

    I like this article. But, I can’t find some SEO strategies there. Pardon me if I’m wrong. I think, SEO won’t change for mobile devices ..

    avatar Teresa White says:

    I have gone responsive on a new site looking at analytics, its is about 60% desktops, 40% mobile devices which really suprised me.

    While I struggle for on page content on the web site as my range is so big (and all similar items) it seems to be working for me on the mobiles as it is a to the point description and an image with alt tags.

    My bounce rate has plummeted, the page views are up and even more suprising is the average time on site is 6 minutes-8 minutes.

    Yet conversions are down, it is a quiet time of year so Christmas will tell whether people will actually use the carts online or of they are just browsing and will then use desktops to purchase.

    I think the best options for website owners is to embrace the responsive website design, this will help them to accommodate visitors using devices from all platforms.

    I am using responsive design. Wasn’t sure at first, but more convinced as I read articles about mobile device a while back.

    Have to work on the loading time. Doesn’t seem too bad, but want it shorter.

    Thanks for the information.

    halo ,,
    selamat pagi juraga infonya bergua sekali ,terima kasih

    avatar Cara Laptop says:

    Another advantage of choosing an m. mobile site is the ability to create unique on-site SEO strategies for your small screen users. Because responsive design integrates all versions of your site into a single URL, on-site SEO remains the same across the board.

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