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How does mobile optimization differ from SEO?

In the past few years, there has been higher adoption of mobile devices along with easy access to wireless internet across the globe. Prior to this, a computer was the only device that could have been used to search for something on the internet. Thus, businesses focused upon optimizing their website to rank higher on desktop search results.

Despite the surge in mobile searches in recent times, numerous websites are still not ready to account for different load times and screen sizes to incorporate the impact of high adoptions of mobile devices. This is because they do not see a visible difference between mobile optimization and search engine optimization (SEO) and anticipate mobile search traffic to come on its own without any special emphasis on mobile optimization.

However, there is a significant difference between the two mediums. Internet marketers should place more emphasis on mobile optimization because there is a completely different mobile algorithm to provide better experience to mobile devices users. There are numerous other reasons why the results of searches from mobile devices are different from desktop search.

Due to mobility, results on mobile devices are more local in nature. This means that listings on Google Maps may appear higher in mobile search results as opposed to a search run by a desktop device. It may be a more feasible option for small local business because Google has disclosed that more than one-third of searches from mobile devices are local in nature. This shows that people run searches on their mobile devices to find a product, service or address based on their location. Users get tailored results according to their location on their mobile device. This is one of the most prominent difference between mobile and desktop searches.

The difference between desktop SEO and mobile optimization is also on the level of content presented in front of a user. For instance, SEO experts consider that each website should present minimum 250 words of text. On the other hand, on a mobile web page, much less content is preferred as it is very challenging to read large amount of texts on a tablet or mobile device screen.

Another significant difference arises on the keywords used. When a search is generated by a desktop computer, a user types a word in the search engine but this is not necessary when a search is done over a tablet or mobile device. The keyword can change significantly as the user wants a more focused or localized result on the mobile device. A search can also be voice-activated, which also changes the game. Thus, when creating content for a website, it is vital to incorporate all these factors and research upon mobile and desktop keywords based on the content.

The positioning on the search result also differs in mobile and normal SEO. In desktop SEO, appearing on the first page of the search result is often considered as a normal practice. However, the screen of mobile devices is much smaller and if your website does not appear in the top four search results, it would be very difficult to divert traffic to your website as the click through rate (CTR) falls immensely. A searcher on a mobile device is more involved but less interested in scrolling down further as opposed to a person searching through a desktop device.

In addition to this, the mobile search algorithm is much more extensive than desktop search algorithm. The mobile search algorithm can access SMS, location, applications and mobile bookmarks on the devices. These factors can change rankings of search results by as much as 86%.

Author: Tahir Ashraf
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