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How to Be Mobile-First in 2023


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SERP Matrix How to Be Mobile-First in 2023

If you do not have a mobile SEO strategy for your business, you could miss out on a big chunk of your potential customer base. This can be a major mistake for many companies.

Statistics are increasingly showing that becoming mobile is a huge factor when it comes to generating leads and completing sales. Many changes to the Google algorithm have placed greater emphasis on mobile app development.

Failure to update a website for mobile concerns can potentially lead to a business website being all but invisible in search engine result pages (SERPs). It will be very important for every business to know what mobile SEO is, why it is important, and what they must do to optimize their websites.

What Is Mobile SEO?

Mobile SEO is another way of saying mobile search engine optimization. It will involve optimizing website content to achieve better rankings for web pages in SERPs.

The process helps a company improve its organic traffic, which is the kind of traffic coming to a website from the basic search results. Even though there are several search engines, Google is the most important one for mobile SEO since it accounts for more than 95 percent of the mobile search market.

OptinMonster has a collection of eye-opening mobile SEO statistics, including 40 percent of people preferring to use mobile devices to complete the entire shopping process. It also reported that 80 percent of social media time is spent on mobile devices.

Why Is Mobile SEO Important?

There are multiple reasons why companies should start paying attention to mobile optimization.

Mobile Search Is on the Rise

We all want to take advantage of recent trends, and statistics have shown for years now that mobile searches exceed desktop searches. The bottom line is that more people using mobile devices to perform searches only further incentivizes business to be mobile friendly.

Mobile Content Can Determine Google Search Ranking

After Google switched to a mobile-first index, mobile content of a web page now determines its search engine ranking. When companies do not focus on mobile SEO, they risk having poorly ranked content.

Mobile Searches Drive Sales

Mobile often involves presale searches. Google’s own research shows that mobile searches for product reviews increased 35 percent over two years, people spent the equivalent of 50,000 years of watch time looking at video reviews, and mobile searches including the word “best” have increased by 80 percent over two years.

When people are looking to buy products, companies will want to be sure that the right search terms lead them to their websites. There are also 40 percent of people who prefer to use mobile devices to complete the entire shopping process, from researching a product to buying it.

Mobile SEO Affects Voice Search

Voice search is another growing area of the search engine concerns because it is becoming increasingly popular. From home assistant devices such as Amazon’s Echo to others, people are using their smartphones or tablets to work with voice search functions.

A survey released by BrightEdge found that 62 percent of businesses are not optimizing for voice searches. The survey also found 28 percent of businesses were somewhat likely to optimize, 7 percent were very likely, and only 3 percent were already implementing a strategy.

How to Check For Mobile Traffic

Determining how much mobile traffic a website gets involves logging in to Google Analytics and navigating to Audience and then Mobile. There will be a breakdown of the numbers and percentages of website traffic using desktops, tablets, and mobile devices.

On top of the basic overview, there will also be data for different periods with the onscreen date selector. In most cases, the percentage of mobile traffic goes up.

How to Check If a Website Is Mobile-Friendly

When a company is wondering whether its website is mobile friendly, a good starting point can be Google’s mobile-friendly test. Simply type a URL into the search box, click Run Test, and there will be a report showing whether the webpage is mobile-friendly or not.

It can also be a good idea to check whether Google can successfully crawl a website. Crawling is how search engines find and index website content.

If search engines cannot crawl websites, the content cannot and will not appear in SERPs. There are two tools people can use for checking crawl information.

Begin by logging in to Google Search Console and going to Crawl, Crawl Errors, and Smartphone. There will be a graph and a table outlining any errors.

How to Check If a Website Is Mobile-Friendly With SEMrush

Another great tool that can help companies identify crawl errors for mobile SEO is SEMrush. You can check your mobile SEO with the SEMrush Site Audit tool.

When you have a site audit set up for your website, press the gear icon and you will see a dropdown menu. Click on User-agent: SEMrushBot-desktop.

Change the user-agent to the SEMrush or Google mobile bots, and SEMrush will generate a report. After you have the report, go to the Issues tab and SEMrush will give more details of issues found and suggest how to fix them.

Even though addressing certain desktop SEO issues can also handle some mobile SEO issues, certain SEO issues will be mobile-specific. Examples may include looking after the mobile user experience, optimizing content for mobile users, and handling technical mobile SEO.

Mobile User Experience

The mobile user experience often needs constant optimization. If a company fails in this regard, people do not stick around long enough to read content, subscribe to email marketing lists, or become lead magnets.

The bounce rate can often be one of the best places to start. Stone Temple Consulting reports that the mobile bounce rate is higher than the desktop one.

Because dwell time (which is the amount of time people stick around after following a link to a website) will be a major SEO ranking factor, the more people bounce will be worse for mobile search ranking. Here are steps you can take.

Speed Up Your Site

Google says that 53 percent of website visits will be abandoned if the website takes more than 3 seconds to load. Half of all visitors expect pages to load in 1-2 seconds, meaning companies cannot afford to sacrifice on speed.

Google’s mobile speed test can be a good starting point for determining whether you are dealing with speed issues. Simply type in a URL and the tool scans the website before issuing a report showing how the website compares and suggesting fixes to improve mobile page speed and mobile SEO.

Some of the most commonly suggested fixes can include:

  • Compressing images as large image files may slow down a website
  • Combining and minifying code to reduce the number of page requests
  • Using caching to serve pages more quickly

Make Your Site Responsive

A website will have to be responsive. A responsive site is a website in which the design elements resize according to the device to give users the best possible visual and browsing experience.

When a company is running a WordPress website, making it responsive can be as simple as installing the proper theme. It can also be beneficial to revisit Google’s guidelines for responsive web design.

Create a Seamless Experience

Google reports that 63 percent of people expect brands to deliver a consistent experience every time a person interacts with the brand, but only 42 percent believe this happens. The result is that mobile-friendly websites cannot be trimmed down versions of full websites but must instead offer everything a person would do on a desktop version.

Use Mobile-Friendly Popups

Businesses will want to promote their offers, webinars, lead magnets, and other content marketing. In the era of Chrome ad blocker, it is now more important than ever to avoid ruining a user experience with zero-second popups or poorly designed marketing campaigns.

The OptinMonster app includes device-specific display rules, such as behavioral triggers like Exit-Intent, MonsterLinks 2-step optins, and mobile-friendly themes. Saltwater fishing club Salt Strong increased its conversions by 185 percent with OptinMonster’s mobile campaigns.

Mobile Content Optimization

Assuming a company gets people to stay on its website, content will have to be optimized for mobile visitors. Whether it is desktops or mobile devices, content remains one of Google’s top three search ranking factors.

Improving mobile SEO will require having an excellent content strategy. Some mobile optimization tips similar to regular SEO can include:

  • Write appealing headlines that make people want to read more
  • Understand how and when to include Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keywords in content
  • Optimize content for keyword intent
  • Build inbound links to content to increase authority and relevance for particular search terms
  • Make content in-depth (more than 2,000 words) so it gets top search rankings, and so people want to link to it and share it


There is a twist to the usual SEO advice. When a company is optimizing primarily for mobile, it should do mobile keyword research with SEMrush.

Doing Mobile Keyword Research With SEMrush

Under Keyword Overview, you can type your search term into the onscreen search box. You will be shown desktop search keywords and you can change this to see mobile search terms by clicking the drop-down menu by the device button.

According to Google’s latest research, many mobile searchers take advantage of location and do “near me” searches. Such searches increased by 130% in one year.

Showing up for these searches means filling out a Google My Business listing and including a business name, address, and phone number. This also addresses many local SEO concerns.

Optimize Titles and Descriptions to Improve Mobile SEO

If a business is optimizing for desktop search, they already know the importance of titles and meta descriptions. Both will tell Google and searchers what a page is about and show up in SERPs as a way to entice people to click.

When it comes to mobile, people may not see the entire title or description because of the smaller screen size. This will make it more important to put the most important part of a title and description at the start so searchers know exactly what they will get when they click.

Social Media and Mobile SEO

Google has not claimed that social media is any kind of ranking factor, but there is other research which suggests a stronger correlation between social media and search ranking. Cognitive SEO research shows that higher average numbers of shares, comments, and likes on social networking websites can impact site rankings in SERPs.

ComScore further reports that 80 percent of social media time is spent on mobile devices. An easy way to boost your social profile is to make it easy for people to share your content with social sharing buttons.

Technical SEO for Mobile

Start by ensuring that your website has a sitemap. Sitemaps help Google crawl websites effectively.

A person will also need to secure their website with HTTPS, as websites that are not secure can be flagged. Many people do not visit insecure websites, so people should use SEMrush to check for site security issues that may affect mobile SEO.

Within content, companies need to use header tags such as H1, H2, and H3, to highlight content hierarchy. That will let Google know which is the most important content on the page.

Companies should also use schema markup so Google knows what kind of content they have on their websites. People can implement this through Google Search Console.

When a company is running two versions of its website, they must specify canonical URLs. This will tell Google which version of a page is the original or authoritative one.

Google is attempting to get accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) accepted as the web standard for fast-loading, mobile-friendly content. While this makes it a good idea to set up AMP on your website, and companies using MonsterInsights to monitor their analytics can easily set up AMP on a WordPress website.

Getting Ready for Voice Search

If you are wondering about the future of mobile SEO, many parties are in agreement that voice search is going to be the next big thing. ComScore reports that half of all smartphone users use voice technology and one-third of them use it daily.

In addition to using LSI keywords and schema markup, a few other things companies can do to nail mobile SEO for voice search will involve Google’s search quality ratings and what it refers to as “eyes-free voice assistants.” Google emphasizes:

  • Answering questions fully or delivering the right information in response to a voice search query
  • Having answers that are the right length to answer a query (we’ll tell you what the research suggests below)
  • Having correctly formulated answers


One possible shortcut to optimizing for mobile voice search is to optimize for answer boxes and featured snippets. Improving mobile SEO for answer boxes can mean:

  • Answering questions correctly and relevantly
  • Using the questions as subheadings
  • Including lists or tables in the article


A Backlinko study also found:

  • Most voice search results are on average 29 words long
  • Sites with a high domain authority are more likely to be seen in voice search results
  • Content that ranks well in desktop search is also likely to do well on voice search

Find Mobile Web Development Help in Houston, TX | SERP Matrix

SERP Matrix understands the importance of being mobile-friendly for business websites, and we offer mobile app development services. We also help businesses with SEO, PPC advertising, and landing page design and testing.

Let us examine your website to see what we can do. You can call (713) 287-1134 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation.

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