How Does “Thinking Mobile” Impact SEO Strategy?



Although it varies by industry, thanks to second-screening and the monumental rise of the smartphone you can almost guarantee that a large proportion of visitors to your website are using a mobile device. If you’re not adjusting your SEO strategy accordingly, then you’re going to lose out on traffic.

Do you have a mobile SEO strategy in place?

Responsive Websites

In 2015 it is generally accepted that a website should be optimised for all devices. This is for various reasons; not only because in many parts of the world mobile searches have surpassed desktop, but also because a single, responsive website is often a superior option in terms of SEO performance.

Let’s imagine two scenarios where we do not have a responsive website:

Scenario 1 – No mobile website

For the increasing volume of searches performed on mobile, a desktop-only site is less likely to rank well, as search engines aim to provide the best possible search experience. The poor ‘pinch and zoom’ user-experience impacts site engagement metric such as average page views per visit and bounce rate, which are also believed to be ranking factors. Beyond this, conversion rates are almost guaranteed to suffer when users on mobile devices access a desktop website.

Scenario 2 – Dedicated mobile site (

Whilst this was a good option before responsive, or “fluid”, websites were developed, in the modern search environment dedicated mobile websites do not stand up to scrutiny.  Sub-domains are treated as separate websites by search engines, diluting the impact of any link building activities. Dedicated sites can also complicate matters in as much as canonical tags are generally required to avoid duplicate content issues, meaning more work to get your SEO up to scratch.

Responsive site screen shots

Mobile SEO Strategy

Broadly speaking, a mobile SEO strategy for a responsive website should not differ too much from a traditional approach. Although the fundamentals of SEO remain relatively consistent (particularly off-site SEO), there are certain exceptions where the ranking algorithm changes. Let’s explore how you can ensure your SEO is catering for mobile effectively:

Content Architecture

Due to the nature of ‘mobile’ devices, the screens tend to be smaller than a desktop device. This means that your content architecture may need further consideration, as pixel width is at a premium for mobile searchers.  When developing a responsive website, think about which information is most important and which information you want to appear first for mobile users and for desktop users.

info hierachy


Mobile searches provide search engines with more implicit data, such as location. Implicit data means that search engines can infer additional information, appended on to your actual query.  For example, if you’re standing on your local high street, the search “food” is likely to imply “food near me”, or even “places to eat near me”, which provides an entirely different set of potential target queries.

For local businesses, geo-targeted SEO campaigns are an absolute must, which makes local citations, local business schema mark-up and Google Business accounts vital. Make the most of those rich snippets and local search results to maximise organic traffic.

Local SEO

Page Speed

Site load time has long since been a ranking factor, due to the emphasis search engines place on the ‘search experience’. On mobile devices, this facet of SEO becomes even more crucial as the user is likely operating on a mobile network. With the various online speed-testing tools you can easily assess your own site, but losslessly compressing images and ‘minifying’ your JS / CSS is a good place to start.

Conversational Search

In years gone by, people would have found it strange if you started to have a conversation with an inanimate object. But nowadays, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask Siri a question whilst sat on the bus!

The development of voice recognition on mobile devices has bred a new type of conversational search query, where users simply ask for “the nearest…” or “the best…”, or even just good old fashioned FAQs. As an SEO strategist, you need to be aware that this may present a different style of search query and you should be optimising for both!

SEO for Conversational Search

User Intent

What is the user looking for? Are you giving them what they want? User intent, which some SEO specialists argue should be your primary concern, may differ on mobile devices. Searches may either be intent questions, which request an answer to a specific question, and some searches may be navigational in nature rather than informational.

The idea of navigational search relates back to information architecture, noted above. Often, when a user searches for your brand name, they’re really just looking for the quickest way to find your website. Information such as contact details should be readily available on mobile devices in case they simply want to get in touch. Furthermore, you may want to consider including a link to the contact page within the site-links, and potentially even a call extension within PPC ads for branded search terms, to reduce the number of steps required to contact you.

What other factors do you think are integral to a mobile SEO strategy? Let us know in the comments or Tweet us.

Passion Digital are no strangers to SEO or responsive websites. If you would like to talk to us about either feel free to get in touch with any comments or questions.