What You Need to Know About Mobile SEO

Seeing the conspicuous increase in the ratio of mobile users daily, it wouldn’t be wrong saying mobile to SEO is like oxygen to hydrogen (H2O) – quite a strong bond! That is how effective mobile SEO is.

SEO, generally, is the approach to practice strategies to rank your content or website on Google or, matter of fact, any search engine, such as Bing or Yahoo. Therefore, a good SEO strategy would, most definitely, improve your online presence, bringing more traffic to your website – both quality and quantity-wise.

What is Mobile SEO?

It is the methodical approach to design a website with responsiveness in usability and functionality, improving the organic search for smartphone users.

The statistics show that 88.97% and 89.64% of the total populations in Malaysia and Singapore have smartphone users who access the internet through their mobile devices. With that being said, it is quintessential for companies in Singapore and Malaysia to adapt advanced search techniques for better positioning on the search engines.

With fast-growing technology advancements, it is not far when search engines would prefer search queries through voice. Technology is about convenience for the user. If you provide a good user experience, the traffic would certainly be inclined towards your website.

5 Tips to Improve Mobile SEO

To get better rankings on Google, your website needs to work properly on mobile devices. There are considerable chances your audience will not look you up again on your website if it is not mobile-friendly. So the major part of mobile SEO is to offer the best user experience for your targeted audience.

1. Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?

Before you start applying significant changes to the website to improve SEO, ensuring the possible associated issues is the best practice; it saves you enough time. It ensures you are investing your time in essential areas that will improve the performance of your website.

The easiest way to check mobile-friendliness or issues encountered during your website’s loading is through Google’s mobile page testing tool. The mobile-friendly test tool of Google can provide you with all the necessary information you require to properly maintain your website’s mobile version.

Google mobile friendly test tool

If you see the above test results of our website, Evolve & Adapt, you will understand how it displays the responsive mobile version on the right with the result on the left saying the page is mobile-friendly.

All you need to do is enter the page URL and click “Test URL”. It will not just show you if the page is mobile-friendly, it, as well, will guide you if there are any issues you need to fix. This tool serves as a green light.

Once you are done fixing the errors, you can easily continue working on the mobile SEO strategy to improve your website’s performance and online visibility.

2. Responsive Design for Mobile Search

Before jumping to the statistics, let us first understand why a responsive design is essential and why everyone talks about it. Imagine you have designed a website and used a font size of 18px for desktop users. Now imagine how 18px font would appear on the mobile version?

Huge, right!?

What about the images? They may not be appropriately aligned on mobile devices!

This would steer your leads away from your business. This is why a responsive website is important in the first place before someone even starts discussing mobile SEO and all its technicalities.

Statistically, over the past few years, the search queries have changed drastically, making mobile searches up to 51.3%, crossing the web searches. If you look at the statistics of Singapore, the Google search engine is used 92.34% on the desktop, whilst 98.25% of the population uses Google search engine through smartphones.

Despite having such impactful statistics showing a vast market of an audience to target, many industries still did not comprehend the primary obvious demand – responsive web design!

Google complies with its users – the entire search engine algorithm changes every few years, understanding users’ ease. In the world (certainly Singapore and Malaysia) where people have somehow shifted towards accessing the internet through mobile devices, Google has, likewise, updated. This means the search engines will favour those websites that are optimised for people using mobile devices.

So if you are short on traffic on your website, now is the time to create a mobile responsive design to reap the SEO rewards.

3. SEO-Friendly Content

Firstly, you need to avoid using large images. High-resolution images load slowly, which gives a bad user experience; it increases the bounce rate. It is better to minimise image size. If you use WordPress, it is recommended to install an image optimiser, like Smush Image Compression. These tools significantly reduce the file size of your images, which can dramatically speed up the load time.

Secondly, make sure the images you upload have proper alt attributes, so search engines can crawl and index them as well. Use appropriate keywords throughout the content – you do not need keyword stuffing – keep it natural. Write keyword-rich meta descriptions. You do not want to lose a chance of getting ranked by a tiny mistake.

Pop-ups are widely used to draw the audience’s attention to certain offers; however, they can make a daunting experience for a mobile user if the pop-up takes the whole screen. Use pop-ups on the website where they are necessary. When you use a pop-up on your mobile version, make sure it does not hide the information essential to the users. Users may leave in frustration. Keep the website as much responsive as you can, so users can scroll through the website conveniently.

4. Importance of Core Web Vitals for Mobile SEO

Core Web Vitals are a set of metrics introduced by Google to improve the user experience. They are the ranking signals that evaluate speed, responsiveness and visual stability, delivering a great user experience on your website.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights offers three metrics that can help you measure the quality of your website’s user experience.

Largest Contentful Paint: the amount of time a page’s main content takes to load. An ideal LCP should be less than or equal to 2.5 seconds.

First Input Delay: the amount of time for a page to become interactive. Ideally, it should take less than or equal to 100ms.

Cumulative Layout Shift: the time consumed by the unexpected layout shift of visual page content. Ideally, it should be less than or equal to 0.1.

Nevertheless, why are we emphasising so much on the mobile version and not the desktop? Is it any different?

Even though the metrics are created for both desktop and mobile versions, yet, according to Google, only mobile signals will be used for rankings. Google has switched to mobile-first indexing, which means the indexed pages will be based on mobile versions, making it a significant part of mobile search engine optimisation.

You can measure Core Vitals through various tools, but Google’s PageSpeed Insights is the most popular tool of all. Enter your website’s URL and press “Analyse”.

PageSpeed Insights Google

Below is our website’s data extracted from the PageSpeed Insights with all the primary Core Web Vitals metrics optimised. A point to ponder is that even though we can view both desktop and mobile data, we will stick to improving the mobile version as much as we can. This does not mean we neglect the desktop version. The desktop’s performance is as important as mobile; however, SEO ranking-wise, we will emphasise overall mobile performance.

PageSpeed Insights

5. Optimise for Local Searches (Local SEO)

Local SEO or local search engine optimisation focuses on optimising a website, so people searching for services or products nearby can locate them quickly. It is becoming increasingly crucial for location-based businesses, especially retail stores, restaurants and B2C service establishments.

Businesses use local SEO to promote their products and services to local customers at the exact time they are searching for them online, usually on mobile devices.

According to Google, 46% of the searches have a “local intent”. Websites that rank on the first position for location-based searches experience the highest increase in the “click-through rate” (6.32% on mobile and 4% on desktop).

In easy words, people, nowadays, search a lot with keywords “near me” or “where can I buy” to find local businesses around them. With so many local searches online – predominantly on mobile devices –  you must adapt the strategy to reach these people to expand your business.

You can use local keywords such as “marketing consultant in Singapore”. You can use the item you offer with the city name or area name as the example above “marketing consultant in [city-name]”.

Using local keywords will help your business appear in local searches, which is a great mobile search engine optimisation strategy to excel in the business industry.

The Bottom Line

All in all, SEO for both desktop and mobile versions is almost the same. It is primarily the responsiveness so that a user can surf through your website positively, gaining enough knowledge to take action on your website. Create good content, solid structure and proper linking. Moreover, keep yourself updated with the latest trends. The technology is evolving, so you need to keep yourself ahead of everybody to compete easily and stand out among your other competitors – locally or globally.

J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 12 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing, and analytics. J C holds a Bachelor of Arts from National University of Singapore and is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse". He has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938, and Money FM 89.3.