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What do you usually do when you have a question?

If you’re like most people, you probably use your phone to google the answer. In fact, over half of the global web traffic in 2023 came from smartphones. So, optimizing your website for mobile users is crucial if you want to grow your online presence.

Plus, Google switched to mobile-first indexing in 2020, which means that its algorithms primarily use your website’s mobile version to index and rank it. That makes mobile SEO even more important if you want to rank your website at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

With that in mind, we’ll cover eight mobile SEO optimization tips to improve your rankings across all devices and grow your business.

What is mobile SEO?

Mobile search engine optimization is the process of optimizing your website to rank higher in mobile search results. It’s about making sure that your website not only looks superb on smaller screens but also delivers a great user experience for mobile users.

Key differences between desktop and mobile SEO

While desktop and mobile SEO share common goals, you need to apply different strategies to accommodate the distinct characteristics and user behaviors associated with each type of device.

Here are some key differences:

 Desktop SEOMobile SEO
User behavior and intentDesktop users may spend more time on detailed research or reading long-form content.Mobile users are typically on the go, looking for quick answers and immediate solutions.
NavigationNavigation can be more complex, relying on mouse clicks and hover effects.Requires thumb-friendly navigation. Users should be able to access everything easily with finger taps.
SEO focusCan focus on a broader range of keywords and content types.Stronger focus on local SEO (“near me” searches and mobile-specific keywords).
PopupsCan handle certain types of popups without affecting the user experience.Popups cover a significant amount of content and can hurt the mobile experience.

Why is mobile SEO important?

Most people prefer to search on mobile, and that number has kept on growing over the years. According to Stat Counter, 57.87% of all searches occurred on mobile devices in 2023. Mobile SEO ensures that your website caters to this ever-growing audience.

On top of that, Google switched to mobile-first indexing for all websites in September 2020 (as we mentioned earlier). That means that Google now primarily uses your website’s mobile version for indexing and ranking. In other words, your mobile site’s performance and content quality are key factors in how your website ranks in search results.

How to check if your website is mobile optimized

Like most people, you probably used Google’s mobile-friendly test to check if your website was optimized for mobile users.

However, Google discontinued the Mobile-Friendly Test API, Google Search Console Mobile Usability report and the Mobile-Friendly Test tool on Dec. 4, 2023. They announced it on their official X account.

Google’s tweet on X about discontinuation of various mobile-friendly test tools.

The tech company combined these tools into one platform called Lighthouse, which you can use to check mobile usability aspects like page load speed, mobile navigation and content clarity.

Still, other ways exist to check if your website is mobile-optimized. Let’s look at three of them.

Tools like BrowserStack

BrowserStack is a testing platform that allows you to test your website on desktop and mobile browsers.

BrowserStack’s Google Chrome extension.

To use the tool, you need to install the Chrome extension on your computer.

Afterward, you can open your website and select the BrowserStack logo on your extension toolbar. Then, select the browser and device combination you’d like to test on.

Once the webpage launches in the selected combination, you can use BrowserStack’s Dev Tools to test your website for mobile friendliness.

Google’s PageSpeed Insights

Another effective way to test your website for mobile optimization is through PageSpeed Insights. This tool evaluates your site’s speed and offers detailed suggestions for optimization.

Once you visit the website, type in your URL and click the Analyze button.

Analyzing your website’s URL using Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

The tool will take a few seconds to analyze your webpages. It’ll assess various aspects of your website, like HTML structure, use of JavaScript and CSS and image optimization.

Once the analysis is complete, the platform will provide results for mobile and desktop versions of your website.

Some core web vitals assessment metrics to look at include:

  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP): This marks the point when the webpage’s main content is fully displayed on the screen. Google suggests an LCP should occur within 2.5 seconds of when the page first starts loading.
  • First Input Delay (FID): FID measures the duration between a user’s initial interaction with a webpage (such as clicking a link) and the browser’s response to that interaction. According to Google’s guidelines, a good FID is less than 100 milliseconds.
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS): CLS measures unforeseen changes in the layout of visible content on a webpage. Layout shifts occur when elements on the page move around as the page loads. Google suggests a CLS score of less than 0.1 for a good user experience.

Manually checking in different devices and browsers

Sometimes, the best way to check for mobile-friendliness is by doing it yourself.

Open your website on a smartphone and tablet and pay attention to how your website looks, how quickly it loads and how easy it is to navigate.

Also, test your website in popular browsers like Chrome, Safari and Firefox to make sure users have a consistent experience when accessing your website regardless of the browser.

Mobile SEO tips

Let’s now look at eight mobile SEO tips to improve your rankings and increase your mobile traffic.

1. Create a mobile-friendly website

Our first SEO tip is to create a mobile-friendly site, which you can do in four ways:

Method 1: Use a responsive web design.

A responsive design means that your website’s layout adjusts perfectly to fit the screen size of the user’s device — whether it’s a desktop, tablet or smartphone.

If you’re on WordPress, the easiest way to implement a responsive design is to install themes that are responsive out of the box. Some responsive themes include OceanWP and Astra.

Mobile-responsive themes on WordPress.

You can also code your WordPress theme with the required responsive specifications if you’re a developer. However, when changing your website’s code, remember to back up your website. That way, you can revert to the original state if you make any errors.

Method 2: Implement dynamic serving.

Dynamic serving generates different HTML versions of your site depending on the device requesting the page (i.e., whether the user is on a desktop or smartphone) but uses the same URL regardless of the device.

Method 3: Use separate URLs.

Here, you incorporate separate URLs for mobile and desktop versions of your website. For example, you can have for mobile and for desktop.

Method 4: Outsource the design process.

Alternatively, you can outsource the design process to professionals like Bluehost if you want to focus on your business and avoid the nitty gritty of web designing.

Bluehost can build a mobile-friendly and search-engine optimized website for you. We target relevant keywords to improve your visibility on search engines so you can attract quality traffic to your website.

2. Optimize your website’s load speed

Users expect your website to load almost instantaneously. In that sense, a slow-loading website can frustrate them and lead them to move on to another website, resulting in a higher bounce rate. Bounce rates rise by 32% if your page load time increases from one to three seconds.

Search engines, like Google, prioritize user experience. They recognize that users prefer fast-loading websites and use load speed as a ranking factor. Therefore, a faster website also means a better chance of ranking higher in search results.

With that in mind, here are some ways to improve your website’s loading time:

  • Compress images: The simplest way is to install plugins like Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer, which optimize images automatically when uploading them to your website. They also help you optimize JPG images you previously uploaded individually or in bulk.
  • Minify your website’s code (like CSS, JavaScript and HTML): This involves removing characters like whitespaces, comments, block delimiters and line breaks in the source code. Some WordPress plugins you can use to minify your code include Autoptimize and Fast Velocity Minify.
  • Leverage browser caching: Caching allows details from your website’s pages to be stored locally on a user’s device. That way, when the user browses a webpage on your website, the information is retrieved from their computer’s local storage rather than your web server. This results in faster loading times. You can install free caching plugins like WP Super Cache or WP Rocket to speed up your website.
  • Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): CDNs like Cloudflare store copies of your website’s content on multiple servers worldwide. This allows users to load from the closest server, reducing load time.

3. Keep your content mobile-friendly

People will stay on your website longer if they can easily read and interact with your content on a smaller screen. When that happens, you’ll get better metrics like higher click-through rates, longer session times and lower bounce rates.

Here are some ways to make your content mobile-friendly:

  • Use white space: Incorporate ample white space between elements on your webpage. This makes your content less crowded and easier to digest.
  • Use shorter paragraphs: Break your content into shorter, more manageable chunks instead of long paragraphs. This way, users can quickly scan your content.
  • Use large, readable fonts: Opt for fonts that are easy to read on mobile devices. Fonts like Arial or Times New Roman are generally a good choice.

4. Keep your mobile site navigation simple

People often navigate websites on mobile screens with just one hand. So, a straightforward navigation structure helps users find what they want quickly.

If mobile visitors struggle to navigate your website, they’ll likely leave and not return. The result? Lower engagement rates, which can potentially hurt your rankings.

Simple navigation reduces this risk and keeps visitors on your website longer. The following tips can help keep your website navigation mobile-friendly:

  • Stick to essential menu items that represent your website’s core content, as too many options can overwhelm users.
  • Use a hamburger menu that hides the navigation menu until it’s needed. Make sure to place the hamburger menu icon in an accessible spot, typically at the top corners of the screen.
  • Make touch elements (like buttons and links) finger-friendly. Also, provide adequate space around these elements to prevent accidental taps to neighboring elements.
  • Use accordion menus to organize content in a way that’s easy to navigate. An accordion menu is a list of headers stacked vertically and can be clicked to reveal or hide content.
  • Include a search function that allows visitors to quickly find specific information on your website.

5. Use schema markup

Schema markup gives search engines a structure of your website’s content, which helps them categorize and index it easily. This leads to improved visibility and rankings.

You can visit to understand the properties of each schema type.

After choosing the appropriate schema type, use free tools like Google’s Structured Data Markup Helper to generate schema markup code in JSON-LD and Microdata. Once you add the code to your webpage, search engines can display them as rich snippets on the SERPs.

Google's Structured Data Markup Helper homepage.

You can also use plugins like Schema – All In One Schema Rich Snippets or Yoast SEO to implement various schema types when creating content for your WordPress website.

6. Optimize for voice search

With digital assistants like Siri and Alexa, more people are using voice commands for online searches.

According to the Smart Audio Report, 62% of American adults use a voice assistant on devices such as smartphones, smart speakers and in-car systems. Meanwhile, 27% of Internet users globally use voice search on mobile.

Given such stats, here are some tips to optimize your website for voice search:

  • Incorporate long-tail keywords and natural language that mimic how real people talk and ask questions. Tools like Answer the Public can help you find such phrases.
  • Add an FAQ section on your mobile pages to answer common questions related to your business. Make sure to frame the questions and answers in a conversational tone, as this mirrors how people typically conduct voice searches.
  • Keep an eye on how voice search evolves. Tools like Google Search Console can provide insights into people’s search queries, which can help you refine your mobile SEO strategy.

7. Minimize the use of popups on mobile

While popups can be a powerful tool for conversions, they can also be a double-edged sword, especially on mobile devices.

Mobile screens are smaller, making popups not just intrusive but often frustrating for users. They can cover the page’s content and lead to accidental clicks, which detracts from the overall user experience.

If you must add popups, ensure they’re non-intrusive and easy to dismiss. Make the close button prominent and easy to tap.

You can also opt for other alternatives like sticky bars (small banners at the top or bottom of the screen), slide-ins or in-line CTAs, which are less intrusive but still effective.

8. Optimize for local SEO

Optimizing your website for local searches is a great way to connect with your local audience.

Searches with local intent often have higher conversion rates since people searching for something “near me” usually want to purchase. In fact, 76% of users who use smartphones to search for local businesses visit the business premises within a day, and 28% of them make a purchase.

With that in mind, here’s how to optimize your website for local SEO:

  • List your business on Google My Business. Update your profile with accurate information, including your phone number, address and business hours.
  • Use keywords that reflect local search queries. Include the name of your city, neighborhood and other local identifiers in your mobile content, metadata and URLs.
  • Include phrases like “near me” or “close by” in your content, as these are common in voice and mobile searches. You can also share local news and events relevant to your audience.
  • Encourage customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business listing and other relevant local directories to boost your visibility in search results.

Final thoughts: Mobile SEO optimization tips to improve ranking in 2024

Now that you know why mobile SEO is important and how it can improve your search rankings, it’s time to implement the strategies we’ve discussed to increase your organic traffic.

Creating a mobile-friendly website is the foundation of mobile SEO. It provides a quality user experience that aligns with search engine requirements.

Bluehost can build a mobile-optimized website that aligns with your design and marketing needs. We also offer SEO and pay-per-click (PPC) services and research your competitors’ digital marketing strategies so you can improve yours.

Contact us today to learn how we can improve your search engine rankings and grow your business.

  • Minal Agarwal

    Minal is the Director of Brand Marketing at Bluehost. With over 15 years of business experience in the technology industry, she strives to create solutions and content that fulfill a customer's needs. She is a dog mom and a stickler for calendaring.

    Masters in Marketing Management
    Previous Experience
    Strategic Partnerships, Customer Success, Events and Community
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