The 10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes

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Google has been delivering a constant message since “mobilegeddon” in 2015: they’re switching to mobile-first indexing, and that you must be mobile-first.

Mobile-first signifies that Google is crawling your cellular website – and is usually solely your cellular website. Even in case your desktop website is one of the best, if it doesn’t provide a superb cellular expertise, Google is not going to rank you effectively.

Google is planning to modify to 100% Mobile-First indexing in 2021, and even now’s solely cleansing up straggling websites. Google is probably going crawling your web site mobile-first.

Mobile SEO is extra vital than ever. Pay consideration to Core Web Vitals, checking your cellular content material for alternatives, and fixing cellular UX points.

Here are 10 cellular SEO errors it’s best to keep away from to make sure you stay within the SERPs, drive extra site visitors to your website, and preserve guests completely satisfied it doesn’t matter what system they’re utilizing.

1. Core Web Vitals: Slow Site Speed

It’s essential on your website to be quick: not solely quick to load, however quick to work together.


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Page load pace is a rating issue: two-thirds of Google’s Core Web Vitals replace deal straight with website pace (Largest Contentful Paint and First Input Delay).

Even outdoors of search engine rating components, in keeping with Google analysis, 53% of individuals will abandon a web page if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

The 10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes

Your website needs to be rendering each web page in lower than one second so these fixes may also help pace up your cellular website:


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  • Minimize requests and redirects: Keep pages clear and easy. Eliminate as many 301 redirects as doable, take away pointless components out of your web page, optimize your HTML code, and minify something which may sluggish website pace like CSS and JavaScript.
  • Resize and compress pictures: You can use built-in instruments in WordPress to mechanically resize pictures for you and instruments like to compress your file measurement.
  • Check your internet hosting answer: Cheap third-party internet hosting options gained’t provide the website pace that you must host huge volumes of site visitors. This is particularly true for ecommerce.
  • Check your progress: Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights or Lighthouse as a fast and simple examine of your web site’s efficiency.
  • Use new native net applied sciences like lazy-loading to delay loading pointless or bigger recordsdata.

2. Core Web Vitals: Interstitials

In 2017, Google introduced that

“pages where content is not easily accessible to a user on the transition from the mobile search results may not rank as high.”

At the time, this variation didn’t have a big influence on rating. But occasions have modified.

Intrusive Interstitials are interstitials – pop-up adverts, e-newsletter sign-ups, and different banners – that intervene with the person accessing the content material in your website.

The 10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes

In 2021, this sign was partially prolonged into the Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) metric.

Cumulative Layout Shift is a part of the Core Web Vitals with the purpose of measuring the general format shifts that happen on a web page because it masses. This covers issues like pop-ups shifting content material down, interstitials shifting content material round, and different irritating user-unfriendly UX.

Any web page that gives a poor person expertise might rank decrease in natural search. This consists of:

  • Popups that cowl a web page’s main content material, no matter whether or not that happens as quickly as a person clicks via from Google search outcomes or happens as customers scroll via the web page.
  • Standalone interstitials which can be tough to dismiss – particularly if by accident clicking these interstitials redirects you to a brand new web page.
  • Deceptive layouts, the place the above-the-fold portion methods customers into pondering they’re viewing an interstitial.

Note that there are some exceptions to this rule. Interstitial adverts that aren’t adversely affected by the brand new rating sign embrace:

  • Legally obligatory interstitials, together with these for age verification and cookie utilization.
  • Login dialogs for unindexable content material (e.g., personal content material like emails and content material behind paywalls).
  • Reasonably sized banners (e.g., the app set up banners supplied by Safari and Chrome). Generally, these take up not more than 20 p.c of a display.


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three. Missing Content: Blocked Files

If your cellular website is drastically totally different out of your desktop website, you might discover that there’s content material lacking between them.

Googlebot ought to be capable of crawl your web site like a mean person, which suggests limiting entry to JavaScript, CSS, and picture recordsdata in your web site can doubtlessly hurt your rankings.

Check your web site’s robots.txt file to see if any important components are disallowed.

Go to Google Search Console and take a look at your robots.txt file.

Use Fetch by Google to make sure you don’t have any additional indexing points and the mobile-friendly take a look at for mobile-specific points.

You mustn’t solely examine your desktop and cellular URLs however the distinction between the 2.

four. Missing Content: Unplayable Content

Before you embrace video or multimedia in your web page, contemplate the way it will have an effect on your website pace and whether or not your video embedding is playable on all units.

Also, embrace a transcript every time doable. This will help each Google (for indexing) and customers who want closed captioning.


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If you want to embrace animated content material in your web site, Google recommends utilizing HTML5. You can simply create these animations in Google Web Designer, and they need to be supported throughout all net browsers.

You ought to ensure that any animations in your website obtain an excellent Cumulative Layout Shift threshold.

5. Missing Content: Bad Redirects/Cross Links

Faulty redirects represent a big situation in web sites that haven’t been optimized for cellular. This is particularly true on web sites with separate desktop and cellular URLs.

Typical areas of enchancment embrace:

  • If a cellular person mistakenly lands on the desktop model of your web site, redirect them to the cellular model of the web page they had been looking for. They shouldn’t be redirected again to your cellular website’s homepage.
  • If you would not have a smartphone equal of your desktop pages, treatment that ASAP. Until these pages are stay, it’s best to go away customers in your desktop web page versus redirecting them to your cellular homepage.
  • Mobile customers who request dynamically generated URLs needs to be taken to an equal cellular URL that can correctly show the knowledge they’re looking for.
  • Mobile customers throughout all units needs to be served the identical content material.
  • Avoid mistakenly linking to desktop-optimized variations of your pages out of your cellular URLs.

The best solution to keep away from these points is to make your website responsive, reasonably than a separate area. This avoids a few of the commonest mislinking points.

Verify your cellular website with Google. This will aid you isolate mapping points and detect crawling errors that you could later appropriate in Google Search Console.


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6. Missing Content: Mobile-Only 404s

Similar to the above, customers on the desktop and cellular variations of your website ought to be capable of entry the identical content material. If Google can’t see content material on cellular, it can’t see the content material.

You have to treatment any occasion wherein cellular customers obtain a 404 error whereas making an attempt to entry a web page that desktop customers can see.

Avoid linking to damaged or lacking content material, and ideally, crawl your website from a cellular user-agent to search out any 404s.

7. Missing Content: Structured Data

Google is all the time heading within the path of wealthy, correct, and prompt solutions to queries.

Using to supply these solutions offers you a leg up in cellular search outcomes.

If you aren’t but utilizing Schema or Structured Data markup to categorize your content material, then you definately’re lacking out on a vital driver of natural CTR. Google and its customers have a tendency to reply to wealthy snippets that showcase examples of the knowledge they’re looking for.


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Your wealthy snippets could not present up in search outcomes for a lot of causes. Improper cellular implementation is a type of causes.

The 10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes

You ought to use the Rich Snippet instrument and Structured Data testing instrument to make sure your structured knowledge is well-maintained throughout the positioning.

eight. Bad UX: Not Specifying Mobile Viewport

Mobile screens are available all sizes and styles, so when you don’t specify the proper viewports utilizing the viewport meta tag, then your customers could expertise pages improperly fitted to their system.


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Common errors embrace:

  • Using fixed-width viewports, that are solely optimized for sure units.
  • Poor minimal viewport parameters, which go away customers with smaller units excessive and dry.

Fortunately, these are comparatively simple issues to repair:

  1. Enable person scaling.
  2. Control your web page’s fundamental dimensions and scaling utilizing the meta viewport tag.
  3. Match the display’s width in device-independent pixels with width=device-width.
  4. Include initial-scale=1. This ensures a 1:1 relationship between CSS pixels and device-independent pixels.

The 10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes

These fixes don’t solely assist cellular customers and crawlers, however are important for accessibility as effectively.

You may use CSS media queries to type your web page in a different way for small and huge screens. For extra data, go to the Google Developers weblog on Responsive Web Design Basics.

9. Bad UX: Poor Mobile Design

Lots of individuals get combined up between “mobile-first” and “mobile-friendly.”


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Mobile-first signifies that Google goes to crawl your cellular website earlier than it ever crawls your desktop website, and your cellular website is what it cares about.

Mobile-friendly means your website is designed effectively for cellular units.

You don’t need to be mobile-friendly to be mobile-first, however it’s important to be mobile-friendly to reach a mobile-first world.

So design for smartphones and tablets, not the desktop expertise.

Avoid illegible fonts, small font sizes, and on-screen muddle.

Space the weather of your pages in order that cellular customers aren’t vulnerable to clicking the flawed hyperlink or button.

The 10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes

10. Responsive Strategies: Not Cross-Checking Metrics You Rely On

Understand how the instruments you utilize every day work and the way they calculate the metrics you depend on.


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When you’re optimizing – whether or not for cellular or desktop – be sure to use a superb website auditing instrument to search out your gaps.

Check your content material, your hyperlinks, your title/meta tags, your schema markup, and so forth. – every little thing that can play a task in your web site’s success. And be sure to’re evaluating desktop vs. cellular.

At the identical time, perceive that even when totally different instruments boast related capabilities (e.g., website audit), they usually ship measurably totally different outcomes. Cross-check your outcomes towards one other instrument’s outcomes; you may be shocked by how a lot they differ.

Make positive you perceive how every instrument arrives on the metrics they churn. This will aid you establish the numbers that matter most to what you are promoting to be able to depend on the metrics that matter.

Responsive SEO

Desktop and Mobile SEO all begin in the identical place: usability.

The secret to any profitable SEO technique lies in a stable understanding of your viewers. This analysis needs to be the spine of every little thing you do – SEO, content material, website design, and so forth. If you understand how shoppers behave on-line, you’ll be higher in a position to attraction to your viewers.


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Not understanding your prospects results in most of the commonest SEO errors, whether or not it’s selecting the flawed key phrases, utilizing headlines that handle the flawed ache factors, or selling on the flawed channels.

Bottom line: You can keep away from all of those errors and have a crew working tirelessly to optimize your cellular SEO, however all of those efforts will fall flat in case your content material doesn’t attraction to your target market.

Do your self a favor and use your favourite instruments to faucet into the conversations your prospects (and your opponents) are having about your model. Get to know your core provide and your viewers intimately. Then you’ll be able to construct an incredible and optimized cellular web site.

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Image Credits

All screenshots taken by creator, May 2021

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