Making the Case for Mobile SEO

When it comes to mobile, the social media and email channels are major referrers of website traffic, but search (both paid and organic) also plays a significant role - and it's expected to grow dramatically in the years to come.

In the U.S., for example, mobile accounted for 34.2 percent of all paid search clicks in Dec. 2013 and should reach 42 percent by Dec. 2014 and 50 percent by Dec. 2015 (Marin Software - March 2014). While those percentages will likely vary by individual enterprise and industry, of course, a strong mobile search optimization initiative can yield positive results.

Many Web workers - and the brands that employ them - are confused however about the difference between mobile SEO and SEO for the desktop experience. The result is an under-optimized digital presence for millions of websites. It doesn't have to be that way.

There are many things that make mobile search different from search via the desktop and when you know how they are different, you're positioned to eliminate the barriers users have in discovering and accessing your website, your company and the content that leads them to conversion.


Unlike PCs which are accessed from a fixed location, smartphones are used everywhere. According to Millward Brown research from Oct. 2013, smartphones are used at home 36 percent of the time, in a store 15 percent, while commuting 13 percent and in a restaurant 10 percent of the time. Consumers are obviously on the go (58 percent of smartphone use is via a mobile connection - not Wi-Fi) so companies must provide an experience that supports this behavior; and that means providing additional location-relevant information.


According to BIA/Kelsey (April 2014), 50 percent of mobile search queries have "local intent." Compare that to the 20 percent of desktop searches that include local intent and it becomes clear that without a focus on mobile SEO, today's brands will miss out on new and repeat business. Since search engines prioritize local results for users who are willing to share their locations, it is the responsibility of digital marketing teams to prioritize the content that's delivered to users on mobile devices.

SEO News to Know

  • Google introduced a new sitelinks search box that enables consumers to access website content directly from a website's site-search pages. Learn how to mark up your website to provide this feature and functionality at
  • Bing released a new search feature that keeps the context of a search as a user progresses from one query to the next, leveraging the engine's "conversational understanding" technology and merging it with its knowledge repository. See more at
  • Surprisingly, Google dropped its Authorship project. The search engine indicated it will no longer show the information on results pages, indicating that the initiative was not as useful to its users and was sometimes distracting. Read more at

There is no shortage of evidence that a mobile-focused search engine optimization initiative will provide dividends, and while there is a lot of overlap between optimization efforts for desktops and smartphones, there are some very specific guidelines brands must follow to make these efforts rewarding. The good news is that with a little planning, and some digital elbow grease, websites can increase their exposure to mobile users on the search results with relative ease.

Check out Website Magazine's "Five Essential Mobile SEO Practices" at and discover how to raise awareness with action-oriented users on the go.