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Mobile SEO - guide

Even before the release of the first iPhone in 2007, many people wondered what they could realistically do with their mobile strategy.


These questions are being asked today.

One thing is for sure - the Internet is forever entrenched on our phones and will remain there for a long time.

Google has noticed that in the US and Japan there are already more search queries from phones than from computers.

Our mobile devices are becoming more powerful and sophisticated. With their help, we can:

  • take photos
  • use geolocation (GPS)
  • communicate with friends

Given this, how not to be left behind in the age of mobile devices and the ubiquitous Internet?

One way can be mobile SEO, which will help your site climb to the top positions in search engines.

How does Google manage mobile results?

Google has a variety of robots, each of which is used to perform different tasks. Examples:

  • Googlebot
  • Googlebot News
  • Googlebot Images
  • Googlebot Video

Google has developed a special robot for mobile phones a, which uses the smartphone user agent interface.

A separate robot was needed to position itself as a real user and fully understand web pages displayed on mobile devices.

This is what the current version of the Googlebot user agent for smartphones looks like:

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_3 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Mobile /12F70 Safari/600.1.4 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +

By comparison, the regular Googlebot user agent:

Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +

It's worth noting that Google doesn't consider tablets as mobile devices. Tablets are seen as intermediate devices between desktops and phones.

Google Dictionary quote:

In our opinion, tablets are a separate type of device, so our definition of mobile devices does not include them. Tablets tend to have large screens. This means that if your content is not optimized for tablets, users will expect your site to look the same as it does on a computer screen, not a smartphone.

Mobile sites are visited and indexed by Googlebot for smartphones in the same way as regular sites.

The difference shows up in SERPs.

They may contain completely different results for a mobile user and different results for a desktop user.

Here it is worth remembering that the mobile evaluation of your site works page by page. That is, each subpage of your site receives its own score, not the total score.

So if your budget is limited, start by making changes to the subpages that are most valuable to your customers.

Google update for mobile devices, or the so-called mobilegeddon

In 2015, Google announced a new update aimed at changing the ranking of mobile pages.

He was nicknamed "mobilegeddon".

Some sites were directly affected and lost up to 35% of their ranking in the first month, while some sites didn't feel the drop at all.


Because Google warned about this update, and many sites have had enough time to comply with the recommendations.

At the same time, Bing announced a change to its algorithms. However, they didn't mention it beforehand.

Overall, a site well optimized for mobile search engines does well on both Google and Bing.

The next update came out this year, so we can almost be sure that "mobilegeddon" will increasingly influence the position of sites on mobile devices.

You can read more details in our interview for Domain Market about whether Polish sites will survive after "mobilegeddon".

In this regard, how to make sure that the site is designed and optimized for mobile devices, and will mobile SEO improve the position of the site in search engines?

How mobile friendly is the site?

There are three main approaches to building a mobile website:

  • responsive website
  • RESS
  • separate mobile site

Tip: Google strongly emphasizes that prefers websites with responsive structure. However, they also indicated that they support two other options.

This is mainly due to the fact that a responsive site does not require additional technical implementation to optimize for mobile SEO.

You can read more in my other post: mobile site, responsive or app.

How do I check if my site is mobile friendly?

Here are a few tools that you can easily use to test how mobile friendly your site is:

  • Google tester
  • download tool like Google

Mobile SEO

If your site is already optimized for mobile search engines, then the work is greatly simplified, since it is practically no different from regular SEO.

However, it's important to note that when auditing your site, it's also worth checking it with Googlebot for smartphones. This will identify any errors that occur only on phones.

Page performance can have a significant impact on search results on mobile phones. Therefore, site speed optimization is also taken into account in mobile SEO.

How to check it?

Once again, Google provides a tool, this time called PageSpeed ​​Insights.

If you use RESS or have a separate mobile site, then you need to remember to add a few things to your site so that Google knows that the two versions are related.

Mobile SEO - RESS Website Optimization

A typical RESS website uses one URL and sends the user what they need.

In this regard, the same URL can show completely different things depending on the device on which the page is opened.

Although the basic principles of SEO remain the same here, we must remember that such actions may be perceived by Google as cloaking.

This happens when a page passes information to a search engine but shows the user something completely different. Google does not approve of this and imposes a filter on such sites, which directly affects their positions.

In the case of a RESS site, you need to signal to Google that you are serving different content depending on the user agent in order to provide the correct version for each user.

To clarify things for Google, you should use the so-called HTTP Vary header.

By using this header, you get additional benefits in the form of:

  • a mobile robot that will see that this URL has separate content for mobile phones
  • a cache signal that will know whether to download page from cache or server right now

Mobile SEO - single mobile site optimization

A mobile site with a separate URL is actually a completely different site.

In this regard, the mobile version should be optimized in addition to the computer one. Again, the basic principles of SEO remain the same, with a few additional guidelines:

Creating Parallel URLs

The URL structure should be pretty much the same. For example, the address should be reflected in the mobile version as

Adding mobile tag separators

A single page with the same or similar content may be perceived by Google as a duplicate. This will lead to nothing more than the disappearance of such pages from the search engine.

Adding mobile delimiter tags will let Googlebots know about an alternative version of the site designed for mobile devices.

Versions of such tags should be included in both desktop and mobile versions.


When the URL in the desktop version looks like this - - the label for this example will look like this:

HTML code:

Desktop version:

Mobile version:

Google requires rel="canonical" tag on mobile to point to desktop URL.


You can also include rel= tag "canonical" for desktop version to your sitemap:


http://domain. ua/strona-1/


media='only screen and (max-width: 640px)'

href ='' />

The required URL rel="canonical" tag must also be included in Mobile site HTML code

User agent redirect

Some users may access the wrong version of the site that is not suitable for their device

In this case, it is best to redirect them on the server side with using a script.

I suggest using a 301 redirect, not a 302.

Additional recommendations for 301 redirects on mobile

  1. Try not to redirect all addresses from desktop to mobile. Instead, point to the given URL, which is reflected in the original version.
  2. Include a link to the "desktop version" prominently on the mobile site (and vice versa). In addition, cookies can be used so that the user does not have to click on such a link each time.
  3. Send tablet users to the desktop version of the site. Tablets have larger screens and are much easier to navigate with websites written strictly for computer browsers., Rich Snippets and Rich Cards

Google is trying to move to Schema, especially on mobile devices where screen height and width are very limited. That is why, Rich Snippets and Rich Cards are extremely popular right now.

You can learn more in the article showing examples of structured data.

Next Key Trends in Mobile SEO

  1. Accelerate mobile pages to increase page loading speed, and be able to cache content and serve it directly to the search engine (instead of sending the user to the original site).
  2. Removal of side ads so that the look of the mobile site is not disturbed.

Mobile SEO - Summary

Mobile technologies are rapidly changing and this has a direct impact on changing user behavior when accessing the Internet from a phone.

More than ever, search on our small devices is the future. Therefore, mobile SEO is an important task.

However, the old rules do not change.Robots need to access your site, read it, understand it, and evaluate how mobile-friendly it is.

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