5 Mistakes That Hinder Your Website’s Mobile Search Performance

Updated: November 22, 2023
mobile search performance

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Mobile phones are usually in the pockets or hands of users. Because of this timely availability, as well as ease of use and convenience, the majority of online searches are now conducted on mobile devices. Whenever someone wants to look up a business or needs a product, they can just take out their phones and search. This makes mobile SEO almost as important (if not more) as desktop SEO. 

Harness the Power of Micro-Moments

Google coined the term ‘micro-moments’ to refer to intent-rich moments. These are moments in which people instinctively turn to their devices (especially smartphones) to seek immediate answers (to questions such as where to go, what to do, where, and what to purchase). By optimizing your mobile website, you can meet the expectations of your target audience and take advantage of micro-moments. With the right SEO moves, your business details will pop up in front of the eyes of users when they act during the micro-moments. You can actually improve your sales and ROI by increasing your organic traffic in this way. 

Importance of Optimizing for Mobile Devices

To unlock online success (and even offline at this point), your business website needs to make an appearance at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). Some mistakes can sabotage all your SEO efforts. A sudden drop in rankings hurts more than never having ascended the ranks in SERPs. Not seeing a rise in ranks after creating compelling content and despite dedicated SEO efforts can be very frustrating. Most webmasters pay a lot of attention to their desktop websites. However, many still underestimate the power of mobile devices and fail to optimize their websites accordingly.

Google crawls the mobile version of your site using the smartphone agent and uses it for indexing and ranking. It’s called mobile-first indexing. Basically, Google prefers to look at your mobile site first. You might have the most mindblowing desktop site, but Google won’t rank you well if you do not provide a smooth mobile experience. To achieve your online visibility objectives, you need to optimize your site for mobile devices. 

Common Mobile SEO Mistakes

Even if you have the best intentions, you could unknowingly make some critical errors. Such errors can hinder your website’s search performance on mobile devices. You wouldn’t want your website to be a mobile disaster. In this article, we are going to shed some light on 5 common mobile SEO mistakes, and what you can do to steer clear of them. 

Design That Is Not Truly Responsive 

Smartphones have smaller display and capability limitations when compared to desktops/laptops. Navigation and accessing content is difficult on sites with designs that are not truly responsive. This leads to poor user experiences and high bounce rates. All of these will eventually affect the rank in SERPs.

Many developers still do not prioritize responsive optimization. For many users, their first impression or interaction with a business is through the mobile website or the contact information that appears on SERPs. What do you want the first impression or interaction of a prospective customer to be like? You would definitely want them to have a great experience to increase the chances of conversion. Your site needs to look right and work well across devices. Here are some ways to ensure the responsiveness of your site:

  • Well-Planned Site: Start with a plan to replicate or improve upon the desktop experience on a small screen. Address the difference in screen sizes, and consider the style and formatting. Adopt a design that will easily and automatically adjust to different screen sizes. 
  • Proactive Approach: Consider all the issues that could pop up later. Try to be proactive in addressing possible issues in the design process. If a mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, 53% of visitors abandon the site. You have to pay attention to the speed of your mobile site and take measures to improve the speed. Page load speed is one of the most crucial ranking factors. 
  • Test: For all new websites, Google uses mobile-first indexing. It is enabled by default. So if your mobile site is lacking, your rank in SERPs is more likely to take a hit. For Google, the mobile-friendly criterion continues to be a ranking signal. You can test the mobile responsiveness of your site using a free tool such as Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Your mobile site should contain the same valuable content as your desktop version. 

Add to the convenience of users by supporting your website with a well-designed user-friendly mobile app

Failing to Optimize for Local Search

Local SEO contributes significantly toward the changes in ranking. If physical presence is key to the success of your business, you should not neglect local SEO. Local SEO is even more important for mobile phones. These days, most potential customers look for the contact information or address of a service/store on their mobile devices. 

Approximately 76% of the people who use their smartphones to search for something visit a related business within a day. Around 28% of the time this search results in a purchase. Of all the ‘near me’ searches, mobile searches make up 84%. These are significant figures. Do not miss out on the opportunities that local mobile SEO offers. 

First things first, you should optimize your Google Business Profile. Your contact information should be accurate and displayed prominently on your mobile site. Ensure that your NAP (Name/Address/Phone Number) is consistent, as differences can negatively impact ranking. Use local keywords to adapt to local searches. You can use AI for keyword research and for creating relevant content ideas. It will help your site appear in more local results and increase website traffic

You must optimize your mobile site for local consumer behavior. Check out this free local SEO resource for more information on how to do so. 

Missing Structured Data

Structured data provides Google with explicit clues about the page content. It conveys the meaning of the content in a standardized format. If you utilize structured data well, you might see a boost in your click-through rate.  You might also see an increase in user engagement as well as the time spent on your pages by visitors. With valid structured data, your site can benefit from special search results features and enhancements.

Make sure that structured data is present on your desktop site as well as the mobile version. You might have to prioritize the types of structured data to add to your mobile site. If so, you might want to begin with Breadcrumb, Product, and VideoObject. Ensure that the structured data on the mobile site carries the correct updated mobile URLs.

Intrusive Interstitials and Dialogs

Interstitials are elements that overlay the entire page. On the other hand, dialogs overlay part of the page. Interstitials and dialogs often make the content below unclear or difficult to understand. Pop-ups can be annoying, especially when they are hard to dismiss. 

Pop-Ups and Users

On mobile phones, pop-ups can affect the user experience significantly. Such pop-ups decrease user engagement and increase bounce rates. It frustrates the users when they are unable to easily access the content on the transition from mobile search results. It also takes away from the trust in the website. Users might never want to visit the site again, even if it is through search results. 

How Interstitials Affect Search Performance

Additionally, intrusive interstitials and dialogs make it harder for search engines to understand the content. This will also contribute to poor search performance. According to Google, sites that bear excessive intrusive interstitials may not rank highly. There are some exceptions to this such as interstitials for legal obligations such as age verifications/cookie usage permissions. Additionally, when used responsibly, banners that use a reasonable amount of space and login dialogs for content that is not public also won’t affect rankings negatively. 

If you need to use pop-ups, make sure of two things: that you use them sparingly and that they are easy to dismiss. Make your pop-ups more beneficial to users. Try to provide value through the pop-ups in the form of discounts and offers. 

Faulty Redirects

Google prefers sites that are mobile-friendly. However, there’s a huge difference between merely being accessible from a smartphone and providing a stellar experience to the users. Several technical considerations go into making a website truly mobile-friendly. 

When implementing mobile solutions, the most common issues are related to page redirects. It’s a faulty redirect when the user clicks on one URL but is taken to a different URL (to a different page than what was expected). With mobile sites, sometimes, no matter which URL a smartphone user tries to access, the site redirects the user to the home page of the mobile site. The home page won’t have the information that the user was seeking. This increases the bounce rate and contributes to poor user experience. It can also lead to a loss of ranking for that URL.

A responsive design can help avoid this mistake, as the content it serves is the same for desktops and mobile devices. If a page on your site does not have an equivalent for smartphones, you should keep the users on the desktop page, rather than allowing a faulty redirect. If you know how to implement redirects properly, they can be good for SEO. 

Wrapping Up

Avoid these mistakes to improve your website’s search performance. Such mistakes can diminish online visibility and lead to the loss of valuable opportunities. There’s no denying that it’s a mobile-centric world right now. Most of your target audience/potential customers are mobile savvy. To rank well and connect with your target audience, you need to provide a seamless mobile experience. 

Strategic mobile SEO will be a significant contributor to your online (and by extension offline) success. Prioritize making your website mobile-friendly, and you will see it make its mark in the competitive digital arena.


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