Mobile Optimisation and SEO (Mobile SEO)
Mobile optimisation is the term given to making sure that any visitor that accesses your site from a mobile device has the experience that is optimized for that device. Whilst a laptop is arguably mobile, mobile optimisation refers to devices such as smart phones and tablets. This said, with a well designed responsive website, a website should provide a great user experience (UX / UE), regardless of device size or type.
Another key factor that separates 'mobile devices' from other devices is that of connection speed. Unless connected to a local network, 'mobile data' is required to access content on the Internet, such as website pages etc. Depending on the availability of faster mobile networks, such as 5G, there will be times when data speed is low and this is where mobile optimisation really does make a significant difference. A website that hasn't been well optimised for mobile devices is very likely to take a long time to load, and worse still - when it does finally load, it may be almost impossible to engage with due to being virtually unreadable.
Is Mobile SEO important?
Yes, very important.
Go back to the start of 2007, and the term 'smartphone' was not widely known. Other than the original IBM smartphone (the 'Simon Personal Communicator') which launched in 1992, and then some subsequent other devices, like the early 'BlackBerry', it wasn't until Apple released the 'iPhone' in Jun 2007 that the term 'smartphone' became mainstream. Relatively soon after, the 'Android' OS came to the market, followed closely by the 'Windows' OS.
In a miraculously short amount of time, relatively speaking, now over 50% of all website traffic is accessed via mobile devices. Furthermore, there are now more mobile devices in the known universe than there are humans. You could not write it.
To reiterate, Mobile SEO is very important.
Key reasons why Mobile SEO is important
Finding broken links on a small 5 page site can easily be done manually and won't take you long at all. Finding broken links on a large website with hundreds, or even thousands of pages, however, would be a very tough task if done manually. The good news is, there are many tools online that will find your broken links, often in a matter of seconds. Once you've done an audit on your internal links, the following relates to the type of broken links and how to fix them. Not just broken links, but also the quality of your internal links can be rectified here.
Mobile Search Continues to Grow
Not only are there more mobile devices on the planet than there are humans, but the actual mobile device usage still continues to grow at a staggering rate. The fact that over 50% of website traffic is now accessed via a mobile device may no longer be a surprise, but did you know that over 25% of people 'exclusively' access the Internet via a mobile device? That means not on a computer, but just on a mobile device. It makes sense - your mobile device is always with you and you don't even have to type, you just ask it to find something for you.
The Search Engines are Boosting the Ranking of Mobile Friendly Websites.
As of April 2015, Google announced that they are "boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices." This means that they are effectively penalising sites that are not mobile optimsied and this therefore affects your SEO if your site is not mobile friendly.
Mobile User Experience (UX / UE).
This really should be obvious, particularly when looking at your own website on a mobile device. All aspects of your website should be as easily accessible to your user as they are on a desktop device. Factors such as ease of navigation, the readability and presentation of content and of course the page speed of the website should all be addressed when optimising the user experience of your website for mobile SEO. Think about how you feel when you visit a website on your mobile device that is a poor user experience - would you be inclined to engage with this website and would you even visit this site again?
In summary, the importance of Mobile SEO can not be overstated. In addition to the obvious user experience, optimised content and design factors, there's so much 'behind the scenes' work that needs to take place in order to optimise websites for mobile devices. Technical SEO plays a huge part here and it's a key factor is making sure your website is fully optimised for mobile devices.