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10 Most Harmful Mobile SEO Mistakes

Updated on by in Web Development

People are constantly on their mobiles, which is a huge opportunity for marketers. While desktop usage is still important, we need to focus more and more on the mobile boom. To get the most out of your mobile consumers, you should make sure that their experience on your site is optimised.


Here are the 10 most harmful mobile SEO mistakes to avoid:

1. Forgetting About Mobile Viewpoint

Mobile phones come with a wide range of features and variations. One of the most critical aspects from an SEO point of view is to account for the different screen sizes and shapes. To make sure that all of your users can view pages in a way that fits their devices, you need to use the viewport meta tag to specify the right viewport.


Sometimes, sites will have minimum viewport parameters which are unsuitable for those with smaller devices. Another problem is fixed-width viewports, which only suit some devices. These problems can be addressed through user scaling and by using the meta viewport tag to control the dimensions of your page.

2. Having Blocked Files

If you have restricted access to CSS, Javascript or image files, this can make it difficult for the Googlebot to crawl your website, which in turn harms your rankings. Look at the robots.txt file of your site to see if any of these aspects are blocked. Make sure that you test all of your URLs, to discover any crawling issues.

3. Not Realising that Search Terms Can Differ Between Desktop and Mobile Users

Mobile and desktop users have unique needs and they often take approach their devices differently. A site with responsive design aims to give the same content to its users, but it needs to account for the different types of searches from desktops and mobiles.


To prepare for this, you should do your keyword research separately for both desktop and mobile usage. Once you have discovered the differences, you can optimise your pages effectively for each use case. This can include using different keywords, as well as making more concise titles and meta descriptions.

4. Forgetting to Segment Analytics

If you want to optimise your site for mobile users, you need to be taking their data into account as well. If you only look at data that includes desktop users, it will be skewed and will fail to give you the real picture of what is actually going on.

To see what is happening with your mobile users, you can go into Google Analytics and observe the specific segments. You can look at your conversion rates and compare those of mobile to desktop users. If mobile conversions are lower, perhaps your site isn’t optimised effectively for their devices.

5. Overlooking Title Sizes

On mobile, we only have a little bit of space to work with. It is important that titles are a highlighted part of the text, because it makes it easier for users to skim and to find the information they are looking for. However, many sites often make these titles too big, which ends up restricting the readability of the text. It is best to keep your titles at a similar scale to your text, but to use bold and upper case letters to make it stand out.

It is ideal to keep your title to one line, or maybe a little more if absolutely necessary. This keeps it from taking up too much room and making the rest of the text difficult to read.

6. Having Interstitial Ads that Harm User Experience

If you are using popups or interstitial ads, you should make sure that they aren’t hampering the UX. They may be strong calls to action, but if they make your site more difficult to use, Google might make your page rank suffer.

You should get rid of any interstitials that are difficult to remove, particularly if these will redirect your users for mistakenly clicking them. You should also take out any deception in your layout, as well as popups that cover the main content of a page.

7. Faulty Redirects and Bad Cross Links

These can be a big problem, particularly if your site has different URLs for mobile and desktop users. One of the best ways to discover your bad redirects it to use Google to verify your site. This will give you alerts to crawling issues and help you find mapping problems. These can be fixed up in the Google Search Console.

When trying to address these issues, you should make sure that users on all mobile devices are receiving the same content when they access your site. If they accidentally land on your desktop site, don’t redirect them to your mobile site’s homepage. Instead, you should send them to the mobile version of the page they were looking for.

8. Having a Slow Site


No one has any patience these days, including search engines. If your site is operating at turtle-speed, it will definitely be detrimental to your page ranking. You should be aiming to have all of your mobile pages rendered in one second, maximum. You can do this by compressing and resizing images, reducing redirects and requests, as well as paying for high quality hosting. A sneaky trick we recommend is to simulate your location with a VPN service. This will allow you to identify issues with the sites peed from locations other than your own,

9. 404s for Mobile Users

The aim is to give mobile and desktop users access to the same content, in a way that is optimised for their particular device. If there are some pages that desktop users can see, but result in 404 errors for those on their mobile, you need to address this straight away.

There is a range of website auditing software that you can use to find 404 pages and broken links. Once you have discovered them and addressed the issue, your SERP position will improve.

10. Not Using Enough White Space

You might feel like you need to cram in as much as possible on the small screen of a mobile phone. Don’t! The small screens can make mobile reading more challenging, so white space is needed to break up the content and make it easier to read. Keep your content as short and to the point as possible, with frequent small paragraphs to help your readers keep track.

Author: Aimee Dillard

Aimee Dillard is a consultant at LD SEO Sydney with a penchant for all things digital. She believes if you live and breathe something then it’s never a job, and writing about digital marketing, web development and marketing automation fits squarely in that category.

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