It was a few years ago now that Google announced most of its searches occur on mobile devices across many countries, with confirmation last year from Hitwise reporting that almost 60% of US searches were from mobile, as well. With that, understandably, Google is also moving towards a mobile-first index. However, not all SEO tools have the functionality or reports to deliver mobile-focused data and results.
The reality is that due to high mobile usage across certain industries and countries, it's already critical to take mobile search behavior and optimization into consideration to establish a winning SEO strategy. For example, as can be seen below in data obtained from SimilarWeb, this is especially important in the restaurants & delivery, health, pets, and beauty sectors, as well as many others:
Since I enjoy testing SEO tools — as you might have already guessed from some of my previous posts — to identify better ways to develop my day-to-day work, I began to check specifically which tools include any type of mobile-targeted functionality. Although the offerings are still far from ideal, with the existing ones we can at least answer the most common mobile-focused questions when developing an SEO process.
While testing out these tools, I could see that a few of them offered different types of mobile-focused functionalities. To facilitate their usage I created a “Mobile SEO Stack” graphic — easy to save and share — where I've mapped each tool to the most common mobile-focused SEO questions that they can answer. So without further ado, here it is…
You’ll see that some of them have a yellow dot rather than a white one — for example, SEMrush for the “What’s your Mobile Audience Search Behavior?” question. This is because the tool can only partially answer the question due to some type of restriction. In the case of SEMrush, they only provide mobile data for the US at the moment.
Here’s a summary of the questions answered, along with the 28 tools included:
Obtain the queries already sending you or your competitors mobile search visibility and/or traffic, the pages earning the existing mobile visibility and traffic, and the mobile search share of these or any other terms you want to assess and potentially target with your mobile web presence.
From third-party mobile ranking sources which are handy when you're starting out (or to double-check for terms that you might not be directly tracking) to rank trackers that support mobile search results, it's fundamental to understand your mobile search performance at a ranking and traffic level to identify opportunities. Are you targeting the right terms and ranking with the right pages?
It's important to give context to your mobile visibility. Remember that just because you're not getting a high share of mobile visibility, traffic, and conversions it doesn't mean there's no opportunity; analyze what your competitors are doing to use alongside your mobile search behavior analysis to establish your own mobile SEO strategy.
From page-level mobile emulators and validators to bulk ones that facilitate the process, it's critical to verify whether all of your ranking site pages offer a responsive, dynamic-serving, or independent mobile web version:
Using historical Google crawling data, some SEO crawlers will offer the option to emulate the smartphone version of Googlebot. There are also log analyzers that allow you to check the actual behavior of mobile search crawlers accessing your site. Are they going where they should and seeing what they're meant to?
Obtain your site's page speed information (as seen by the mobile search bots as well as mobile users) at a site and page level, and directly obtain recommendations to improve if necessary.
Verify how your mobile web content is being rendered by Google itself at a page level or emulate it at a site level. Are you showing an intrusive interstitial that never finishes loading, or your actual content?
Sometimes SEO fundamentals are forgotten when using independent or dynamic-serving mobile sites. Are the titles, meta descriptions, headings, etc. correctly set and targeting the relevant queries?
Verify whether you're correctly tagging both your site pages referring to the AMP versions & vice-versa, and if they feature the required tags without critical errors that would keep them from appearing in mobile search results.
Check out how your ranking pages are shown in Google's mobile search results. Is the title being truncated? Are you losing visibility over your competition's featured snippet? Use these to identify potential reasons for lower CTR.
Identify which queries your AMP pages are being shown for in both rich and non-rich results, and their performance for those queries. What share of additional organic traffic are they bringing to your site?
Are your mobile SEO efforts paying off? Explore how your mobile search rankings are translating into conversions.
I hope “The Mobile SEO Stack” is useful for your mobile SEO analyses and processes!
This is only the first version, so if you know of any other tools that have mobile-focused functionality or data, please let me know in the comments — I'll be happy to test and include them.