Optimization is an essential focus of digital marketing, regardless of which device you’re designing your site for. However, there are some obvious differences between devices that need to be kept in mind. When optimizing for mobile, it’s important to be conscious of display limitation and user behavior in order to make your site as effective as possible.
The Differences in User Behaviors by Device
People shopping on their mobile device often are sometimes of a different demographic, but often have different user behaviors than people using desktops. They are more likely using different search terms to find your site and products. In order to get the best results, you need to be aware of what words people are searching for on smartphones and tablets.
Smartphones vs. Tablets
While both of these qualify as mobile devices, keyword use between the two tends to differ due to the fact that they are still different devices, and cater to different kinds of users.
One of the bigger differences is that tablets tend to be used more at home, while smartphones are used everywhere and anywhere. Tablets are mostly used for online shopping and making purchases, while smartphones are used both for shopping and location-direction based searches. Many smartphone searches are locally oriented, and users are often searching for an item or a store with the intention of coming into the store to make a purchase. This infers that smartphone users may respond better to keywords that imply place and location than tablet users.
To get more into the thick of it, Search Engine Land offers some great tips on how to perform mobile keyword research.
Mobile vs. Desktop
Since tablets are not as truly “mobile” as smartphones, they tend to receive searches that are more similar to those on desktop. Both tablets and desktops have larger screen sizes that are friendly for reading longer titles and descriptions, as well as making large purchases.
However, because tablets are generally more accessible than computers, people spend more time on them. Tablet engagement is generally higher than that of desktops. Mobile searches also tend to result in faster action than desktop, since people are often out and about while searching for things they need or want right away.
Similar to how mobile users might respond better to location-oriented searches, tablet users may respond better to slightly longer title, descriptions, and more content.
“Mobile SEO” differs from “desktop SEO” in the sense that page titles and descriptions must be kept to shorter length, which makes sense given the much smaller screen size. Meta descriptions on mobile are limited to around 110-130 characters, while titles should be kept within the 45-55 character range.
This means writing titles and descriptions that can get more important information into a smaller space. Learn to be concise without sacrificing valuable keywords.
In summary, mobile users tend to search for keywords that are more based on location than desktop users. Given how mobile titles and descriptions are shorter, it’s important to use shorter keywords and simpler descriptions to get the best results.
When thinking of keywords for mobile optimization, the most important thing to remember is the differences in user behaviors and how they are using each device. Smartphones are often used outside the home in public spaces, while tablets and desktops tend to be used at home before someone has gone out. Therefore, smartphones should use more action oriented and location based keywords, while tablet and desktop searches are generally more about exploration and information.
In reality, though, the only way to know for sure which keywords will help your business the most across devices is to look at your own data.