Ranking Factors For Mobile SEO: Interview with Marcus Tober of Searchmetrics

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I recently caught up with Marcus Tober, CTO of Searchmetrics, to discuss ranking factors for mobile SEO. There’s a lot of confusion in the SEO market around this topic, so I used this time with Marcus to get some answers to a few pressing questions.

In my interview with Marcus I asked him how mobile and desktop SEO work together, and what specific factors people should be looking at when optimizing for mobile SEO. Marcus also discussed what types of content are better suited for mobile over desktop.

For my full interview with Marcus, please see the video below:

Here are some key takeaways from the video:

  • Marcus believes there’s confusion stemming from people insisting mobile is the next big thing and the content for mobile must be different, while others believe mobile and desktop SEO are exactly the same.
  • Searchmetrics is actively working on ranking factor analysis, and Marcus says there are indeed differences between the ranking factors for mobile and desktop SEO. Google sees mobile and desktop differently when it comes to delivering search results, but it’s too early to tell the exact factors that determine rankings on mobile devices.
  • One thing that’s for sure, Marcus says, is that there are differences. Content needs to be different when optimizing for mobile search because attention spans are different on mobile compared to desktop. The context is also different, for example you have different needs when searching for a restaurant on mobile compared to searching for one on your desktop computer.
  • Marcus finds this an interesting topic at the moment because many companies are shifting to a mobile-first strategy, which also includes developing content for mobile first. Eventually we will learn a lot about the way content should be structured for mobile from the early adopters  of a mobile-first mindset.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Craig Dietrich

  • Certain types of content are better suited for mobile over desktop, Marcus says, as our needs as users are different when searching on a mobile device. When searching on mobile we need information quickly and immediately, we get nervous when we have to wait too long. That’s why Google has stepped in with their Knowledge Graph to try to deliver answers to simple questions as quickly as possible.
  • When it comes to quality signals like bounce rate and time spent on site, there are distinct differences on mobile compared to desktop. ComScore has found the time on site for consuming regular content on a mobile device is lower compared to desktop, but the time spent consuming rich media like videos is higher. The same also applies to bounce rates on mobile and desktop.
  • The big question is whether or not optimizing this content is different on mobile compared to desktop. Marcus believes this question will be answered very soon, but we don’t have all the information just yet.
  • Marcus believes we will eventually see ‘responsive content’, similar to how we are currently seeing responsive design. Responsive content would become condensed and shortened based on the device it’s being viewed on, with the option to read more.

For more video interviews please visit SEJ’s YouTube page.

Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands

Murray Newlands FRSA is an entrepreneur, investor, business advisor and speaker. Newlands is also an adviser to the Draper Nexus Network of Things Fund that invests in IOT companies. He advises entrepreneurs and start-ups on various subjects from funding to growth strategies. Newlands received a Bachelor of Laws and he is qualified as a Lawyer. He gained his Green Card by being recognized by the US government as an “alien of extraordinary ability.” Newlands is the author of “Online Marketing: A User’s Manual” published by John Wiley & Sons. Murray regularly contributes to Forbes and Entrepreneur. Murray co-authored Content Marketing Strategies for Professionals with Bruce Clay. Murray runs the agency Influence People based in Palo Alto.
Murray Newlands
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  • http://johnpeterprinting.wordpress.com John Peter

    Thanks for sharing this, Murray!

    I have a question though: How will the search engine spiders respond if they found out two content on one website. Will Google penalize my site’s ranking?