Optimizing titles can be one of the simplest but most effective ways to improve mobile SEO performance.
In this guide we’ll walk through how to write and format titles for best results, some additional tips on how to improve your site’s mobile SEO performance, and of course we’ll discuss why mobile SEO is so crucial in the first place and the trends you need to be aware of for the future.
Contents of this article
- What Is Mobile SEO?
- Why Is Mobile SEO Important?
- The Difference Between Title Tag and H1 Heading
- How Does Optimizing Your Title Help Mobile SEO?
- 5 Ways to Optimize Your Title for Mobile SEO
- 9 Additional Mobile SEO Tips & Best Practices
- Emerging Trends in Mobile SEO for 2023 and Beyond
- Conclusions: Optimizing Titles for Mobile SEO Performance
What Is Mobile SEO?
Mobile SEO means optimizing your website for mobile devices such as phones and tablets. There is a lot of crossover with traditional desktop SEO but also some important differences.
This is not only because of the smaller screen size, but also because the way people use their phones is very different to the way they behave on desktop.
For example, on mobile, users tend to prioritize location based searches such as “near me”. They are also more likely to use voice searches which tend to be more conversational. For example on desktop they might search for “buy iPhone 15”, but on mobile they might search ask “where can I buy an iPhone 15?”
Why Is Mobile SEO Important?
The latest figures show that nearly twice as many searches are on mobile compared to desktop (64% vs 35%). So if you’re not optimizing for mobile, you’re missing out on the majority of users.
Additionally, for the last 4 years, Google has been using mobile-first indexing. That means that whenever it crawls and ranks your site, it prioritizes how it appears on mobile devices. If it doesn’t display well and give good user experience on mobile, it’s going to hurt your ranking.
If you’re still not convinced, try a few of these additional stats on for size:
- People spend 77% of their internet time on mobile devices.
- 74% of people say they’re more likely to return to a mobile-friendly site in the future.
- 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service.
- 79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site. Ouch!
Interestingly, less than 30% of mobile users tap the top search result, compared to 36% of desktop users. This means that if you optimize for mobile SEO, you have a better chance of getting clicks on mobile when going up against big entrenched competitors who dominate the top ranking spots.
The Difference Between Title Tag and H1 Heading
The title tag appears between the
<title></title> tags in the
<head> section of the page. This title is what appears in search results and also in the browser tab.
This may be different from the actual title of your article or page, which should appear within the
<h1></h1> heading tag in the
<body> section and appears prominantly at the top of the page.
As I discussed in my recent article SEO Benefits of Title Case in Blogging, one of the most common pitfalls in SEO is not understanding the difference between a title tag and H1 heading.
You may ultimately choose the same text for both elements, but it’s important to grasp the difference because they have different purposes when it comes to SEO. The
<title> element is about encouraging clicks from search results whereas the
<h1> element is about engaging the reader once they are on the page.
That leads us neatly on to…
How Does Optimizing Your Title Help Mobile SEO?
The title of your page is the first, and most prominent, thing that appears in search results. Your title is therefore your biggest opportunity to hook the user in, and get them to click through to your page.
As I’m sure you know, Click Through Rate is a key metric used by search engines to rank pages, so the more clicks your page gets, the better your ranking will become.
Not only that, but the title is one of the key things that helps search engines know what your page is about and how to classify it.
This is even more crucial on mobile, you have very limited real estate to play with when it comes to your title; Only about 45 characters before you risk having it truncated.
It is therefore essential that you carefully optimize this title to pique readers’ curiosity and convince them to click, as well as accurately describing the page so that search engines know how to classify it.
5 Ways to Optimize Your Title for Mobile SEO
There are many ways you can optimize your title for mobile SEO - some easy, some less so. Let’s dive in, starting with the quickest win of all.
1. Convert your title to title case
Converting your title into title case has an immediate, measurable impact on click through rate. A study by Semrush found a 2.4% difference between pages whose titles were formatted in title case, vs those in sentence case.
If you don’t know the difference between title case and sentence case, title case means capitalizing all important words and leaving minor words lower case. Whereas sentence case means only capitalizing the first word and any proper nouns. If you’re interested in learning more you can check out our article Title Case vs Sentence Case for a deeper dive.
Converting text to title case is easy with TitleFormat title case converter, simply head on over to our home page, paste your text into the box and hit convert. Job done.
2. Keep the title concise
On desktop you may have 60 or even 70 characters to play with when it comes to titles, but on mobile it’s less. Best practice is to aim for 45 characters to avoid the risk of having them cut short in results.
3. Include CTA or incentive
Your title should not only explain what the page is about but give some call to action or incentive for the reader to click. For example, that the advice is up-to-date and utilizing current best pracices e.g. “Updated for 2023”. Or perhaps it’s an “Expert Guide”, or comes with a “Free e-book”.
4. Include keywords at the start
Mobile users are used to scrolling so if they don’t immediately see what they’re searching for, they’ll breeze straight past your title. Make sure your target keywords are immediately obvious.
5. Don’t overstuff keywords
With even fewer characters to play with, overstuffing keywords looks even worse on mobile than it does on desktop. Users can see right through it and won’t click your spammy-looking title.
9 Additional Mobile SEO Tips & Best Practices
Optimizing your title for mobile SEO is essential, but there are many other things you can do to help improve mobile SEO performance. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
- Create mobile-friendly content: Keep your intro short and get to the point quickly. Use short paragraphs and don’t be afraid of whitespace.
- Be careful with popups: On desktop, popups can be annoying but on mobile they can become a real nuisance, often completely covering your content. Users hate them and so do search engines, so be careful how you use them and ensure that it’s obvious how to dismiss them.
- Optimize your meta description: As with titles, meta descriptions should be optimized for mobile SEO because, again you have fewer characters to play with. Typically around 120.
- Improve UX with mobile-first design: As most searches come from mobile, your site should be optimized for mobile UX.
- Use responsive design: It’s important to deliver great mobile UX and there are several ways to do that but responsive design is preferred over other techniques such as dynamic serving or separate mobile URLs.
- Improve load times: Improving load times is even more important on mobile than on desktop because it is more likely that users will have patchy network connection so resources may take longer to download. A site that is slow to load can cause users to bounce and thus hurt your ranking. 40% of users will bounce if the page doesn’t load within 3 seconds.
- Consider local SEO: On mobile users are more likely to use location based searches such as “near me”. So targeting geographically relevant keywords can help reach these users.
- Target voice search friendly keywords: Users are much more likely to use voice commands on mobile, so their searches are likely to be more conversational than direct. For example, “What are the best places to buy sneakers near me”, rather than “buy sneakers”. Targeting long-tail keywords can help reach these users.
- Use schema structured data: Use of schema structured data gives search engines additional information about your page which helps them display relevant on the search results page, for example direct links to specific sections within your page. This helps mobile users quickly navigate to the most relevant content.
Emerging Trends in Mobile SEO for 2023 and Beyond
SEO is a constantly evolving landscape so it’s important to stay abreast of emerging trends and changes. Let’s take a look at some of the key things you need to be aware of for 2023 and beyond.
1. Voice search optimization
Voice search has exploded in recent years with many users preferring to use Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa or Cortana, rather than traditional search engines.
The way people phrase their questions to these voice assistants is different so consider targeting long-tail, conversational, and question keywords (“Where can I…?”, “How do I…?” etc.) Also concentrate on SERP features such as Featured Snippets and Rich Snippets, as research shows that the majority of answers from voice assistants occupied a SERP feature.
2. Core Web Vitals
Google’s continued emphasis on and refining of Core Web Vitals will be another trend to follow in the future. Interaction to Next Paint (INP) will be replacing the First Input Delay (FID) metric in 2024. INP measures how quickly the page responds to user interactions, specifically how quickly it provides visual feedback to the user that it is responding to their input.
3. Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are lightweight apps that are installable directly from the browser. PWAs can lead to significantly higher user engagement and time spent on your site, as well as improving performance by leveraging technologies such as service workers to cache and pre-load content and reduce loading times.
If you want to see an example of a PWA in action, head on over to the install page and install TitleFormat title case converter app.
Conclusions: Optimizing Titles for Mobile SEO Performance
Thanks for sticking with me to the end. Let’s recap what we’ve learnt about how and why to optimize titles for mobile SEO performance.
Improving Mobile SEO performance is important because nearly twice as many searches come from mobile compared to desktop. Google uses mobile-first indexing, prioritizing mobile experience in its rankings.
There are many things that you can do to improve mobile SEO performance, but one of the quickest and most important actions you can take is to optimize your titles.
First, you should always format your titles in title case. This is a super easy step that has immediate, measurable benefits in click through rates.
Additionally, you should keep your title concise (around 45 characters), include keywords at the start but resist overstuffing your title with too many keywords. Finally, incorporate a call to action or incentive for the user to click.
Hopefully you’ve found this article interesting and helpful. If so please consider sharing it.
You may also be interested in our articles SEO Benefits of Title Case in Blogging: A Deep Dive and Title Case Formatting for Blog Post Titles: Our Expert Guide.