Which tools are best for mobile SEO purposes? An overview of the top tools which will give you the best results.
Each time I write or speak about Mobile SEO I get the same questions about which are the tools (possibly free) that I recommend for Mobile SEO analysis.
Here’s a compendium of the ones I use the most that are also free with the type of activity they help me with and I hope they help to you too:
1. Mobile Search Traffic & Visibility Analysis
Use the Google Ones: Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Keywords Tools! A lot of us haven’t yet realized that Google is doing an amazing job with their tools (as well with studies) by adding Mobile filters and segments in order to easily verify the Mobile activity of our industry audience and site. Take a look:
1.1. Mobile Search Visibility in Google Webmaster tools
Identify which keywords and pages are bringing you visibility and clicks in the mobile search results with Google Webmaster Tools “Traffic > Search Queries” report and selecting the “Mobile” filter:
1.2. Mobile Visitors Behavior and Devices in Google Analytics
Make use of the Mobile and Tablet Traffic default segments in Google Analytics in order to verify your mobile related visitors traffic volume, trend, conversions, as well as keywords used and visited pages:
You can also go to the “Audience > Mobile > Devices” report to verify the most popular devices among your visitors:
1.3. Relevant Keywords with high Mobile Search Volume
Use the Google Keywords Tool “Show ideas and Statistics for” filter and select “Mobile Devices with full internet browsers” to identify the volume and potential for your relevant keywords ideas for Mobile search:
2. Mobile User Interface Testing
If you’re not sure how certain elements of your site are displayed in some of the mobile devices used by your audience and is not for your to get the device to test you can use an emulator. The ones that I use are:
2.1. Mobile Emulators
- The Mobile Phone Emulator: Web based emulator.
- The Opera Mobile emulator: Available for Mac, Windows and Linux.
- The Mobile Moxie Emulators: Also Web based, let you compare with 3 devices at the same time.
2.2. Responsive Web Design Testers
For Responsive Web design you can easily verify the look and feel with the most common device sizes with this tool or this other, that let you visualize them at the same time and also with this useful bookmarklet.
2.3. User Agent Switchers
Beyond the UI, if you want to analyze your competitiveness in Mobile or Tablet search results but Mobile emulators are too slow and don’t make it easy to verify the title, meta descriptions and URLs length as well as your pages rankings, incoming link and popularity vs. your competitors it’s highly recommended that you install a user agent switcher in your browser, for example:
These let you also easily verify with much more detail your mobile search results along with other browser extensions to identify your pages and competitors popularity (with the SEOmoz toolbar), do your mobile Web coding analysis with Firebug or use Google Analytics Debugger to analyze Google analytics referrers.
3. Mobile Crawling
Do you want to check how Mobile search bots crawl your site (or your competitors) and verify if they’re being detected and served with another content or redirected to another page. You can check this with
3.1. Web Sniffer
Use a Web Sniffer to easily verify the HTTP Response headers with any user agent, including Mobile ones:
3.2. Screaming Frog
Crawl your site as your desired mobile bot with Screaming Frog SEO Spider by using the “Spider User Agent Configuration” option. You can take a look at the list of the most common user agents (mobile included) here and find specifically the Google mobile bots here too.
3.3. Fetch as Mobile Googlebot in Google Webmaster Tools
If this is your own site you can also use the Fetch as Googlebot option in Google Webmaster Tools to verify how each page is served to the mobile Googlebot.
4. Mobile Speed
Speed is highly important for Mobile Websites since there are more restrictions and speed limitations with Mobile data providers. In order to verify your Mobile site speed you can use:
4.1. PageSpeed Insights for Mobile
Use PageSpeed Insights and select the Mobile filter to verify how optimized it is and what type of improvements you can implement to enhance it, along with reading and following the Mobile speed best practices:
4.2. Google Analytics Mobile Speed
If it’s your own site you can also use Google Analytics Page Speed reports (under “Content > Site Speed”) to identify your pages with the highest loading times along with the Mobile and Tablet segments, to prioritize them:
Bonus: Mobile Search Studies
Sometimes you need to support yourself with studies and surveys (your clients and your boss love them!) to show you’re following the right path. Here are some of the most complete or recent ones by Google, Comscore and eMarketer:
- How to go Mo by Google: A useful and complete compendium with Google’s studies and even interactive charts.
- Comscore Mobile Futre in Focus 2013: The latest study by Comscore that shows the usage trend and behavior with Mobile worldwide.
- eMarketer studies: Like this about Mobile search and this about Mobile Ad spending trend.