Excerpt from original article on Search Engine Land

One of the questions I get most often about mobile SEO is this: I’m already doing SEO– do I really need to do mobile SEO separately? What’s the difference between the two?

There are some who would say that there is no difference between desktop SEO and mobile SEO. It’s a topic that often garners friendly debate – Andrew French,  a fellow Mobile Mondays columnist, has even gone so far as to say there is no mobile SEO, just SEO for mobile search.

To me, this is like saying “there is no oncology, just a branch of medicine for cancer.”

On the one hand, yes, oncology is a branch of medicine for cancer, just as mobile SEO is a niche within SEO that deals with SEO for mobile search. On the other hand, if my general practitioner thinks I might have cancer, my next step is not to have him or her diagnose and treat the cancer. My next step is to a specialist, an oncologist, who will help me diagnose, treat, and hopefully remove that cancer.

Likewise, SEO for mobile sites can be done by SEOs, or even webmasters without an SEO background, who apply general SEO principles about accessibility, relevance and marketing to mobile search. But there are nuances and differences in optimizing mobile sites that don’t apply to desktop sites, and some that apply more to mobile sites than they do to desktop sites.

Sherwood Stranieri covered one of these differences in The Mobile Content Dilemma: Brevity Vs. Optimization. When it comes to text on a website, SEOs in general are going to push for more keyword-rich text to convey the relevance of the page to search engines, and Web designers are going to push for less. This applies even more to mobile sites, and it becomes harder to justify the SEO best practice of putting at least 250 words of relevant text on a mobile webpage.

There are different standards for mobile sites because of the different user experience, and SEOs who try to apply general best practices to optimize these sites are generally going to fail at implementation. Someone who has done mobile SEO regularly, however, will understand the nuances and attack the problem with enough precision to make a difference.

Mr. Stranieri’s is one example of a difference between mobile and desktop SEO, but it’s not the only one. In an upcoming seminar, I’ll be presenting 18 differences between mobile and traditional SEO, and there are probably even more than that. Let’s focus on a few of the more crucial differences here.

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