Q: Is the process of optimizing a website for mobile different from normal SEO?
A: Although, there are not major differences between optimizing a site for mobile and regular SEO, but mobile is a new thing so changes will flow with time.
One thing that you would notice is very different on the mobile is the user experience. In the desktop search, 10 results appear on the page, which shrinks to just 3 or 4 results in mobile. The two of which are the AdWords ads. So, it won’t be wrong to say that mobile favors AdWords ads for top SEO positions.
Another problem that persists is that if someone has two websites – one for desktop and one for mobile, there are chances of Google getting confused as to what site is what. For example, inbound links vary with two platforms, so watch out for the issue. I would also recommend you to keep a check on duplicate content and link splitting issues.