Consumer habits have changed in the way people search for knowledge and services and with this comes a change in user experience. Ever since the growth of smartphones, more and more users are beginning to use their phones for searches on-the-go as they steer away from lounging about at home and using their normal desktop computer/laptop. As a result, businesses are being rewarded for putting mobile-first.
This is an initiative introduced by Google, the ruler of search, with the idea that websites, in general, should be looking to optimize their mobile site, making it responsive with on the go devices, loaded with AMP pages, amongst other elements that be further detailed later in the article. Essentially, if a business optimizes their mobile website correctly then they’re likely to gain higher rankings in the search results with the potential to gain higher CTR’s and larger traffic numbers.
In this article, it’ll be outlined the best ways to optimize your business for mobile-first indexing and how to make sure that you can make the most of potential increase in traffic. Before we get into this though, it may be worth looking into exactly why it’s important for your business needs.
Mobile is now the priority for users
Smartphones are devices that literally allows you to do almost anything at your fingertips. Since their release, more users are choosing to use their mobile phones to deal with their everyday needs. Using online services is a common feature for mobile users, where they’ve now become ahead of the game compared to desktop and other connected devices. There’s been a large increase in the website traffic coming from mobile devices as web searches continue to rise from them.
This hasn’t eluded businesses though as they’re looking to increase their spend on digital search, increasing it year on year as it becomes a major factor in business gaining traffic to their website. Because of this, Google has reacted by prioritizing the shift from desktop to mobile search, and it’s no surprise considering the numbers related to it.
In detail, what is mobile first indexing?
So, for decades Google used desktop searches as the main version for their indexing and ranking systems. The content of a page was only considered through the desktop version that a business produced for Google. This meant that there were issues for mobile users looking to access the website on the go. For example, the page may not load quick enough due to large images files on the site, or the desktop version of the site would appear on the mobile making it hard to use. Now that’s all changing.
Mobile-first indexing means that the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking will now be the priority. This is so mobile users can have a better experience from search results since it’s the more dominant device compared to the others. Google uses a single index to rank their websites and will now only crawl mobile versions of a website with it less likely to crawl the desktop versions.
This is why it’s important that businesses consider the factors to rank well for mobile websites, as it’s likely if you’re not optimized then you may as well not even exist as a business. The fight to appear on the first page of mobile search results is a must.
How can I make sure my site is ready for it?
Serve the same content across all devices
Google has advised that you should be able to publish the same content across all the devices. This will include any content that you have on your websites like the pages, links, and features. The difference you’d have with this is that the way the content is presented may be slightly different, this is so that the content can fit with the format of the device. This is more commonly known as a responsive design. This is so users can find it easier to engage with your content on a tablet or mobile device. You just need to make sure that the content you have on the website remains something that fits a users need and includes quality videos and images.
Register your mobile site in Google Search Console
It’s probably certain that you’ve registered your site on Google Search Console so this part should be pretty straightforward. All you’d need to do is go to the site and add the mobile version or verify it if you’ve already got it registered. Google provides instructions on how you can do this. Just make sure it’s done so Google is able to crawl your mobile version correctly!
Don’t use Flash
Keep your information concise and straightforward
Let’s face it. Although smartphones have changed in screen size over time, there’s no way they’re going to end up the size of a desktop computer that you can easily carry about with you. For a consumer to engage with your website well, you want to make sure you provide them with a great user experience. Long scrolls on a mobile website can be tedious and time-consuming for a user so aim to condense as much as possible but making sure that content remains consistent. There are ways you can overcome this if you find it difficult:
- Apply the main and prominent navigations at the top of the website
- Provide a search feature for users so they can find what they’re looking for quickly through your website
- Call to actions should appear bold and obvious for the user on the homepage
- Additional features like a live chat button should be made clearly visible when the page first loads
Mobile-first indexing should be the main priority for your business and something that shouldn’t be delayed to act upon. SEO, in general, should be a big part of your business, with strategies that are already in place. If you leave this too late, soon enough you’ll find that your business ceases to exist because users are unable to discover you through search engines. Like the punchline for a common SEO, joke points out if you want to find the best place to bury a dead body do it on the second page of Google. You don’t exactly want your business to be dead now, would you? Hopefully, the points made in this article will provide you with the relevant information to make sure you’re ready.