Mobile-first indexing has been making rounds for a while, and as expected, it is making a significant change in the SEO world. We have already seen the diversion towards mobile traffic from online desktop traffic. It comes as no surprise that majority of the traffic comes from tablets and smartphones now.
However, not everyone is aware of what mobile-First indexing is. In fact, often people who are associated with marketing cannot even relate mobile-first indexing with SEO. If that sounds like you, it means you have been missing out on a big chunk of information that could change your SEO game in 2018 and beyond. There’s a lot to learn about this concept in light of SEO, and fortunately, the idea is not too complicated to grasp.
What exactly is mobile-first indexing?
The concept behind Mobile-First Indexing is rather simple. It is Google’s latest march towards making websites more mobile friendly. In simple words, now Google will look closer at the mobile version of the website to determine its search engine ranking. The shocking element, however, is the fact that this applies to the desktop website as well as mobile website search results.
The function of Mobile-First Indexing is what this term implies. The phrase ‘mobile-first’ is an apparent reference to how Google will evaluate websites now. The mobile version of your site will be considered as the primary version, to determine its search engine ranking.
It means that even if you craft both of your desktop and mobile versions equally, you could have a significant impact on how your website performs in the search results.
This big announcement did not only create a difference in the SEO world but it also fundamentally changed the way experts will create and optimize content in 2018 and in the years to come.
But why has Google decided to alter the way it will evaluate websites for ranking?
Well, the overall foundation for Google’s algorithm is based on a simple principle: provide users fast and relevant information right away. Since mobile traffic has incredibly taken over desktop traffic, Google is trying to become more efficient in offering the best services to its users.
Three things SEO professionals should do about Mobile-First Indexing
Acceptability is the first step towards building a stronger SEO campaign for your business. As an expert, you have always put your best foot forward in providing your clients the perfect business through the right algorithms, off-page and on-page techniques, content, and link building hacks.
And right when you thought that was enough for smooth progress, there was a drastic shift in the paradigm. Today, it requires more than just effective strategies to keep up a strong SEO game.
Also, the mobile revolution is hard to ignore. Therefore, Google has taken this step to improve user experience and to make search results more relevant and efficient for the users through mobile-first indexing.
With 2018 already almost halfway through, it’s high time for experts to prepare for this update so that they can reap the benefits today and in the future. Here are top things you can do to help your website keep up with mobile-first indexing.
1. Establish a responsive design
Think about tweaking your design to make it more responsive. That’s one of the best things you can do towards mobile-first indexing. A responsive website is one that offers its users exactly what they are looking for, that too on the device they prefer viewing it on.
A responsive website design offers much more than optimized browsing experience. If you optimize your websites for the mobile version, there are higher chances that it will rank well on both desktop and mobile. The design specifications for mobile version should be such that they can be changed based on the needs of the user. It implies that it should fit the size and style of the user’s mobile screen.
So if you already have a website, it’s time to change it into a responsive one. Here are some design tips:
- Flexible images and text
- Fluid site grid without fixed measures
- Utilizing CSS media queries to define the changes in the design clearly
- Implement the change to ensure usability for devices other than the desktop
Various factors depend on the theme of your website too. It may be too complicated yet very effective for the desktop. However, translating it for other smart devices using the same theme and format may not be a wise idea.
Thus, some additional custom works to make your site efficient and effective are as follows:
- Set height and width of fluid element accordingly
- Define zoom setting
- Create a separate menu for a mobile website
- Adapt proper font style and sizes
- Implement appropriate breakpoints
- Alter the theme to make it more mobile friendly
- Resize website images, so they appear correctly according to smaller screen size
Moreover, it is essential to understand that building a responsive website design is much more than just adjusting everything on a smaller screen. It is about the overall accessibility and usability of your website. Before you are ready to implement the changes, it is best to put it to the test on various devices and different browsers to assure everything’s on point.
2. Consider a website builder to create a mobile optimized website
Outsourcing professional web building service is going to be one of the smartest investments you will make for your SEO strategy. People now prefer digital screens that are smarter and smaller. To ensure that you are utilizing the most out of mobile-first indexing outlines you should offer your full website with complete options to your users irrespective of the device they are using.
As an expert, you must be sure that your customers are getting the best experience on your website. An optimized website builder for mobile makes your site more responsive and highly efficient for mobile gadgets. Detectors even allow the program to find out if the user is using a tablet or a smartphone and adjust the screen layout accordingly.
It’s best to seek professional help in this regard and choose someone reliable who is well aware of Google’s algorithms and preferences. Having a responsive and well-designed website in place is the best way to achieve mobile optimization and eventually better ranking at search engine results.
3. Optimize content for mobile
You can carry your smartphone with you everywhere. It is not only a necessity to stay connected with your friends and family regardless of where you are but is also an excellent source of entertainment. People use mobile devices to surf the internet and check different websites as a cure for boredom. But if your site is not mobile-friendly, it may not even reach your target audience.
In addition to a responsive design, having the right content that matches with your mobile visibility is also crucial for proper website optimization. It is essential to identify user preferences and behaviors to adjust the experience accordingly.
When people visit your website through a smart, small screen device, they are looking for short, precise, and valuable information. It becomes somewhat hectic to go through lengthy paragraphs to seek information.
People mostly watch movies and TV shows and read articles on mobile. These tips can help you optimize your content to adapt to the idea behind mobile-first indexing easily.
- In addition to optimizing your website, offer mobile applications for better engagement and result. Posting different deals and interesting articles on your app will encourage your visitors to share it on various social media platforms. Utilize it!
- Focus on crafting high-quality content that engages your audience. As long as you stick to providing high quality, mobile users will engage with your website for longer periods.
- Utilize all forms of content including text, high-quality images, videos, memes, articles, infographics, and GIFs. Don’t forget; people are looking for all kinds of content based on their various interests. Cover all the angles for best results.
- Pay particular attention to headlines. When you take time in building a strong headline, your customers are likely to read the entire content. Don’t forget; you only have a few seconds to convince your visitors in deciding if they should read the content or pass. Make the most out of it.
What other factors are to be taken into consideration with regards to mobile-first indexing
The key is to plan and take it easy. The change is still in its initial stages of implementation and businesses will take time rolling their websites according to Google’s new guidelines. However, you must consider all the critical factors needed to be taken into account with regards to mobile-first indexing to experience its maximum impact on your SEO in 2018.
The latest guidelines by Google highlight the importance of offering an identical experience of the website in its mobile and desktop versions. You do not have to take two different approaches to designing a more responsive website for your mobile, especially if you are already on top of the search engine rankings.
That said, even if you have a very responsive website, you should ensure the efficiency of your site on the mobile version. The priority factors you should not ignore are its load time and speed. These factors are particularly relevant when you have different media sources on each of your website’s pages. If there are heavy videos, tons of images, and other dynamic elements, you must optimize it for providing an efficient mobile experience to your visitors.
It is also essential to note here that content that remains hidden in tabs or is collapsed due to lack of space on the mobile device will be treated differently as compared to the visible content.
If you are running a separate website for the mobile version, the following factors should not be missed out:
- Content: While you can prioritize content and make it brief and short, make sure all the valuable, high-quality content is carried to your mobile version from the desktop website. This may include text, images, and videos. Don’t forget about the formatting. It should be indexable and crawlable for search engines.
- Data Structure: data structure markup should remain identical on both website versions. It is particularly necessary for the URLs. Avoid unnecessary data if it lacks relevance to the page content.
- Meta Data: create similar Meta descriptions and titles on both versions of all the website’s pages. It does not have to appear the same. It should only contain same information throughout.
- Social Metadata: Twitter cards, OpenGraph tags, and other social metadata should also be included in the mobile version of the site.
- Hreflang: if you are using hreflang for internationalization, the annotations of your mobile UR should point to the actual language of the country. It applies to both the versions as well.
- Search Console Verification: If you have used Google Search Console for verifying your desktop website, you should repeat the process for your mobile version verification as well.
- Media Sitemap: if you add links to sitemaps for the desktop version, make them accessible through your mobile website too. It is also relevant to robot directives and other links.
- Server capacity: your website is likely to experience growth in the crawl rate. Make sure that the host servers you are using can handle the growth.
The SEO platform will continue to change and evolve. Today, it is revolving around mobile-first indexing, but tomorrow, there will be a change in the trends. The only thing that marketers need to remember is that no matter how many new practices come to life, the old ones for SEO will remain relevant as far as you keep updating them with time.
Just like all the other concepts, it is easy to overcomplicate the simple idea behind mobile-first indexing. However, once you understand the impact it has on SEO, it is going to be one of the best change you will implement to improve your SEO strategies in 2018.
The good part is that you still have time to understand and make the required changes. The key is to learn and evolve on a constant basis to do things the right way.