Statistics show that in the recent past, mobile has overtaken desktop for the most number of search queries.
These days, more than half of search queries are performed on mobile devices rather than on desktops.
Google first rolled out the mobile friendly algorithm update in April 2015, to ready sites to support mobile usage and features, and since November 2016, Google has been stressing the importance of this by advising webmasters and SEO’s to prepare for mobile takeover.
Now the Mobile-First index is officially here, and sites that aren’t optimised well for mobile devices may see a significant shift in their rankings.
What Is The Mobile First Index?
Google previously indexed and ranked websites according to desktop usability and user experience. With mobile first index, Google will index and rank sites primarily on usability and user experience provided on the sites mobile version instead.
Is Mobile Friendly The Same As Mobile Optimised?
Mobile friendly means your site can be displayed across different devices whether users are searching on desktop, laptop, tablet or cellphone. Google has a tool that can identify mobile friendly sites, and provide insights on what improvements your site might need to be mobile friendly.
A mobile optimised site means the website works as well on desktop as it does on the mobile version, meaning the user can find information and complete basic tasks with ease on mobile as they would on the desktop version. Factors such as font size, visible icons and clickable links make up mobile optimisation.
Preparing Your Site For Mobile First Index
- Ensure that you site is crawlable, and that the robots.txt isn’t blocking important pages on your site.
- Responsive web design ensures that your site adapts to different device screens to suit the device a search query is performed from, without having to switch devices.
- Ensure that your site is mobile friendly. Your site should be able to display well and perform properly on mobile devices.
- Have an effective site structure in place, This will help Google to better understand the content on your site in order to put your site in front of relevant users.
- Make sure your site provides good mobile user experience, the most relevant information should be found in quick and easy steps.
- Speed is a crucial factor for mobile users, having information instantly is the goal. Most users do leave a site if it takes more that 3 seconds to load. Google has a tool that helps determine website load speed and how to make improvements.
- Content should be conveniently shorter for mobile as users are looking for information in the least amount of time. Clear headings should be in place as most mobile users skim through content to quickly get the information they are looking for.
- Tabs and icons should be properly working and thumb friendly, visible and clickable. Tabs shouldn’t be too close together, text shouldn’t be too small, and you shouldn’t need to scroll sideways.
- Internally link pages that have related information to search queries, this will improve user experience by providing the most information from one place.
- Meta viewport tags ensure that images and text is sized correctly for every device.
- Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is a programme specifically made to deliver the best mobile page speed, initially it was aimed at improving user experience but Google revised this into algorithm updates. You can check here if your pages have AMP versions.
Benefits Of Mobile Optimisation
- Google rewards mobile optimised sites with a boost in rankings. Having your site higher up in SERPs will ensure that you can reach more of your targeted audience.
- Mobile optimisation is convenient as mobile is used anywhere. People tend to have their phones with them everywhere they go, so it’s beneficial to make it easy for them to find your site in the exact moment they need it. Adding click to call, maps, and contact details will improve the user experience.
- Users are looking for fast access to everything, and mobile fits the convenience of fast information delivery on request, with a great and convenient user experience.
In the ever changing world of search, it’s crucial to understand your audience in order to meet their needs. Ensure that your site is equipped to provide users with relevant information as fast as possible, and by doing so, you’ll be in a position to provide the best user experience as well as providing useful information.