Mobile First Indexing

At the end of last month Google announced that, after much consideration, it would now be indexing mobile sites first; cementing a new era of search engine optimisation.

Typically Google had used the desktop version of a website for ranking purposes, but mobile first indexing means that the mobile version of sites will now be used. This means that it’s more important than ever to have your mobile website optimised.

There is no overnight rollout of this new method; instead Google will gradually start choosing to use mobile content pages over desktop. You won’t be notified before this happens, but once Google has done this to your website you’ll be served with a notice in your Google Search Console.

With these changes, now is the time to analyse your mobile site and ensure you’re providing the best experience possible. Firstly, you need to understand whether you have a mobile optimise site or a responsive website.

What Is The Difference Between A Mobile Optimised Website and Responsive?

Mobile optimised websites are separate to the main desktop version of your website. These may have reduced elements of your main domain, picking out the key features and information that mobile users will need.

A responsive website is when your main domain fits to the mobile device display it’s being viewed on. This is the same website no matter what device it appears on, and has all the same layout, features and information.

How Do I Optimise My Site For Mobile?

It’s more important now than ever to ensure your mobile website is providing the best user experience to visitors, not just for lead generation purposes but also for search engine rankings.

You can start by running your website through: https://testmysite.withgoogle.com. Test your mobile site speed with this useful tool, which will give you a full report of the mobile usability of your site, as well as insights of the expected benchmark scores for speed within your industry. The report will tell you exactly how to speed up your site, providing quick fixes as well as longer solutions.

Avoid using flash on your site. Iphones are one of the most popular mobile device formats – and these don’t support flash. Removing flash prevents any unloadable features spoiling the user experience of your customer journey.

Invest in UX design. Mobile site development is all about simplicity but that doesn’t mean aesthetics should fall by the wayside. Plus, as the main focus of mobile should be functionality and speed, it’s important to ensure your user experience is as streamlined as possible. Experiment with some conversion-rate-optimisation to make the steps needed between website arrival and checkout and purchase as simple as possible. If you have separate mobile and desktop websites make sure that the branding and design features are mirrored on both, to provide a consistent user experience for visitors coming across platforms.

Avoid using pop-ups or small buttons. Remember that a mobile device is much smaller than a computer screen. Pop-ups that only took a fraction of the desktop can cover most of the mobile screen, making for a poor experience (and sometimes affecting loading times). Similarly, a button that was clickable on your computer may be too small to click effectively on a mobile screen (remember a mouse is sometimes more accurate than a human scrolling thumb).

Optimise your meta descriptions. With mobile, you’re serving search engine results to a much smaller screen, so make sure your meta descriptions are snappy and give all the information needed in a precise form.

To find out more about mobile optimisation and ensure your site is up to best practice, get in touch today.