Mobile-first indexing has been around for a long time, working quietly in the background. New websites automatically get their mobile version. However, older websites need to adapt to this change, as mobile-first indexing will be a requirement starting March this year. To help you prepare, we’ll be laying out some tips to get your website fully optimised before Google goes 100% mobile-first.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
Simply put, mobile-first indexing means that Google’s site crawlers will focus more on mobile content than those meant for desktops.
It doesn’t mean that crawlers won’t look at the desktop version of your website anymore – it only means that it won’t bear so much relevance as before.
To be honest, this update has been long overdue. Google wanted to make changes back in 2020 but due to COVID-19 they pushed the update to this year.
But what led to this decision?
In 2019, 87% of global internet users access the net using their smartphones and the average adult now spends almost 4 hours on their smartphones compared to just over 1 hour in 2012.
Additionally, more discovery searches have been made using smartphones. Almost half of mobile experiences involve search and around 51% of global smartphone users have discovered a new brand or product while searching on their mobile devices.
And with the rise of local SEO and mobile advertising, just to name a few, it’s definitely the right time to go into mobile-first indexing.
What Should You Prepare for Mobile-Indexing
First things first: you cannot opt-out of mobile-first indexing. So it’s best to just prepare your website to make it mobile-friendly. Even if your website already looks good on a smartphone or tablet, you’ll have to regularly look at the back end to see if things are working properly. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Aim for responsive web design
A responsive web design means that your website is coded into all sorts of screen sizes. Designers need to consider the position and size of each element, often testing buttons, double checking text and converting or using SVG images (scalable vector graphics) to make sure that they don’t lose quality. Even content writers need to make some changes for these websites, particularly with CTA buttons that require a different text.
What makes this an affordable solution instead of creating a mobile isolated website? For one thing, businesses don’t have to build, test and manage separate websites. One website across all screens and devices is more than enough to deliver optimal viewing pleasure. This also eliminates the need to redirect a reader from another version of the website, thereby giving them the right content immediately.
2. Create mobile-friendly content
Long blogs may be great for desktop but on mobile large blocks of text might look overwhelming. If you want to prepare your blog posts for mobile-first indexing, start by breaking up paragraphs into smaller ones and use images to separate text to make your content to read.
When you add more graphics, however, you’ll need to think of the site speed – too many images may slow down page loading speed. Think about your audience who might be using mobile data instead of WiFi to access your website: If they can’t load your webpages within a certain amount of time, that’s a missed opportunity that could go to your competitor.
3. Focus on structured data
Structured data is any organised data that refers provides additional detail around a webpage’s content – and it makes search engines better understand your website. Schema.org turns your content into code that search engines read. You can insert this code on your website and it can help in creating rich snippets of your page. Structured data helps you ‘talk’ to search engines, ‘telling’ them what to display on search so that your audience can immediately find what they’re looking for. If they need more information, all they need to do is to click on your page.
A mobile-dependent demographic has dictated where digital marketing is headed. With mobile-first indexing fully rolling out in the next few days, it’s bound to change how you create content and market your business online. You don’t need to worry too much – especially if you’ve been preparing for this (whether you’re aware of it or not) – but missing out on adapting to this change could do worse for your business in the long run.
Mobile-first indexing will also affect local searches. With more people checking their smart phones to find businesses near them or relevant to them, having both a mobile-friendly website and a fully optimised Google My Business profile will help you appear on search results. Talk to us at DigitalMaas t on how we can prepare both your website and GMB listing with our Platform.