5 Steps To Optimising Your Site For Google’s Mobile-First Index
If you haven’t heard already… Google are introducing Mobile-First Index. This means Google will now create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of the site. This also applies to websites or listings that are shown to desktop users.
Google have said, they are seeing more and more mobile searches than desktop searches on a daily basis, however when Google evaluates a pages ranking, it still looks at the desktop version.
To fix this issue, Google have now introduced a new system that will look at the content, links and structure of the mobile version of your site. This is why it is extremely important to make sure you have a mobile friendly version of your website.
We’ve listed top 5 steps you can take to optimize your site for Googles mobile-first index
According to Google Site performance for webmasters video, tech leads have said Google aims for pages to load in under half-second, which is pretty much instantly.
From your own experience, you can say how frustrating it can be when web pages take ages to load up. So in order to avoid your customer experiencing this you need to ensure your site loads fast or almost immediately.
To optimise your page speed try…
- Optimizing your images – try changing the file to a smaller size in order for the file to load faster
- Remove unnecessary coding – without changing the functionality of the source, you can remove any unused characters
- Use browser caching – browser caching stores web page recourse files on a local computer when a user visits a web page
- Limit your redirect links – too many redirect link can cause the site to slow down when it reloads.
However, times have changed and technology has advanced and improved so that now we are able to handle these elements. Smartphones uses GoogleBot that looks out for these images and javascrist, so don’t just stick to simple HTML for your mobiles sites, assuming this may slow the load up time.
3. Be Mobile Friendly
When creating your sites make sure you design all your pages so that they are fully responsive so that users can easily visit your site on the go.
- Stop using Flash – since apple has stopped the use of Flash, it would be best to remove any flash elements from the site. Alternatively you can use HTML5 or Java to add any user interactivity features on the site.
- Remove any pop-ups – Nothing is more annoying that constant pop-ups on a page whilst you are trying to read the content. So don’t over load the page with pop-ups and this can mean site your would have a higher bounce-rate and can also decrease in google rankings.
- Design with mobile in mind – make sure users can navigate around the site easily, so it would need to be ‘finger-friendly’ as accidental tapping on small buttons can be frustrating, and users need to be able to scroll and tap through pages with ease.
4. Don’t Forget SEO
When it comes to SERPS (Search engine results pages) you have less room for error. So make sure you have kept your titles and descriptions clear and to the point. This will help the GoogleBot understand your page better, ultimately leading to a higher click-through rate.
5. Local Optimisation
Mobile search is important for businesses that are looking to drive footfall to their store. Googles research into local search behaviour shows that
‘50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on a computer/tablet did the same’. So local business have much more to gain from mobile-first index. You need to ensure your site is totally mobile friendly to increase your chance of being seen amongst your competitors.
To increase your mobile visibility remember to add your city and state in the following places:
- Page titles
- Page content throughout the site
- ALT tags (also for any images used)
- Meta description
We still have lots to learn as Google will always improving and experimenting with this, so its best we stay in the trend and walk with Google if we want to stay on top and stand out amongst the crowd.