Mobile-First Indexing: What Google Wants You To Know
Google added another chapter in their efforts to deliver a better user experience. And this time, the focus is on mobile users.
Back in 2015, mobile internet usage surpassed desktop usage. This was a landmark shift, and the search engine giant knew exactly what it needed to do to deliver a better experience. This was when the foundation of mobile-first indexing was laid.
What is that one device you constantly use throughout a day? Yes, some of you might even be reading this article on that device right now- well, it’s a mobile or as the millennials say “smartphone”.
Research indicates that the internet is accessed more via mobile phones than it is accessed via a desktop and the numbers are still rising.
And Google, which has always been a forerunner in introducing updates to benefit its primary users, began working on Mobile-First Indexing in 2016 and finally launched it this year.
Before we get into the details, let’s begin to understand what Google’s latest mobilegeddon is.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
Mobile-First Indexing means that the mobile version of your website will be the priority of the search engine to index for its SERPs.
Previously, Google’s search engine indexing was limited to only the desktop version of websites. So all rankings were based only on that format. But those websites took too long to respond. And even when they did, the interface was not optimized for the small screen of a smartphone.
However, this changed with Google’s mobilegeddon update in 2015. This aimed to give indexing preference to websites which displayed well on a smartphone. So that the user gets his/her query resolved with best results. Now, with Mobile-First Indexing, Google plans to improve this.
The mobile versions of your website will be prioritized in the search results but only when the user is accessing it through a mobile device. The same way, the desktop version of your website will be prioritized on a computer or laptop unless the other version has better search related information.
For the users, this update means an even more convenient internet surfing experience with an optimized user interface and fast loading speed. But for businesses, this means a strong need to focus on their content delivery.
Why Should Businesses Go For Mobile Optimisation?
Mobile users have surpassed desktop users
In terms of internet usage, mobile occupies 55.79% of the market
For businesses to ensure their online visibility, mobile optimization has become crucial with the rollout of this feature. Without optimization, your site can be lost to the digital purgatory.
Mobile Optimisation Boosts Loading Speed & Conversions Rates
If your website’s mobile version has slow loading speed and the interface has overlapping texts and tabs, this leads to a negative impact on the users. Naturally, bounce rates increase, and conversions decrease.
For instance, Amazon states that even a one-second delay in loading of their website incurs a loss of 1.6 billion dollars annually.
You need to get your website ready for Mobile-First Indexing. Otherwise, your business will lose conversions and ultimately, profits. In an age of short attention spans, even a one-second lag can cause disengagement.
So, how should you make your website ready for Mobile-First Indexing? The next heading gives you the answer.
Are You Ready For Mobile-First Indexing?
This section will help you to determine your website’s readiness for being indexed.
Optimize The Content Of Your Website
To begin with, if you have a responsive website, you have nothing to worry about. This is because such sites display the same content on both their desktop and mobile versions.
On the other hand, if you have a dynamic website, then you need to balance the content on both the versions along with maintaining its quality. This includes all forms of data: textual, visual data, alt-attributes, etc.
Refrain From Using Unnecessary Structured Data
It is advisable for businesses using dynamic serving, to keep similarly structured data markup of both the versions and refrain from using unnecessary markup. This will hamper the rankings. And as far as websites with responsive serving are concerned, they will by default have the same structured data.
If detected with differences in the markup, users will not be able to find relevant information from their searches, which could eventually, affect the business’ brand value.
Rework On The Title And Meta Description
The meta description and title should be present in both versions of the website. They compel a user to access your website. But the content shown is dependent on the platform it is accessed on.
It’s better to keep the meta description on the shorter side. Whereas a desktop version’s limit is 158 characters, the mobile version reads 120 characters.
Upgrade The Servers
Be prepared to experience extra load on your servers. This is because, with Mobile-First Indexing, the GoogleBot crawler will crawl more frequently. And yes, that will potentially affect your load speed, if you are not prepared.
On upgrading the servers, the load on them will be controlled, and the GoogleBot crawler will smoothly do its work.
Don’t Worry About Canonical Links
There is no need for website owners to make any changes to canonical links. Google will analyze both the desktop and the mobile version to provide the users with the appropriate results.
Advertisements And Popups
Advertisements and popups are distracting elements while surfing the internet. So, to handle them in an organized way that it won’t affect the user experience will be the task of your business.
It is advisable to link the ads and popups to relevant pages, so it does not affect the user experience.
How To Ensure That Your Website Is Finally Ready For Mobile-First Indexing?
Track The Loading Speed
You need to test the speed of your website to gauge it’s loading time. There are several tools which you can use to get a proper account of the speed. If it is still not that fast, then you need to work more on it. Remember, Amazon’s 1.6 billion dollar loss caused by a one-second delay in loading.
Test The User Experience And Responsiveness
Access the site yourself or hire testers to go through the mobile version of your website and see how it performs. This process will bring surely find several glitches or flaws that need to be worked upon and improved. All websites have glitches. And all have different ones on small-format screens.
Verify The Mobile Version
If you prefer to operate on dynamic web design, you need to verify the ownership of your mobile version.
Google Search Console
The Google search console will give you a variety of benefits.
You can easily:
- Analyze clicks from Google search
- Get alerts for critical errors and issues
- Test if Google can efficiently understand your content.
Grant Access To GoogleBot
Use the robots.txt testing tool to see if the GoogleBot crawler has access to crawling and then indexing of your website.
Check Your Website’s Mobile-friendliness With A Free Tool
Use Rankwatch’s free mobile friendliness checker tool to check if your website is mobile friendly or not.
The above pointers brief you about Mobile-First Indexing, from defining it to how to make your website mobile friendly. Along with this, you will have read about the benefits of web site’s mobile friendliness for businesses. And most importantly, you have been given the tools to test and improve your readiness for Mobile-first Indexing.
Over To You
What did you do to get your site ready for Mobile-first Indexing? Do you have any advice you can impart to your fellow readers and marketers? Please leave your comments below. Thanks!
You may also want to read: Get Ready – Google’s Mobile-First Indexing is Upon Us
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