Getting Ready To Leap Forward With Google’s Mobile-first Index
by Al Gomez
For us, digital marketers, perhaps we are no longer new to the fact that mobile usage has outgrown and continuously outgrow desktop usage.
Based on the latest reports by Smart Insights, the digital time spent in mobile is higher at 51% compared to desktop at 42%.
As this becomes a new trend in the digital marketing industry, Google has responded by creating an algorithm that prioritizes the mobile version of the website over the desktop version.
The goal of this algorithm is to have a one search index (based on mobile content) to determine how sites are ranked in SERPs.
There is no time to waste although this algorithm update is yet to be released. If you want to get a step ahead, this is the perfect time to prepare your website for Google’s Mobile-first Index.
How Is it Changing SEO?
Basically, Google will prioritize content based on mobile experience.
This means that if your website is not responsive, you will definitely see a negative impact on your website once this Mobile-first Index update rolls out.
This update cannot be taken for granted.
It’s a serious update which could take up a lot of headaches. But there is nothing to be freak out about.
As what Google has said, they will carefully experiment on a small scale. It won’t come to us as a big-time surprise so you still have enough time to catch up and prepare your website.
Google also have shared some recommended changes, you can do to your website such as making it responsive, fixing site configuration for both mobile and desktop and updating mobile version of websites.
If you want to get a head start on your competitors, here are some things you should also be prepared for.
Put Mobile Users In Mind For Content Creation
Content is everything. Whether in desktop or mobile, your content is a vital ranking factor of your website.
That is why most of us will consider long-form quality content over short content.
However, in a mobile website, a simple 5-sentence paragraph could look very intimidating for consumers. This will likely lead them to abandon the website.
This is the reason why you should break your content into shorter sentence per paragraph. The perfect example is Niel Patel’s blog.
Users won’t feel stressed reading even if he creates a novel-length article since contents are broken down into short paragraphs.
Likewise, avoid omitting relevant content in your mobile website. This is a very common mistake many websites do.
There are websites which on their purpose to avoid squeezing in too much content on a page, deletes relevant contents such as reviews and other user-generated content.
As a result, the pages become shallow or low quality.
While it is not a bad idea to omit some contents, you should be careful because you might already be deleting contents relevant on your website.
Mobile Speed Is A Competition
A survey revealed that 53% of users will abandon a mobile website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. That is why it is extremely important for to optimize your mobile site’s loading speed before the Mobile-first Index update.
One of the easiest and best things you can do it to examine your website through Google Pagespeed Insights Tool.
You can quickly get insights about your page speed and get recommendations on how you can improve them.
Get Your On-site Optimization Ready
As you are making a transition to make your website mobile-friendly, you should also focus on providing Google with a better understanding of your website.
Schema markup is still vital for mobile-optimization. Also, don’t forget about your meta descriptions and titles.
You also need to review other onsite-optimization efforts to be sure they are done with mobile as your priority.
No-No To Intrusive Interstitials
Be careful with using interstitials for your mobile website. Last year, Google announced intrusive interstitials mobile penalty.
So unless these interstitials are bound by legal obligation, login dialogs or banners which take very minimum screen space, it is better if you avoid using intrusive interstitials.
Get Your Traffic From Everywhere
Traffic from organic sources may not be enough to put you on top of SERP pages longer.
With the impending Mobile-first Index, you may need to consider other sources of traffic, specifically in social media.
Most users use social media in mobile. This is the perfect opportunity for you to gain traffic from this source.
Make sure your content has sharing buttons so users can easily share them over their network.
Videos and other visual contents may also regain spotlight as we gradually shift to mobile.
However, you still should not forget that content still is the key driver in driving traffic to your website.
Hidden Content Won’t Be Hidden Anymore
This is good news for website owners and digital marketers.
Google now treats contents within tabs or accordion as a normal content on the page. This is because there is simply not enough space for contents to fit in mobile.
This gives us more options for content creation. It also provides us more ideas for website redesigns and content organization.
More Than Just A Shrunk Mobile Website
Overall, we can say that this Mobile-first Index Algo is more than just about compressing your site’s content to fit a 5-inch screen display.
More than just a shrunk version of your desktop site, your mobile website should be friendly and responsive to users. Optimize your mobile website as much as you optimized the desktop version.
Yes. It’s time to prioritize mobile. Afterall, if you don’t, you’re obviously missing tons of opportunities which only a fully-optimized website can enjoy.