How to Cheat at Optimizing Your Site for Google Mobile-First Index and Get Away with It
- September 26, 2019
Google Mobile-First Index
Google towards the end of 2016, started testing its mobile-first index. Today, most people are spending more time on mobile and searching on Google using a mobile device. However, google’s ranking systems use the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance users.This new mobile-first index will look first at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals and fall back on the desktop version when there is no mobile version.
Google has taken baby steps toward a mobile-first index for quite a while now. Google completely understand that this is an important shift in indexing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). They have been experimenting on a small scale and would scale up when they are confident with the user experience. Mobile will continue to dominate search, search engines like Google are going to place more and more emphasis on mobile.
If you have been slow in joining the mobile revolution, now is the time to take action. We have put together five steps you can take to optimize your site for Google’s mobile-first index.[irp]
Responsive Web design
Responsive Web Design makes your web page look good on all devices (desktops, tablets, and phones). This approach implies that web design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation. As a user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate the resolution, image size, and scripting abilities. Meaning, the website should have the ability to automatically respond to user’s preferences. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market
Google expects that every website should load within two seconds. Users have short attention span and have come to expect websites to load fast, and so does Google. Making sure your site loads fast is essential to ranking on mobile. A few things to consider when optimizing web page speed.
- Optimize images. Large images will slow down a site.
- Minify code.
- Leverage browser caching.
- Reduce redirects. Too many redirects can cause the site to have to reload and slows down the experience.
In the early days of mobile design, blocking CSS, java or image elements was helpful. They often caused issues and caused sites to drag. This is no longer true or applicable today. With the rise in technology, smartphones are in many cases, more powerful than most computers owned by users. They are now designed to handle nearly anything we throw at them.
When it comes to mobile search engine results pages (SERPS) you have less room to work with. On-page optimization involves making sure website pages, titles, tags, content, alt text and overall structure are optimized for target keywords.[irp]
Last September, Google released “Possum,” which was a massive update to the local search algorithm. Mobile search is critical for local businesses aiming to drive foot traffic into their stores. Google’s research into local search behavior shows higher conversion rate. Google report showed that “50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.” Local businesses have much to gain from the mobile-first index.
There is still a lot to learn as Google furthers their experiment with their mobile-first index. Starting with the above steps, you can help make the case for your site and improve your visibility in mobile search.
Make hay while the sun shines. Now is the time for action. For more info visit our website