It’s 2018, and everything is revolving around mobile. Those who are just now getting their business setup to take advantage of this fact are experiencing a rude awakening.
Google’s latest evolution is perfectly adapted to deliver mobile users the best experience possible in their search results. This technique is referred to as “mobile first indexing”, and if your website and mobile site aren’t deemed adequate for this new criteria, you can expect a decline to your visitors and eventually online sales.
What will mobile first indexing accomplish?
Designed to deliver the best mobile sites to visitors browsing on their phones and tables, there are a number of factors that Google is using to determine how best to choose sites.
In the past, business owners simply had a mobile friendly version of their site available to the occasional visitors who browsed from their phone. As networks and mobile devices were much slower, this wasn’t a common occurrence at all. It was common for businesses to dedicate the majority of their efforts, budgets and attention to their main desktop website, only doing the bare minimum of work to the mobile side.
With mobile first indexing, the mobile version of your site is weighted first for your site’s rankings. If you have an unoptimized mobile site or aren’t properly adjusting your main site’s adaptive theme to account for more mobile metadata, it will potentially be penalized. More accurately, the websites that are better setup to accommodate mobile devices will begin to outrank your website.
What can be done to achieve higher rankings?
With mobile first indexing affecting search engine rank placements, it’s imperative to get a foothold in accommodating Google’s changes. Here’s three crucial factors that you’ll want to keep tabs on with how your site works and how it is ranked by Google.
- On-Page Metadata
This refers to canonical URLs, structure of the web pages themselves, and how easily the site itself can be parsed. While the most important factors will typically sort themselves out when you design the site properly for mobile users, having the proper metadata tags will ensure you aren’t leaving any stone unturned.
- Server and Host Settings
If even you noticed that your website was slow loading before, then this change will definitely not help. Mobile networks have their own restrictions on speed due to area of network availability and WiFi, but that’s no excuse to allow for a slow delivery speed of your content.
You can use a CDN (Content Delivery Network) to deliver content as fast a possible to visitors regardless of their location. Also, it’s beneficial to employ a caching method for your site to ensure the files are as small as possible. You can use Google Insights PageSpeed to discover what areas you’re lacking in quickly and easily.
- Ads and Obtrusive Elements
If you have a graphic heavy site or use ads, ensure they’re not delivering a subpar experience to your visitors. Some ad networks allow for less than scrupulous ads to be delivered, resulting in annoying popups and download prompts on mobile devices. You’ll want to remove these and find a better ad partner if this is the case for your site.
There’s a wide variety of other elements to account for when adapting the online portion of your business to mobile trends. As with any changes to Google, you’ll want to properly manage your analytics to ensure that you are still maintaining the same performance and results as you had previously.