Gone are the days when desktop traffic is viewed as the priority. Mobile browsing has long surpassed desktop browsing years ago and Google is on the move to making adjustments in how sites are ranked.
Lo and behold, 2018 is the year that Google is making it official by launching a mobile-first index algorithm, ultimately making mobile sites and pages as the main basis for indexing and ranking.
So what does this all mean? Simply put, the mobile version of your site should be your main priority because it’s what Google will use to assess your ranking in search engines. Sounds scary? A bit. But is it a surprising move on Google’s part? Not at the very least.
This has long been an expected update from Google. The tables have finally turned and mobile sites aren’t just an afterthought anymore; it’s become the priority.
With all that said, it’s pretty easy to determine your proper course of action, which is to focus on improving (or creating, if you don’t have one yet!) the mobile version of your site. We’re listing down important steps in preparing your site for Google’s Mobile-First Index. The first step? Don’t panic and just read on.
Step #1: Ensure that your site is truly optimised for mobile browsing
More than being mobile-friendly, your site has to be mobile-optimised.
There’s actually a difference between the two. Saying that your site is mobile-friendly means that you have a working mobile version of the site, meaning you can simply view your site using a mobile device. However, saying that it is optimised for mobile means that it offers a seamless user experience and has a truly responsive mobile design.
Having a mobile-optimised site doesn’t just mean that you have a shrunken or slightly rearranged version of your site. It means that your users would be able to navigate your site with the same ease (or more!) as they do with the desktop version.
Good news is a lot of website platforms provide an automatic mobile version of the site. However, it would still be best to make sure that it’s the best possible design for mobile and not just a slightly adjusted version. This is why a lot of developers opt to build it from scratch to ensure that they hit the mark in mobile-responsiveness.
To check if your mobile site is up to par, you can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test as a starting point. They’ll either say that your site is mobile-friendly or come up with a report that would highlight the main points for improvement and repair.
Step #2: Adjust content for mobile viewing
It’s not enough to simply adjust the design. You may also have to look at how you craft your content and see if it works as effectively for mobile viewing as well.
Content remains king and one way of how marketers deal with this is by coming up with at least a thousand, or even three, words and complete with supporting images and graphics. The thing is, these highly informative and wordy content may seem fine to look at on a desktop screen but doesn’t translate as smoothly to a mobile screen. One remedy to this issue is to slightly adjust how you write. It doesn’t mean that you have to shorten your posts. Perhaps you can cut them up into shorter paragraphs and sentences, as opposed to piling it all up in lengthy chunks.
Google’s mobile-first index shouldn’t push you into a corner and restrict you from coming up with quality content. Remember that quality content remains a strong ranking factor above everything else.
What this algorithm update should do is to push you into paying more attention on how your desktop site and pages translate to mobile. This applies not just to text content, but also to images, graphics, videos, and other content formats.
Step #3: Consider other mobile-first index factors
Achieving a seamless user experience with your mobile site comprises of several factors that come into play. It’s not simply about the display or adjusted layout. There are other mobile-first index factors that you strongly pay attention to. These include the following:
As we’ve already said, there’s no reason to panic because you still have time. But that time is getting shorter with each day and if you still haven’t gotten around to at least having a mobile-friendly version of your site, then it’s high time that you make the move.
Should you have a mobile-friendly version, then kudos to you! But the job’s not done yet. Your goal is to truly optimise it for mobile browsing by paying attention to several factors that affect user experience.
Make the most out of the time we’re all waiting for Google to finally launch the Mobile-First Index to focus on making several adjustments and improvements on your mobile site.
Simply put, prioritize your mobile site starting now and by the time Google announces its launch, your site is up and ready to rule the search engine rankings on both mobile and desktop.
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