What is Mobile-First Indexing?
Tips from Digital Marketing Experts
How many times do you pick up your phone to search the web for information? In fact, you are probably reading this article on a mobile device right now. Using your mobile device to access information has become the norm. In order for your company to be competitive, you must be found on Google’s search results.
Mobile-First Indexing and Google Results
Mobile-first indexing is Google’s process of using the smartphone agent in their Googlebot web crawler to scan your site and index it’s content for the search engine. It uses this as the starting point to help mobile users find what they’re looking for in a format that provides the best mobile-friendly experience for the user, and–if it is a great site and experience–increases your ranking on Google.
Historically, Google used the desktop version of a site’s content when evaluating if it matched a user’s query. Now, the mobile-first version of your website will be considered the primary version on Google. You should know that there is not a separate index for mobile-first scans; if the content on an old site is relevant, it will continue to be returned on the SERP.
It is time to let go of the past. Now it is necessary that your online footprint is equal across both the mobile and desktop versions of your website. You should already be writing and designing content (including text, images, videos, and links), structuring your data and meta-data (titles, descriptions, meta tags) and experiencing your website so that it is mobile-friendly.
What Does This Mean for your Site?
As of July 1st, mobile-first indexing is enabled by default for all new (or previously unknown to Google Search) websites ready for the Googlebot indexing scan. For older or existing websites, Google will continue to monitor and evaluate websites based on its best practices.
If you are an older website, once Google sees a site is ready, it will designate the site as ready for mobile-first indexing and it will notify them of their readiness through its Search Console.
If you’re a new website, you don’t have to do anything. New sites are already showing users and search engines the same content on both their desktop and mobile devices.
Evaluate Your Users Experience
Just because your old site or your new site is ready for mobile-first indexing, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to evaluate your user’s experience.
First, Google has provided an easy tool to test and see if your site is mobile-friendly. You just have to insert your site and Google will give you the information you need to fix it. If you need more guidance, Web Grader has a great tool that evaluates your site and gives you detailed information on how you can make your site user-friendly.
Second, pick up a mobile device and check out your site from a user’s point of view. Write down ways you think will enhance the user’s experience based on the information that you are trying to relay.
Here are four steps to help you enhance the user’s experience:
- Keep it simple
Mobile sites don’t need as many bells and whistles as they did in the past. Keep only the website elements you truly need. Ask yourself if each element is really necessary. If not, get rid of it.
- Conveying your message
Make sure your message and call to action (CTA) are easily understood. Check text links and forms to make sure they work. Create easy-to-use buttons for connecting to other pages. Check that your forms are easy to fill out on a mobile device. Consider using mobile-friendly CTAs such as SMS text messaging and live chat.
- What about SEO?
Instead of solely looking at keyword synonyms you have to start thinking about the whole mobile experience. Look at the problem a specific search query is trying to solve, and then craft a content-based response that is appropriate for that query.
- Make the necessary changes
Now you are ready to make the necessary changes to create a user-friendly site for mobile-first indexing. If all of this is overwhelming, and you’re feeling unprepared to tackle mobile-first indexing on your own, get help from a professional team.
There’s no question that mobile devices have changed the way we deliver information. Now that Google has rolled out mobile-first indexing for all sites, it is time to make sure you have a website for the devices people are using most. So, evaluate your site and implement the necessary changes to make it user-friendly. Mobile-first indexing is just an additional way that Google is addressing the needs of its, and by extension, your audience.
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