For more than a year and a half, Google has been discussing plans to switch to mobile-first indexing. In fact, Google has already rolled out a version of it. But before too long, it’ll become the norm. For businesses that are prepared, there’s nothing to worry about. For those that fail to heed the warnings, results won’t be nearly so positive.
Google’s Shift Towards Mobile-First Indexing
Mobile has been a force to be reckoned with for years, but there’s been a dynamic shift over the last few years. While mobile has far outpaced desktop as the number one searching method for a while, it’s typically been assumed that mobile searches happened by people who were on the go. But the reality is that more than 77 percent of mobile searches occur at home. In other words, people are turning to mobile, even when they could use desktop.
Mobile-first indexing is all about modernizing the way search engines function in order to enhance user experience and ensure mobile internet users’ best interests are prioritized.
With this new indexing method, Google will display relevant search results to all searchers. Whereas they used to look at web pages through a desktop filter, Google will now place first priority on the mobile versions of each web page. Businesses and marketers that don’t invest in mobile-first content and web design will face a stiff disadvantage. Those that modernize will be rewarded with the opportunity to rank well in the search results.
3 Ways to Prepare Your Website
The fact that you’re aware of mobile-first indexing and know that something needs to change is a good first step. But it’s not enough to recognize that a shift is occurring – you actually need to take action. Specifically, you need to:
- Go Responsive
While it’s technically still possible to have a desktop site and mobile site, it’s a really poor practice in 2018. If you don’t already have responsive design, now’s the time to go for it.
“Responsive sites not only offer an optimized browsing experience, they are also offering a two-for-one value,” SEO expert Pius Boachie writes. “They rank well on both mobile and desktop because the design changes to fit the size of the user’s screen.”
- Optimize Your Content
Content is the lifeblood of SEO. If you’re trying to optimize your SEO to account for mobile-first indexing, it all starts with optimizing your content.
Mobile content optimization is all about keeping things simple and concise. You want compelling headlines and graphics that get straight to the point. Think bite-sized chunks, rather than a full three-course meal. This doesn’t mean you go light on information and value, though. The goal is to do more with less. The better you understand your audience, the greater your results will be.
- Think About Mobile UX
When designing for mobile, you have to think about user experience. One of your primary objectives should be to reduce friction and limit the number of inputs users have. You can achieve this by developing a clean, minimalistic layout.
As digital marketer Tim Holdsworth explains, “A clean layout is characterized by the use of negative space to emphasize what’s most important on a web page (e.g., a form to capture conversions), and should extend to larger devices as well to create a consistent, streamlined browsing experience that enhances user experience.”
Satisfied users stick around longer, come back more, and are more likely to share content and make a purchase. The more you prioritize mobile user experience, the more effective your entire digital strategy will become.
Don’t Get Left Behind
Google is going all-in on mobile-first indexing. Whether or not you agree with this decision is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that you optimize your website accordingly. In doing so, you’ll give your business the best chance of being competitive in the modern internet age.