By now you may know that Google has been shifting its algorithm in favor of mobile-friendly sites, and mobile-first indexing is a step in that initiative.
Up until now, businesses often created two versions of the company site — one for viewing on a desktop and one for viewing on mobile devices. When Google used to index and rank sites, it would use the site’s desktop version to get the information it needed for website ranking. Now the shift to indexing mobile versions first is on.
However, Google’s John Mueller said that content may still be found among mobile-first indexing despite not passing the mobile usability test. Mueller stated that mobile usability is “completely separate” from mobile-first indexing. Pages can still be moved to mobile-first indexing even if they’re not considered usable on mobile.
An example of this case would be a PDF file. PDFs are difficult to navigate on mobile, the links are hard to click, and the text is hard to read. Nevertheless, they can still be added to mobile-first indexing because all of the text is still there.
All in all, a pdf document can be added to mobile-first indexing if Google can crawl all the text on the page, and the page can be displayed on a mobile device. So, don’t look at Google’s mobile usability test or the report in Search Console as a sign if your website is ready for the mobile-first index.
How can I check if my site is “mobile-friendly”?
The easiest way to know if your site is mobile-friendly is to open the website on your phone. The content should be easy to read. Check to see if the page is easy to scroll, tap, and navigate using only your thumb.
What if my website is not mobile-friendly?
Realizing that your site is not mobile-ready should be the number one reason to rebuild your website. No one wants to pinch and zoom and read tiny text or be sent to the wrong page because the links are too close to each other. Most users will likely leave the site in frustration. Responsive design is also essential for SEO website optimization.
How can I prepare for Mobile-First Indexing?
The shift to Mobile-First Indexing means that Google will primarily look at the mobile version to determine website ranking in the future. Here are a few ways you can make sure that you are ready for the change called Mobile-First Indexing:
- Loading speed should be less than two seconds
It is not only vital from a user’s point of view but also for Google’s to have your website load fast.
Does your website take more than two seconds to load? Here are some suggestions for your website optimization:
- Don’t include large images.
- Use the minimum amount of code to keep the functionality.
- Don’t use unnecessary characters that slow down a site.
- Avoid page redirects.
- Have the same content for both Desktop and Mobile Version.
- Leverage browser caching.
- Have the same content for both Desktop and Mobile Version
It would also be wise to include expandable content on your mobile version, such as having expandable boxes, accordions, and content hidden in tabs on your mobile site.
- Use a Responsive Design
Using responsive design is one of the best ways to prepare with the Mobile-First Index change because users will be able to access and view your website more easily. For example, consider using responsive themes on WordPress. Avoid using Flash elements on your page, as these make the user experience on mobile devices more difficult. Instead, you can use HTML 5 to incorporate elements that will make your website look unique.
If you need help with website SEO optimization, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d love to discuss your marketing strategy and help in any way I can.
Rob Dunford is a Marketing Consultant in the Great Toronto Area with over 25 years of experience in implementing marketing plans for small businesses.