The buzz about Google’s mobile-first index update has been around for the last 1-2 years. But the real question here is, is your website prepared for this update?
Much has been talked about the update, but little is said to make your website mobile-ready. Here are a few steps that you can take to prepare your website for when it actually launches:
For all those who are unaware of the update, here is a quick run-through of the latest news.
What is Mobile-First Index Update?
Google announced its Mobile-First Index update via its Webmaster Central blog. From 1st July 2019, all the websites on Google search console will be mobile-first indexed. The search engine behemoth currently uses the desktop version of your website to rank your content for mobile sites. But now Google is changing their way of indexing content, which means Google’s algorithms will use your mobile site content to rank for a desktop version.
Make sure your website is ready for the mobile-first index update by taking these points into consideration:
1. Have a Responsive Website
If you have a responsive or dynamic website that has the same content for both mobile and desktop, you wouldn’t have to worry. However, if you have separate websites for mobile (m.domainname.com) and desktop, which serve different content then should make your website responsive.
2. Mobile UX
Optimize your mobile website to improve user experience. Once the update is released, crawlers will index and rank websites that have a better user interface and experience for mobile higher than ones that don’t. Therefore, start improving your mobile website design to show relevant content to increase user engagement.
You can use tools like Mobile-Friendly Test to identify and work on the issues. Also check for bounce rate, average time spent on the site, and mobile traffic details in the Google Analytics tool to improve user experience.
3. Mobile Site Speed
Site speed matters when it comes to mobile devices. If you have a slow website, you might lose a potential customer. Google suggests that your website should not take more than 3 seconds to load on mobile devices.
According to The SEM Post, Gary Illyes confirmed that page speed will be a factor in the next mobile-friendly update. Page speed will also become a crucial factor for keyword ranking as well.
Google’s latest tool Think with Google, helps in checking page speed and performance exclusively for mobile. This helps you get insights on your website’s load time and what percentage of visitors you are losing because of poor page speed.
Think with Google will also give you a mobile speed comparison of your competitors. And it will also suggest changes to improve load speed.
4. Content for Mobile
Optimize content for your mobile site. It should be short, simple, and to the point. Align your design and content so that users don’t have to scroll much perform your desired action.
5. Structure Data
Your website should have structured markup for both desktop and mobile version. Google crawlers use structured data to understand the content on the webpage. You can read more about it here.
If you have a separate website for mobile, you could check your website markup in the Google Structured Data Testing Tool for both desktop and mobile versions.
Also, Google suggests not using too many markups in a page “When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.”
6. Internal Linking Structure
Make sure you have the same internal linking structure for desktop and mobile website. If you have a dynamic website then check the internal links and make it is the same as the desktop version, else you might fall short on your search rank.
Consider these points and start optimizing your website before Google’s Mobile-First Index Update is released.
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