You have likely already had a notice from Google that your site has moved to mobile-first indexing, 70% of websites have already made this move.
Still, maybe yours hasn’t yet.
Either way there’s now a ‘deadline’ of sorts, after which every single website will be judged on their mobile friendliness. That deadline is September 2020.
What is mobile-first indexing?
Mobile-first indexing is Google using the mobile version of a website for indexing and ranking. Simply put, this means that if your site works great on mobile, you’re in for a good time. If not, you’re likely to have a bad time.
Your website has to work great on mobile if you want to give it the best possible chance to rank well now that every website will be judged on its mobile performance. Bear in mind that in 2019, over 52% of people online were browsing on their phones. In 2013, that figure was just over 16%.
Why is this even a thing?
Searches on Mobile devices are ever-increasing and at an extremely fast rate. Google wants their search engine to be based on how well sites perform on mobile rather than just desktop, so that the majority will get a better experience searching and finding sites that are optimised and work well on mobile devices.
What can you do to make your site mobile friendly?
Here are a few tips which can help keep your website on the path to eternal mobile-friendly glory:
- Have a “Responsive” website
A no-brainer but your site has to load correctly and efficiently not just on a traditional desktop/laptop computer, but tablets and of course mobile devices. A “responsive” website is able to load correctly on any device.
- Best practice technology
Make sure your site is built on a fast technology stack - that’s the underlying hosting infrastructure as well as the CMS and systems in place.
- Super-optimised images
Page load speed is extremely important, don’t undo the good work of your perfectly coded and optimised website by accidentally using a 10mb image, or dropping a ton of tracking code snippets into Tag Manager (it definitely happens!).
- Use normal fonts
Don’t make users have to download some weird fancy font and add to the load time - try your best to keep it simple.
- Make navigation simple and easy
Navigation is even more important on mobile devices which are obviously smaller in size than a laptop for example, and if users can’t get to other parts of your website easily they may well just leave - and you don’t want that to happen. High bounce rates and short session times provide a good indication to Google that your site might not be serving up the best experience.
Make sure navigation is very clear, don’t use tiny text.
If you take one thing away from this, just make sure your website loads lightning fast. Google mentioned it themselves when they first announced the roll out of mobile first indexing:
“Having fast-loading content is still helpful for those looking at ways to perform better for mobile and desktop users.”
This coming from the horse’s mouth gives a good idea on what they’re looking at to rank sites. Still, they will rank ‘slower’ websites higher if their content is more relevant in a search than yours.
“Ranking uses many factors. We may show content to users that’s not mobile-friendly or that is slow loading if our many other signals determine it is the most relevant content to show.”
If you’re not sure about your website's mobile performance, simply try out Google’s mobile friendliness tool which will assess and evaluate your site.
Of course, we’d be more than happy to take a look for you too and provide a more detailed insight into what you could do to improve your website’s mobile experience. Just get in touch.