How To Optimise Your Site For Google’s Mobile-First Index

Posted by on 22 February, 2018

If you haven’t heard, Google are currently rolling out their Mobile-First Index, meaning the search listings across all devices will now rank based on the mobile version of your site. 

Google are now seeing more daily mobile searches than desktop searches so it’s only right that Google now introduced a new system that will look at the content, links and structure of the mobile version of your site. This is why you have to act now.

Here are the 5 steps you need to take to optimize your site for Googles mobile-first index:

1. Speed

Page speed is really something that you need to focus on when creating a website. Google aims for pages to load in under half-second, which is pretty much instantly.

There’s nothing more annoying than waiting ages for a page to load. You need to ensure your site loads fast, it’s a must.

There are four simple things you can do to speed up your site:

  • Optimize your images – try changing the image to a smaller size and avoid using .png files
  • Remove unnecessary coding – as long as you’re not changing the source’s functionality, remove any unused characters
  • Use browser caching – browser caching stores web page recourse files on a local computer when a user visits a web page
  • Limit your redirect links – too many redirect links will slow the site down when it reloads

2. Don’t Block JavaScript

Though blocking javascript was helpful in speeding up websites in the past, times have changed and technology on your phones has improved to handle these elements.

Smartphones now use GoogleBot that looks out for javascript, so don’t just stick to simple HTML for your mobiles sites assuming this may slow the load up time.

3. Be Mobile Friendly

Of course, this is obvious, but you need to rigorously test all your pages so that they are fully responsive and work correctly across all devices.

  • Stop using Flash – Apple has stopped the use of Flash, so you should remove anything using flash from your mobile pages and replace it with HTML5 or Java.
  • Remove pop-ups – There’s nothing more annoying than constant pop-ups whilst you are trying to read something online, and they’re particularly annoying on mobile. Scaring people off your site with pop-ups will increase your bounce-rate and decrease your rank in Google listings.
  • Design with mobile in mind – This is a must now, and if you’re creating a new site this should be at the forefront of your thinking. Make the site ‘finger-friendly’ as accidental tapping on small buttons is really annoying, and users want to scroll and tap through pages with ease.

mobile friendly website

4. Don’t Forget SEO

When it comes to search engine results pages you need to make sure you have kept your titles and descriptions clear and concise so that the GoogleBot will understand your page better. This is a must if you’re aiming for a higher click-through rate.

5. Local Optimisation

Mobile search is imperative for local businesses looking to drive people to their store. According to Google,

“50% of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34% who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.”

How many times have you looked on your phone to find the nearest hairdressers, the nearest local shop, or the nearest furniture store? Local businesses have the most to gain from the mobile-first index.

To increase your mobile visibility remember to add your city and state in the following places:

  • Page titles
  • URL
  • Page content throughout the site
  • ALT tags (also for any images used)
  • Meta description

Don’t get complacent though, Google is always evolving so its best to stay on top of Google’s changes so you can stay on top and stand out amongst the crowd

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