How to Ensure You’re Ready for Google’s Mobile-First Index
For the past couple of years, Google has increasingly been altering the rankings of mobile search results to more adequately reflect the needs of mobile users. While rankings were once determined based on quality – regardless of device – the need for more optimized webpages that function well on mobile devices precipitated this change. However, we recently learned that Google is embracing a “mobile-first” policy across its services as a whole; mobile optimizations will now affect rankings in all searches, regardless of device being searched from. Because of this, you’ll want to review the tips below that’ll be necessary for any website to perform well in the future.
Have a Fast Website
Mobile devices on average operate on networks with less available bandwidth than standard home computers. Because of this, speed matters in the world of mobile search. Pages that are slow to load are increasingly being abandoned by mobile users, who are opting instead for more mobile-friendly solutions. You’ll want to make sure that both your website and hosting solution are equipped to minimize page load speed, as Google has been factoring in this variable for years in its mobile results. As Google prepares to shift to a mobile-first strategy for all search results, you’ll want to make sure that you’re pinging servers with as little latency as possible. Failure to do so could prevent you from ranking well – or worse, could cause your rankings to drop.
Remove Interstitials and Popups
We all know that collecting information and promoting our brand’s offerings is essential to long-term success. Many websites use interstitial ads, popups or comparable elements to reach users as soon as they arrive on a given page. Unfortunately, Google does not find this tactic amusing from a mobile perspective. Recent updates from the search engine giant suggest that websites using these elements could already be facing penalties in its mobile-first algorithms. With mobile dynamics now affecting all of Google, you simply cannot afford to gamble with your SEO potential by keeping these elements. Ditch them now and find new ways to reach your visitors effectively.
Utilize Responsive Design
Most mobile-friendly websites already have taken this step, but if you haven’t already, then it’s essential that you implement a mobile responsive design. Websites that look good on desktop computers but that fail to adjust for mobile devices have been getting the short end of the stick in Google’s mobile SERPs for some time now. With the penalty now extending to all searches, massive drops in traffic await any brands that do not adjust to the new reality. Whether you decide to professionally code your responsive design from the ground-up or utilize one of many mobile design tools to quickly generate an alternative, there has never been a better – or more important – time to implement this change.
Time is running out for websites that don’t adapt to the bulk of traffic coming from mobile devices. By making just a few simple changes, you can guarantee that you’ll be ready for Google’s mobile-first policy. What are some other ways you’ve made your website mobile-friendly? Share with us your experience below on how it helped improve your website’s functionality.