The Biggest Considerations When Pursuing Mobile-First Indexing
For a few years, most brands have been made aware of the effects that mobile users can have on their brands’ bottom lines. Particularly true with search engine optimization, a large percentage of traffic now comes via mobile devices. With search engines directly penalizing websites that do not cater to this audience’s specific needs, it’s untenable to ignore what mobile users want and need.
Google has been using something known as mobile-first indexing for a couple of years now. This means that the mobile versions of your website’s pages are the first iterations to be indexed, and take priority over desktop-based variations. This can have a huge impact on SEO and traffic, so let’s examine what you should be considering when optimizing your mobile content.
Arguably one of the biggest considerations when building a website that is both optimized for mobile devices and for mobile-first indexing is page speed. In the case of the former, there is a direct correlation between PageRank and page speed; given that mobile devices often operate with less bandwidth than traditional desktop computers, the speed at which pages can load matter greatly for user experience. When pinging to Google any number of page elements, it’s important to consider how many resources they utilize, and to optimize and streamline elements wherever possible. By reducing code, optimizing images and utilizing caching, you can greatly improve your website in this regard.
Just as it is important from the perspective of mobile responsiveness, optimizing your pages in terms of design can have a huge impact on mobile-first indexing. Part art and part technical knowledge, cultivating an overall design that ensures every page renders well both for users and Google is a crucial component of this process. A variety of concerns when implementing this aspect of website design include eliminating any use of Flash and other unindexable elements, removing any presence of pop-ups and ensuring that the overall layout of the website is ideal for touch-screens and finger use.
Optimizing On-Page and for Local
Last but definitely not least, mobile-first indexing works best when a variety of optimizations are used to ensure proper rankings. For small businesses and other entities with a specific geographic focus, optimizing for local results is crucial. Due to the new Possum algorithm update, new optimizations (such as including NAP, along with geographic mentions in titles, tags and descriptions) is more impactful than ever.
Depending, this may conflict with some of the better on-page optimizations needed, such as short, relevant titles. It may also require tweaking various pages and forms of content; while most pages’ desktop and mobile versions should be the same in terms of content, some have found greater success in mobile audiences by shortening and/or tweaking various descriptions and titles when pinging to Google their mobile-friendly content variations.
It should go without saying that mobile-first indexing is an important component of any broader SEO strategy and can have a huge impact on your overall traffic. By considering the above three dynamics, you can ensure that your website is getting the attention it deserves from Google and is being indexed properly.