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Mobile First Indexing: What You Need to Know

Global usage statistics reveal the turning point was in 2015 when mobile devices became the favored way to access the internet. In late 2016 mobile searches by volume in the United States surpassed regular computer searches for the first time ever, and it’s likely to never change.

This will be a short introduction to mobile SEO and how you can position yourself to stay relevant on Google search to not just maintain status quo but to surpass your own expectations.

What is Mobile SEO?

A website’s rank in search results is judged by the mobile version first.

Ensure your website is optimized for mobile user experience. If it’s easier to use on mobile devices, structured for search engine bots to scan and loads pages as fast as possible, these factors will go a long way in your SEO efforts.

The progression of mobile technology to the dominant form of our interaction with the internet is at an influx and has been for quite a while. Google will continue to push forward with mobile first everything. Why wouldn’t they? 90% of mobile searches are done on Google.

An important point to note is mobile first does NOT mean mobile exclusive. If you own or are associated with a website that doesn’t have a mobile version then Google will index your desktop site instead. How this affects search engine rank is unclear, but it probably does have an effect the closer to first-position you get, as competition becomes more intense.

It’s necessary to keep in mind a few things when optimizing a mobile website;

Pay attention to all these elements, they’re important and are specifically judged and measured by Google ranking algorithms.

Speed is King

How fast your pages load is a critical step to trying to rank on mobile search. If you’re just starting out the very first step would be to let Google analyze your current website with their Mobile-Friendly Test.

There are a few simple fixes to look out for if you’re really floundering trying to figure all this out. The first we recommend is to compress all images on your site as much as possible. Any video or animated features should be in HTML5.

UX Design

One major ranking factor is how well designed your website is for the mobile users.

Make your content easy to read on smaller screens will go a long way for mobile user experience, specifically;

  • Easy to see, high-contrast colour scheme
  • Use at least 14px font size
  • Keep titles within 50-60 character limit
  • Title tags/meta description to avoid cut-off
  • Use small header images on mobile
  • Use negative space for easier reading
  • Avoid excessive pop-ups

A Nod to the Bots

All good SEO practices must, in some way make scanning and interpreting your web page as easy and logical as possible. It’s an absolute must to make every aspect of your mobile website crawlable to the Googlebot because it does have an effect on search rank.

Google’s RankBrain algorithm is one of the top three signalling factors (besides links and content) when they’re determining what results to show for a search. All of the specifics of how it works are shrouded in mystery and any study of it is from third-party research.

Keep in mind that what we do know is the importance it places on user experience (UX) signals on your website and holds even more weight to the mobile UX design signals mentioned.

Keep it Consistent

Always keep in mind the important factors affecting your search rank with Google’s recent mobile-first design. Format everything to make your content easier to read and navigate through. Make your website as fast as possible and don’t forget to tip your hat to the bots behind the scene with proper structure and access to your site.