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October 19, 2020

Mobile-First Indexing Postoned: Optimise Your Website

Mobile has become more powerful, as nearly 80% of people are now browsing the internet using smartphones and tablets. Additionally, mobile conversions have increased significantly as consumers are more willing to take action on their mobile devices, whether buying a product or signing up for a service, shortly after doing their search.

As more searches are coming from these mobile devices, Google is looking to give those users a much better experience. The search engine has decided that it is time to prioritise mobile search results by using mobile-first indexing.

This means that Google will use your website's mobile version on its index first, instead of using the desktop version.

Google had announced it would be switching to mobile-first indexing in September 2020, but the date has since been moved to March 2021.

Once the mobile-first indexing transition happens for all websites in March, any site that is not mobile optimised could see a reduction in traffic and site performance.

Mobile-First Indexing (MFI) and Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Some sites are available in three versions, including desktop, mobile, and AMP versions.

Knowing the specific version of your website that Google will use in its MFI is, therefore, critical to your search engine optimisation strategy.

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In this case, Google will use the mobile site in its index and ignore the AMP pages. However, if a site only has the AMP version and no mobile site, Google will index that AMP version as it will consider it a regular mobile page.

Here's a brief summary of what to expect from MFI with mobile, AMP, and desktop sites:

  • Sites created with both AMP and mobile versions will have only their mobile site crawled for indexing.
  • The AMP version will only be used in Web Vitals scoring, which means testing the usability, speed, and quality of the site.
  • The desktop site will not be indexed but shown as an alternative URL for access by those browsing on desktop devices.

About the New Update

Upcoming changes in the search algorithm seek to transform how Google will index and rank websites. Google will give higher priority in their ranking and indexing to mobile-first websites as compared to legacy desktop sites. It is also worth noting that the new mobile-first index will not be a separate search index, as Google uses only one index to find and display the most relevant search results.

Since July last year, mobile-first indexing was turned on by default for each new website on the internet. If you have an older website, you can check the Search Console to find the specific period your site was transitioned to MFI. Nevertheless, to ensure Google recognises your site as "mobile-first," it's critical to undertake the right website maintenance steps today. This search engine optimisation measure will help you avoid compromising on traffic or conversions.

How Can You Prepare for Mobile-First Indexing?

A tech-savvy firm thereby has several things to consider as it aims to provide for full search engine optimisation for its website to make it friendly to mobile users. Below are some of the questions to ask to determine if you are ready for mobile-first indexing:

Can Googlebot Easily Access your Content?

With the increased focus on mobile content, you want to ensure that Google's crawlers can easily access your content. For instance, avoid lazy-loading primary content since the Googlebot does not trigger user interactions like swiping, clicking, or typing. Also, ensure your desktop and mobile sites are using similar meta robots tag.

The goal of search engine optimisation is to ensure Google can effortlessly crawl and display your resources without any issues.

Do You Have Different Content on your Mobile and Desktop Sites?

Many people make a common mistake when setting up their mobile sites by limiting the amount of content they share compared to their desktop versions. Yet, having less content would mean that Google would not get enough information about your firm or website once mobile-first indexing is enabled.

It is thereby critical to use the same comprehensive desktop content, including headings on your mobile site. Other notable elements that should remain the same on both desktop and mobile versions of your site include structured data, including the correct URLs and the same meta descriptions.

Are You Using the Best Practices for Mobile Images and Videos?

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Ensure you are providing high-quality SVG or well optimised bitmap images whenever possible on your mobile website. Users should get the same experience browsing through your mobile pages and looking at the captions, text, filenames, and descriptive titles of images. Also, make certain your URLs aren't changing each time the mobile pages load for either pictures or videos.

For videos, you must use the Google-supported file types and place them in the proper HTML tags. Besides that, you should make sure the videos are placed in easily accessible positions for a better browsing experience on mobile devices and to avoid compromising the videos' ranking. The mobile videos should also include the same structured data in use on the desktop site.

Are your Content and Ads Optimised for Mobile Viewing?

Besides optimising your design for a better mobile experience, you should also optimise your content and ad strategy. If you use content heavy web pages, it could affect your performance as it means that visitors have to scroll through all of it on small screens. Also, having too many adverts on a mobile page can compromise the user experience.

By considering your visitors' experience when creating your rich, SEO-optimised content, this tactic will help satisfy both your visitors and Google's search algorithm. Ensure you are optimising sentence lengths and paragraphs for smartphone users.

Final Remarks

Times have drastically changed, and today's users are more likely to access your website through their mobile devices than a desktop browser. If your online presence is yet to provide for search engine optimisation for mobile use-cases, don't panic—you still have enough time to get a responsive website and stay compliant with Google's mobile-first indexing algorithm.

Blue Beetle Can Make Your Website Ready for Mobile-First Indexing

It is helpful to contact an experienced digital marketing agency here in Dubai to check whether your website is ready for Google's incoming mobile-first indexing. At Blue Beetle, we are always keen to support businesses succeed in the competitive online world. We can help ensure your website is fully compliant to improve your search engine ranking.

Talk to us today for more information on mobile-first indexing to see how we can assist you in meeting your digital marketing goals.

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