The mobile revolution has been rising over recent years as more users rely on their mobile device for internet searches. We mentioned earlier about how Google will be introducing a new mobile-first index option. The time has come as they have started to test this new indexing which means that having a mobile friendly website will be even more important than ever.If you already have a mobile friendly or responsive website then you are already a step ahead of everyone else.
To make sure that your website remains on the first page of search results, within this new indexing, you should start optimizing and thinking like a mobile user. What are a mobile user’s wants and needs when it comes to websites and their mobile devices. Below are five steps into optimizing for this new mobile-first index by Google.
In this day and age where information is accessible in an instant, users and Google expect websites to load fast so they can get the results they want. Not only will this help with mobile indexing, website speed is also a ranking factor for desktop as well. To increase website load speed, here are a few tricks you can do to help.
- Image Optimization – Large images can slow down a website when it is initially loading. Reducing the size will help immensely when it comes to loading your website.
- Minify – This is a process where you can eliminate all unnecessary characters from source codes without hindering the functionality of that code. If your website is run off of WordPress there are many plugins that will minify your entire website and improve the site speed.
- Caching – Caching is when a browser stores web pages on a local computer when a user visits your website. That way if someone goes to your website, it will load faster as the browser already has a copy of the website in its files.
- Redirects – Redirects are great to make sure that users are going to the content you want them to see. However, if you have too many they will slow down your website speed. This happens especially when a user is using a mobile device.
Back when designing mobile devices first started, it was in good practice to block certain aspects of the desktop version of your website for mobile. With the evolution of mobile devices and the power of smartphones, you no longer need to do this. With a smartphones processing power, sometimes more powerful than a computer’s, they can handle all the extra elements that make your website unique.
Along with technology, SEO has also evolved over the years. Not only do you need to know how to code and have a knowledge of ranking factors for Google, you need to know how to design that also helps with ranking. Responsive designs with websites are the best option as it will be one website for both desktop and mobile users. In addition, you do not have to leave any content out as you would with a mobile-only website. Regardless, you should know some tips on how to design your website so it will flourish with mobile rankings. Here are some tips on how to optimize your mobile design for the coming mobile-first index.
- No Flash – Apple got rid of flash for mobile devices and Google has started to block flash in Chrome. To add unique elements to your website, use Java or HTML 5 with your website instead.
- No Pop-Ups – Generating leads is important for any business, but having to many pop-ups on your website will deter users away from your website. This is especially true on mobile devices as users just want to get to the content of your websites and not have anything prevent them from viewing said content.
- Design For Fingers – As mobile devices movement is based on moving your fingers you should design your website with that in mind. Tapping on accident can get frustrating so make sure a users can scroll and tap on the content they want. Making sure CTA buttons are spaced properly so users are not activating the wrong button.
On Page Optimization
Page titles and meta descriptions are one of the first things you learn when it comes to SEO. It is great to optimize them as it will help with that website’s ranking. For mobile, since space is limited, it is important to make sure your titles and descriptions reflect that knowledge. Make sure they are short and concise to make sure your website will rank well with this mobile-first indexing.
Local search is one of the most important aspects of search optimizing when it comes to mobile devices. This has become more evident with Google’s latest algorithm update; Possum. Users perform searches for services or goods that are near their location (example: clothing store near me). To help with your website ranking and appearing in search results pages for certain areas, start adding cities and states in your website. Make sure to add them naturally, since Google could penalize you if you started to keyword stuff. Below are tasks you can implement to increase your mobile visibility locally:
- City and state in title tag.
- City and state in the URL.
- City and state in content.
- city and state in alt tags for images.
- city and state in meta description.
It is good to get a jump on these tips so you are already prepared for when the mobile-first indexing becomes official.