Website stats down? Maybe you haven’t updated your website to conform to Google’s mobile-first indexing?
Google’s mobile-first indexing sent the internet into a coding frenzy, here is how to do mobile SEO to improve your stats.
While bigger companies and tech firms quickly adapted, some businesses and/or organizations are still struggling until now to update their respective websites. Who can blame them? Not everyone has an I.T. guy at the ready or knows how to improve the mobile SEO of their website. In the event that your company or you are one of them, then you need to read this guide to create tailored content for mobile to restore or even improve on your website’s ranking, well, STAT.
What in the world is Google’s mobile-first indexing?
First, let’s do a quick recap on what exactly Google’s mobile-first indexing is all about and find out why it’s essential to conform to this.
Before, Google’s search results relied heavily on keywords, backlinks, and more. But that all changed with the advent of smartphone usage in 2015, where it reached 4.15-billion in that same year according to Statista
Google was quick to notice this trend and began rolling out its mobile-first indexing update. With this, the tech giant began crawling and indexing the mobile version of a website – hence the name – before it’s checked its desktop version. Moreover, Google now looks for websites that can give the best experience for users searching for specific information. The better the overall experience in mobile phones, the higher the rank. This forever changed how marketers and web developers will make mobile SEO, too.
Now that we know the effect of Google’s mobile-first update, it’s time we learned how to create content perfect for any mobile platform.
Mobile-Responsive or Mobile-Friendly: Which Way Should You Go?
Preparing a mobile-first strategy involves choosing between having a mobile-responsive or -friendly website. We know. You could be asking what the difference between the two options is.
A mobile-responsive website has scripts that automatically scale its contents and elements to match the size of a device’s display or operating system. Based on that, it will move and hide certain elements to allow your website to display important information without being intrusive. One way to determine if a website is mobile-responsive is by resizing the browser. You’ll see the changes as you make it smaller.
A mobile-friendly website, on the other hand, will have the same look across all devices without having any usability issues. This means a mobile-friendly website will be able to display all of its content without having to rely on a mobile phone’s operating system, providing consistent user experience.
So which is better? At a glance, you would probably point to a mobile-responsive website because of its versatility across platforms. However, the inconsistent looks, the varying content displayed, and the amount of scripts could actually hit you hard in Google’s mobile-first indexing standards.
A mobile-friendly is a better option when thinking about Google’s new update. A well-made mobile-friendly website will make life easier for its users with better and readable text formatting, as well as optimized media. It’s also easier to navigate in it and shows more detailed content, increasing action potential. It also doesn’t have to hide any element just to make it un-intrusive.
What is mobile SEO and why is it so important?
While having a good mobile-friendly platform is great for Google’s update, it’s not entirely enough to help you restore or improve on your website’s search ranking.
You also need to create tailored content for your mobile-friendly website to gain more visitors and provide a better overall user experience. Take a look at these handy set of ideas for your mobile SEO strategy.
Follow Google’s Mobile Friendly requirements
You can’t improve your SEO in mobile platforms if you don’t follow Google’s requirements. You have to throw in the towel when it comes to the debate of mobile-first vs responsive layout - you can’t beat Google in their own game after all.
The first thing to do here is to actually check if your website is already mobile-friendly. You can do so by running your website’s URL in Googles tester. (Here is another great resource to check your websites mobile friendliness. Unlike Google's mobile checker, this mobile tool will check whether all of your (sub) pages are optimized for mobile devices, instead of just checking the homepage, or one page.
Another issue that could cause your website to fail the test would be unplayable content. In case you’re still using flash or other formats that aren’t supported on mobile devices, you might want to use HTML5 or host your videos in other websites such as YouTube instead.
There are many other factors that can make your website fail such as slow loading pages, small font sizes, and touch elements that are too close, among others. If your website is guilty of any of the items here, you might want to consider updating it as soon as possible.
Don’t forget the titles and Meta descriptions
It may look like a tedious task, but making sure all your media and pages have titles and meta descriptions will help it rank higher in the search results. It’s like keyword stuffing, but the legal kind. Just make sure that the titles and Meta description are related to the media or page. And yes, avoid stuffing too many words.
Taps over clicks
When creating a website with a mobile-first mindset, you need to consider that people will do more tapping than clicking. With that in mind, provide adequate space for “fat fingers.” Funny enough, Google even made a comprehensive guide to help you create buttons and links that can be easily tapped.
Keep your content short and concise
According to an article by Time, you have 15 seconds to generate interest to capture the attention span of an average reader. With this, you need to keep your content short and concise. Have a catchy introduction that can lead to questions from the reader, lessen the running sentences, and have a strong ending. Although you need to keep it short and concise, you still have to make sure that your written content reaches 300 words so that Google’s bots can crawl your page.
Use Push Notifications
Compared to its desktop counterpart, mobile-first marketing has a huge advantage on how it can show content or relevant information to its users. This advantage is called Push Notifications. This allows mobile apps or, in some cases, websites to show notifications on a mobile device even if the app isn’t in use. The benefits are huge for businesses as it increases customer engagement and share information instantly.
Prioritize visual rich content
There’s a saying that goes a picture is worth a thousand words. What more if you have two, three, or a dozen of images on your mobile-friendly website?
Kidding aside, a beautiful image can capture the attention and curiosity of your reader. Moreover, your SEO will surely improve if you make sure that there are title, alt, and Meta descriptions are present.
With Google’s mobile-first indexing not yet in place for every website yet, you definitely still have time to catch up and update your website to improve your SEO ranking. As long as you keep these tips in mind about the mobile-first indexing, you’ll be on your way up the search results in no time.
About the Author: Aby Nicole League
Aby League is a researcher. She has a Masters Degree in Biology. She is also working as a freelance writer and researcher. She is also an innovator and technology enthusiast.