Last year Google announced it could be potentially splitting up it’s search engine index for mobile and desktops respectively.
This was later revised, and Google decided that indexes would remain the same however they would be based on the mobile versions of a site. In theory, this is Google supporting and adopting a more ‘mobile first’ approach to its index.
We expect that this may have an effect on SEO and businesses may have to change their approach with regards to their SEO campaigns.
So, two questions… how well is your website optimised for mobile? How do you focus your SEO efforts with a mobile first approach?
Let’s start with User Experience or UX for short
Do you understand search? Or more importantly do you understand how users are searching for you? Yes you!!! Your business, services, products etc
Understanding how users engage with your brand online and how they find you is a good starting point and an important one at that.
How many of your users are using mobile? We would expect a large proportion of your traffic to be mobile based, and if this is the case make sure your keyword strategy aligns with this. We know that most mobile search usually uses shorter keyword search terms so you need to adjust your content accordingly.
Businesses have to make sure that the digital experience they are delivering to mobile is first class. This doesn’t just mean it has to look nice, content and technical function need to be considered and working in sync.
To ensure your website is mobile friendly Google like you to build a responsive website. This ensures your website responds to the user’s device, screen size and device orientation. Menu’s and call to actions must be clearly identified and easy to interact with.
Ease of use is the key here, users need to be able to browse, interact and engage when required. For example you can consider auto populating forms where possible, or even have cross device conversion, this allows the user to finish converting on another device to which they started on.
How mobile friendly is your website do you know? Google provides a free mobile assessment that will identify any issues with your website. The tool is really helpful and can provide good insight into how your website is viewed on a mobile device. If you do not have a mobile responsive site, then this tool will highlight any usability issues that should be improved.
Mobile Page Speed
In the fast paced dynamic lifestyles that we live, users simply wont wait!
We have noted before that Google estimates a one second delay in page load time cost them an estimated 2 million searches a year.
Page speed on mobile devices need to be checked and monitored. It is likely that users will be using slower less reliable connections so it is extremely important to know how fast your page loads, and if there is anything slowing it down.
One way in which you can ensure you page loading speeds are consistent is to ensure that the website is hosted by a reliable and fast hosting provider.
Many websites user very large images and this can impact the load time drastically. Image optimisation when done correctly will ensure the image quality is retained and the file size small.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
In 2016 it was noted that 40% of mobile users would abandon a site if the page took 3 seconds or longer to load. Clearly, mobile web experiences need to improve and then came along ‘AMP’ accelerated mobile pages.
AMP pages have signalled load times which are four times faster than existing solutions and use significantly less mobile data. The way it works is that the content is cached in Google and any un-required elements are either loaded last or not at all.
It isn’t totally clear yet, but it would seem that AMP could become a ranking factor especially for Ecommerce websites, so this is one definitely to keep an eye on.
To conclude, mobile first is an approach everyone should be aware of. It should be noted though that this is simply another avenue that should be considered and optimised and other areas like desktop search SHOULDN’T be disregarded.
Google’s best practice is unchanged in it’s stance in that you should answer the users query as easily as possible with clear and concise content in the least possible time.
If you need help with a Mobile First approach then do not hesitate to get in touch, we’d love to chat – email@example.com