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Mobile First Websites

Tuesday February 19, 2019

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Reading Time: 8 minutes
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Google Now Crawls Mobile BEFORE the Desktop Version

What You Need to Know About Mobile-First Indexing

You might remember that in our last blog, we discussed the importance of ‘thinking mobile’ while establishing your 2019 SEO and marketing plans. Since Google’s 2018 rollout of mobile-first search engine indexing, Webconsuls clients have had many questions about how this new process impacts their rankings—and how they can best adapt their search strategy to the mobile-first indexing system.

One of the most important things to remember is that mobile-first indexing is about gathering – not ranking – content. Google will now crawl your company’s mobile site to establish search-engine rankings before it crawls your desktop site. This means that if you have a desktop-only website, your search engine rankings will suffer. It also means that to remain competitive online, you must give proper attention to your mobile/responsive site. (That’s where our digital achievers come in!)

The What & Why of Mobile-First Indexing

Since 2015, mobile search has surpassed desktop searches—and mobile usage continues to accelerate. In a March 2018 Google blog, the search-engine giant explained the reasoning behind its recent shift to mobile-first indexing:

“To recap, our crawling, indexing and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they are looking for.”

In lay terms, Google’s mobile-first indexing means that:

  1. Desktop-only sites will not perform as well on Google rankings as responsive or hybrid sites, since they lose mobile users (which are growing exponentially).
  2. Desktop pages will still be crawled, but not at the same frequency as mobile pages crawled by Google’s smartphone agent.
  3. When it caches pages, Google now saves the mobile version of your site instead of the desktop version.
  4. Responsive and mobile-friendly sites help content to load faster, which improves Google rankings (since slow-loading content is penalized).
  5. Content is still critical when it comes to your mobile site. Don’t deprive mobile users of content or strip your mobile site down to basics. Just remember to format content for usability on smaller screens.

Next Steps: How to Meet Google’s Mobile-First Indexing Standards

  1. Remember that mobile users are now the rule, rather than the exception. Stop thinking of your desktop site as the main event. Your mobile site is now primary, so it should never be an afterthought.
  2. Keep in mind mobile users behave differently than desktop users. For example, mobile users tend to consumer more visual media like images and video. Ask your digital marketing consultant how you can harness the power of visual media (and other elements) to better serve your mobile audience.
  3. Click here to use Google’s “Mobile-Friendly Test” for your website. If the results say that your mobile presence needs work, Webconsuls digital achievers can help you update your site and integrate mobile-friendly tactics into your overall marketing plan.
  4. Work with an SEO and web development professional to ensure that your mobile site delivers an optimal user experience. Do pages load quickly? Are images and dynamic features are optimized for fast loading? Is your site easy to navigate on a small device?
  5. Ask web developers about using the open-source AMP framework, which helps websites render faster on tablets, phones and phablet devices. To learn more about AMP, call Webconsuls at 949.701.4714 or visit the AMP Project online.
  6. Make the most of your Google Search Console. If you have not yet set this up, ask a Webconsuls team member about using Search Console tools to measure your mobile site performance, fix search issues and enhance your rankings.

Think Mobile With Webconsuls

If you have been dragging your feet on developing a responsive or mobile-friendly web design, there’s no time to waste. As Google moves forward with its mobile-first indexing approach and mobile users continue to insist on an enhanced UX, there’s no room for websites that translate poorly to mobile use.

When you partner with our elite team of Nashville digital marketing experts, we offer integrated digital solutions that move your brand—and your search rankings—forward. Putting our mobile development experience to work for you, we tailor services to meet your budget and marketing objectives while teaching you the “why” behind it all. Get started now by calling a Webconsuls’ managing partner at 949.701.4714. For your convenience, you can also submit your confidential inquiry online, 24/7. Our digital achievers will be in touch promptly to answer your questions!

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