Guide to Optimising Your Site for Google’s Mobile-First Index
Google has recently informed us that they are officially testing a mobile-first index. In other words, since more people are performing online searches from their Smartphones and other mobile devices, Google has started to officially prioritize sites with mobile versions.
As an SEO agency, we have been suggesting for a while that our clients hop aboard the mobile-friendly train. This article runs through some of the tips that we give our clients to help them optimize their sites for Google’s new search index.
However, this is now no longer necessary as Smartphones and other mobile devices are even more powerful than some desktop computers and can handle these tasks with ease.
Google experts have emphasized that two seconds is the absolute maximum load time for e-commerce sites, but that you should aim for under half-second. And why is this so beneficial? Simply because Google as well as mobile users have come to expect websites to load fast – so if you want your site to stand a chance in this competitive and lucrative market, you better make sure you get that load time down…Nobody wants to waste time on their mobile phone waiting for a page to load properly!
If you don’t know where to start when optimizing your page speed, these are some good starting points:
Optimize images: Since large images can slow down a site, make sure they are the correct size.
Leverage browser caching: Browser caching stores web page resource files on a local computer when a user visits a web page.
Minify code: Remove all unnecessary characters from source code without changing its functionality.
Reduce redirects: Too many redirects can lead to the site having to reload which slows down the user experience.
SEO is no longer just about managing technical issues and knowing how to code – It’s not even just about understanding ranking signals. SEO has become increasingly about design and knowing how to design a mobile site correctly is key to influence rankings.
Responsive design is of course the best way to build a healthy site. You can improve the performance of your site in search engines if you put these tips into practice:
Wave Goodbye to Pop-Ups: Even though lead-generation is important, relying on pop-ups in excess will only frustrate your users and they’ll leave your site. Thus, your site will have a higher bounce rate and a decreased performance in rankings.
Never Use Flash: Since many mobile users can’t view Flash elements on their phones, it is advisable that you remove them. HTML5 or Java are very good if you are still wanting to incorporate more complex elements into your site.
Design for “the finger”: Mobile users use their finger to navigate your site. Thus, make sure its design is “finger friendly” and that they can tap and scroll without trouble.
When it comes to mobile SERPS you have less room to work with. Therefore, it is important to keep your titles and descriptions concise and to the point.
This will help GoogleBot understand your page faster and users will get a better understanding of what your site and each of its pages is all about. As a result, you’ll have a higher click-through rate and your rankings will improve.
Mobile search is crucial for businesses expecting to drive foot traffic into their stores. And Google research has proved that local searchers are ready to take action. They’ve shown that 50% or consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day. That said, it is obvious that local businesses have plenty to gain from the mobile-first index.
In order to increase your mobile visibility you should implement:
- City and State in the title tag
- City and State in the H1 heading
- City and State in the URL
- City and state in the content
- City and state in the alt tags
- City and state in the meta description
- Business name, phone, address
The sooner you implement these tips, the more prepared your site will be for Google’s mobile-first index.
POLARIS is a leading SEO and PPC agency based in London, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org