It’s no big news that the world of search has become more inclined to the mobile revolution. Since many users are more active in using their mobile devices in navigating their everyday needs, it’s no surprise that search engines like Google are developing their algorithms to be more mobile-friendly. And as if the changes in their algorithm is not frequent enough, the paradigm shift is about to happen again.
This year, it is expected that the mobile revolution will have high impact in the search result rankings. So, as someone who deals with building hacks and techniques in search engine optimization, what else do you need to know about this new update and what could you do to make sure that your websites will not be left behind in the rankings?
Let’s first review how Google expresses their intent in improving the user experience and making search more useful with the help of the mobile-first index.
The Google Webmasters blog noted that, “To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”
Simply put Google is going to rank your site in search results pages based on the mobile version of your website, and this will affect both mobile and desktop search. So what does this mean? It means that if your website is optimized for mobile, then your rankings will have a boost both on mobile and on desktop. But, if you’re website is not optimized for mobile, then… you’ve got to start optimizing it now.
Google did not really release a roll-out date for the implementation of the mobile-first index, but it’s pretty obvious that there have been changes in the rankings recently. Now, if you are one of those companies that hasn’t embrace the world of mobile yet, then you should consider that there is an undying relationship between mobile and SEO. And in order to survive the battle in landing a spot on the first page in SERPs, you’ve got to deal with it.
Your website should have a responsive design
Since every user has different devices, it’s important to make the mobile version of your website compatible to all platforms and versions. Which means that, if the user will use his mobile phone then suddenly switch to a tablet, he should not see much of a difference in terms of the usability and functionality. Being adaptable to all devices is one of the most important things that you need to do to be able to rank well in the mobile-first index.
Turning your static website to a responsive one do not only offer an optimized browsing experience for the users but it also offer a more important value: it ranks well both on the mobile and desktop platforms. Some of the basic elements that you need to include in transforming you website are:
- Fluid site grid with proportionate instead of fixed measures
- Flexible texts and images
- Implementing design changes to ensure usability for non-desktop devices
- Using CSS media queries to define breakpoints for design changes
You also have to keep in mind that having a responsive design does not only mean that your site should fit all screens. You should also make sure that the usability and functionality of your website will not be affected. Testing it on different browsers and platforms is a must.
Focus on optimizing your content
Since more people are known to use their mobile devices in accessing the Internet for their needs, it’s essential to make sure that your content is also optimized for mobile devices. What does it mean? To ensure that your responsive website is mobile-friendly, you have to understand how the users behave when it comes to using their mobile devices. From the length of your content to the attention span of your audience, these behavioral activities are important in making your website more adaptable to mobile devices.
You can take advantage of mobile applications to encourage user engagement beyond your website. After posting your blog or creating an article for your website, you can post it on either Facebook or Twitter. You can also develop high quality contents that tell stories. People love to discover new stories. Regardless if the article is long for normal reading, they will keep on scrolling if they can see something that tingles their interest.
It’s also strategic to Utilize different types of images. From GIFs, infographics, high-quality images, and even memes, all of these are very helpful. It also adds on the positive impact if you will include videos and vlogs on your posts. This will make your users stay longer in your page. But make sure that the videos are compatible and will run better on mobile devices.
Most importantly, keep the content straight to the point. People nowadays are always on the go. When they search online, they will click the first result, then if they will not find what they are looking for on your page, they will just click back. So, make sure that the content of your site contains the answer that the customer is looking for. No twists and turns. It should be concise and accurate.
Improve your online presence by keeping it more mobile
It’s not like Google will completely ignore your website if you don’t have a mobile version. Based on its name, “mobile-first”, it will only give priority to the performance of your site’s mobile version in terms of ranking. Your desktop site can still be included in the index but won’t have the same importance. Thus, it’s important to make your sites more responsive and usable on mobile to conquer the SERPS.
Because whether we like it or not, the mobile world is more dominant than the search world. And to keep its relevance in this fast-pace tech universe, search engines should keep up and be submissive to the demands of the World Wide Web. After all, it takes two to tango.