March 27, 2018 | By:

Is Your Website Ready for Google’s Mobile-First Index?

In 2016, Google announced that they were experimenting with mobile-first indexing as part of their continuing efforts to improve user experience and make their search results more useful. This meant that Google will primarily use the mobile version of your site to index and rank it on their SERPs, for searches made on both mobile and desktop.

While Google has yet to officially announce the timeline for the rollout of their mobile-first index, we have reason to believe that 2018 is the year that they would. In fact, Gary Illyes, a Google webmaster trends analyst, mentioned during the SMX Advanced Conference last June 2017 that the mobile-first index will likely be deployed in 2018.

For businesses, it’s ideal to start implementing measures to ensure that your website is ready for Google’s impending mobile-first index ASAP.

What you need to know about Google’s mobile-first index

What more do you need to know about Google’s mobile-first index? In a nutshell, here’s what to expect once it officially rolls out:

  • Mobile-first doesn’t mean that desktop content will no longer be ranked by Google.
  • Google’s search engine bots will look into content from mobile-friendly sites first, then desktop content second—to rank pages from that website and to understand structured data.
  • If a website isn’t mobile-responsive or doesn’t have a dedicated mobile version (m.example.com), the desktop version (example.com) will still be indexed and ranked.

It’s important to note, however, that a website—whether desktop or mobile—that offers better mobile experience and usability will be ranked significantly higher than those that don’t. Thus, it’s essential to prioritize mobile-responsiveness despite the assurances that desktop sites will still rank on SERPs.

How to check if your website is mobile-friendly

Is your website mobile-friendly? If you’re not entirely sure, Google has provided a number of free tools that you can use to check the mobile-responsiveness of your website:

  • To check individual pages in your site, use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.
  • To check the status of your entire website, use the Mobile Usability Report in Webmaster Tools.
  • To check the mobile and desktop speeds of your website, which is also a huge factor in mobile usability, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights.

How to prepare your website for Google’s mobile-first index

1. Use a Google-preferred CMS

While there are many decent content management systems (CMS) available, and you might already have built a website, it’s worth considering switching to a Google-preferred CMS—that is, a CMS that adhere to Google’s best practices for designing and creating websites.

Investing in a Google-preferred CMS also makes it easier for you to maintain your website in the long run, especially when there are more Google algorithm updates. These website builders also offer built-in features to create a mobile-optimized website (one that is seamlessly responsive to any mobile device) and to boost your site’s performance in terms of page load speed and SEO.

Examples of Google-preferred CMS include Google Sites, Blogger, WordPress, Wix, and Weebly.

2. Use a responsive web design

If you haven’t already, it may be high time to consider a redesign to make your website responsive—that is, a website that automatically detects what type of device you’re using and the layout seamlessly responds to whatever screen size or resolution the website is viewed on. The basics of responsive web design include the following elements:

  • Fluid elements in a grid-style design
  • Proportionate and flexible widths and lengths, instead of fixed and device-specific measurements
  • CSS media queries to define breakpoints
  • Optimized images that are automatically scaled in response to detected screen sizes
  • Collapsable mobile menus

For more information about Google’s guidelines on responsive design, check out their developer’s guide here. Additionally, be sure to consider your SEO before doing a website redesign to make sure that your rankings and performance are not compromised.

3. Make sure that your website content and markup are equivalent both on desktop and mobile

White it’s ideal to have just one version of your website that is responsive or dynamic serving for easier maintenance, there is still a small number of websites who use a dedicated mobile site, including social media giants like Facebook (m.facebook.com) and YouTube (m.youtube.com). An m.site is a lightweight version of a website that is specifically designed for mobile use. Dedicated mobile sites offer the main advantage of faster page load speeds compared to a responsive website where loading speed is sometimes compromised because all the page resources must be downloaded every time a user visits the site.

If you have a separate mobile website, it’s important to make sure that the primary content and markup are equivalent across both versions of your site. At a minimum, check the following data in your mobile site:

  • Content – Content found in your desktop site—text, images, and videos—should also be present in your mobile site. Make sure that the formats are crawlable and indexable, and be sure to include alt-attributes for images.
  • Metadata – Titles and meta descriptions should be equivalent on both versions of your site. If needed, you may optimize titles and descriptions for mobile to make it shorter and easier to read, but make sure that the same general information and relevant keywords are included.
  • Structured data – The same structured data markup should be consistent in both desktop and mobile sites.
  • Search console verification – Make sure to add and verify the mobile version of your website in Google Search Console, in addition to the desktop version.

With the increasing rate of mobile usage nowadays, Google is expected to implement more changes on their search engine algorithms to improve mobile experience—and the mobile-first index is just the beginning.

If you want to know more about mobile-responsive design and SEO, give us a call at 888-420-5115, or send us an email at creative@ilfusion.com.

Tags: , , ,

Categorized in: ,

Featured Articles

February 1, 2018 | By: Ilfusion Team

How To Start an SEO Campaign in 6 Steps

Starting a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaign can be tricky for any digital marketer. How do you begin? What is the most important element to implement? How do you know if it’s working? Don’t be overwhelmed, though. Starting an SEO... view more

September 26, 2017 | By: Tinny

5 Signs You Need to Hire a Marketing Agency

Marketing is a crucial part of your business strategy. It’s what keeps the gears turning and the driving force of your company’s sales. For small businesses, marketing is important in getting the word out there that your company exists and... view more

September 21, 2017 | By: Tinny

Key Advantages of Video Marketing for Your Growing Business

There has been a rise in the use of mobile devices to access the internet, and there are no signs of it slowing down anytime soon. In this era where most people thrive on living on the go, video marketing... view more

September 13, 2017 | By: Tinny

5 Things You Need to Know: Image Optimization for SEO

If you’re a company whose content strategy relies on images, or if your business blog is image-heavy, it’s high time for you to think about optimizing your images for SEO — if you haven’t done so already. While there isn’t... view more

August 2, 2017 | By: Tinny

Tips on How to Choose the Best Keywords for Your Website

Not sure on what keywords to use? Read more on how to search for the best keywords for your webpage. When you have an SEO or PPC campaign, it all starts with one basic element: keyword research. Keywords are the... view more

July 26, 2017 | By: Tinny

Top 3 Search Ranking Factors You Should Know About

Read more on what it takes to improve your search engine ranking. Landing on the first page of Google’s search engine results is one of the ultimate marketing goals of many website owners. While Google is keeping mum on what... view more

June 28, 2017 | By: Tinny

The Importance of Social Media in SEO

Here’s why you need social media for your SEO. Nowadays, social media has inarguably become an indispensable tool in any marketing strategy. SEO, of course, is also one of those tools that have evolved with the many trends and changes... view more

April 27, 2017 | By: Tinny

5 Ways to Dominate Google’s Search Results in 2017

Here’s how to place your website at the top of search engine results. Creating a website that doesn’t rank well in Google’s search engine results page (SERP) doesn’t translate well to your overall business effort. In recent years, Google has... view more

July 2, 2015 | By: The Conductor

Let’s talk about “The Fold”

We hear it a lot; client feedback that is focused on what content is and is not “above the fold”. To be perfectly honest, this old newspaper term can be a cause of frustration when it comes to good user... view more

June 3, 2015 | By: The Doctor

The Turbit

This crazy ol’ world of ours is spinning faster and faster everyday. Not literally, as we would all be slung to our spacey-doom. I mean figuratively we are all moving more quickly and filling every moment with some bit of... view more

May 6, 2015 | By: Ilfusion Team

How Your Website Can Survive Mobilegeddon

Think your website is mobile friendly? Think again. Google’s new functionality changes have created a frantic need for websites to be optimized for mobile. Mobilegeddon is upon us, and your website could be at risk. See infographic below.

April 23, 2015 | By: El Jefe

Website Cost: A Day at the Ballpark

A question that I get on a regular basis (read: every day) is, “How much will my new website cost?”. To which I typically say something like, “Well, that varies based on the amount of work that’s required to complete... view more

April 7, 2015 | By: The Inventor

Are you a Webspammer?

SEO practices are very different today than how they were even just a few years ago. The number one key to ranking well in search engines today is to create unique quality content. First post it on your website or... view more

March 25, 2015 | By: Ilfusion Team

Social Media Happenings

Ilfusion loves to bring you news on the newest social media functions and trends. Recently, there have been three major happenings in the social media world. Meerkat, a new app that has risen to fame due to the 2015 music... view more

March 12, 2015 | By: The Conductor

The Big Picture

Whether you’re laser-focused on a specific project, or taking a comprehensive approach to your marketing efforts, one aspect doesn’t change: always look at the big picture. Companies often shop at least a few agencies when they’re considering engagement with an... view more