Google Mobile-First Indexing: How It Can Benefit Webmasters to Improve Ranking
By March 2021, Google is all set to launch its mobile-first indexing in response to an upsurge in mobile web surfing from desktop crawling. It’s a green signal for webmasters and digital marketers to check for their websites’ mobile-friendliness as Google will now be using mobile versions of web pages for ranking and indexing.
Previously, Google looked at desktop versions of the landing pages. However, in September 2020, Google formally announced the secret it’s been working on lately and that from March 2021 and onwards, desktop crawls will be eradicated for good.
What is Exactly Google Mobile-First Indexing?
Google measured that around 70% of internet surfers visit websites through mobile devices, leaving behind only 30% of desktop crawlers. This appeared to raise issues as mobile devices weren’t able to
access the complete content of websites. Furthermore, Google’s predefined algorithms and metrics were not evaluating what mobile users had been searching.
Therefore, Google decided to give priority to mobile-first indexing by altering its ranking and indexing measures to mobile-based web-surfing.
Besides, websites that were launched after July 2019 are automatically activated with mobile-first indexing. However, old websites – and even some newly built web platforms – need to make sure that their pages are fully mobile-supported.
This article highlights some of the key factors regarding Google’s shift to mobile-first indexing, and how it can benefit webmasters to improve the ranking and mobile-friendliness of their websites.
5 Things to Make Sure Your Website is Prepared for Google Mobile-First
1. Check if your website is mobile-friendly.
The very first task is to check the mobile-friendliness of your website because that’s what Google will be
checking. This ensures that users are able to access all of your website’s content when they are
redirected to your pages.
Thus, you can check if your site is optimized for mobile devices with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
Simply enter the URL of your landing pages and the Console will identify the existence of any potential threats and errors.
2. Make sure your website uses a responsive design.
Using a responsive design means your website can transform web pages to the size of every mobile
phone’s screen. This eliminates the need to write duplicate source codes to display the same content on different devices. This means your website will automatically adapt its content to different window sizes
Thus, a responsive web design is favorable when it comes to user experience and enhancing the SEO ranking of your website.
3. Try to keep the content identical.
Having a responsive design is desirable but if your website features different content and layout for mobile and desktop users, it can be troublesome for your ranking. Typically, desktop versions tend to
have lengthy content, which gets hidden behind accordions and tabs when checked via mobile devices.
Make sure your website has identical content for all devices because, as per the mobile-first indexing rules, such data will no longer be available for evaluation of ranking in the future. Google also suggests
keeping all your titles, meta tags, descriptions, data, videos, and images identical for best practices.
4. Keep your website’s load time optimized.
Since Google made changes to its ranking factor metrics in July 2018, website speed and load time have become crucial concerns. One of the reasons landing pages appear in Google’s top 10 search results is
because of their speed, meaning that they load faster than those who rank outside the list.
The importance of mobile page load time will rise even further once the process of mobile-first indexing is fully complete and websites will vie to best optimize their pages to rank higher. There are many tools
that can be used to check how your website performs when viewed from a mobile device. Let’s look at how the top three functions:
Google PageSpeed Insights gives a thorough analysis report by checking the content on every web page
of your website. Most of the time, some pages work perfectly on desktop versions but lack performance and speed when seen through mobile agents. With Google’s quality web performance tools, PageSpeed
Insights also generate helpful suggestions that can reduce the load time of your webpages.
Google Lighthouse is a powerful and automated website auditing tool that helps measure the quality of your webpages. It’s open-source software that is suited for in-depth performance checking such as
SEO, accessibility, performance, and load time improvement.
Google Search Console
Google Search Console is another powerful tool used by web architects to check website performance,
traffic, and fix errors and issues to rank higher in search results. This tool allows you to optimize your
content with Google’s Search Analytics and analyze your website’s position, load trends, clicks, and impressions on Google. Furthermore, it provides crawling sitemaps and lets your review the index coverage of your landing pages to better optimize your performance.
5. Follow better advertising standards for enhanced UX.
Ads are a necessity for websites to earn and promote their content. However, substandard advertisement tactics can potentially degrade your ranking and ultimately reduce the conversion rate.
For example, mobile screens are smaller than desktops, and placing ads on the very top of the page may ruin the mobile-friendliness of your pages, leading to lower ranking and a bad user experience.
Make sure you follow Better Ads Standard by Google that provides a detailed guide to ensure that your users aren’t annoyed and experiment with quality advertisements at the right place. Adhering to these
guidelines benefit both advertisers and publishers, which ultimately raises your website’s traffic and boosts your SEO ranking.