It’s one of the biggest things that strikes fear into the heart of marketers – Google has made another change and you’re unsure whether it will affect your website rankings. The latest update is a “mobile first” indexing strategy from Google. What does this mean for your website? Should you be afraid? And what can you do about it?
Are you paying attention to Mobile First?
One of the biggest dangers we see is that businesses are not even aware of this important change in mobile first ranking. They think just because they have a mobile responsive theme in WordPress, that’s enough. Or even worse, they don’t have a mobile version of their site at all. Not to even mention the new Accelerated Mobile Pages project that Google is pushing. If these terms don’t mean much to you, then the first thing you need to do is be educated on how these changes will affect you. And help spread the word to your marketing community (hint: we can bring a speaker to your next local gathering to talk about digital marketing in plain English).
What does mobile first mean?
Through the years, we’ve seen the percentage of website mobile visitors (visitors from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets) increase – and in 2015 it finally crossed the 50% mark. Now (on average) over half of all visitors to websites aren’t even using a computer, they are using their phones. Most websites have already started adapting, however mostly by installing an inexpensive mobile responsive theme – without giving true thought to the mobile experience of the user. Now Google is saying – if you don’t have a good mobile website, that’s fast loading and easy to navigate – you’ll be dinged in the search results. The first way that Google will interpret your site will be the mobile version, not the desktop version.
Bottom line – user experience on mobile
Yes, Google will be reading the content you have on the mobile version of your site and use that for mobile first indexing. But I think even more important parts of your mobile strategy are to evaluate if your site is slow on mobile, hard to navigate, and just a quick “responsive” version without any thought for the layout of the page.
Companies may not always have the budget for full-fledged user testing, but most experienced digital marketing consultants can guide you through a process of testing a new mobile layout. Be sure and run it by average users who don’t know your product or service, and record the results. You’ll be surprised at what you find. And theses insights you gain from making a first-rate mobile experience are the same aspects that Google is looking at for mobile first indexing.
What to do next – Your mobile first insurance policy
Your website should never be static – and with the new mobile-first initiatives from Google now is the time to revisit your page layout and design. Look at how your website looks on a mobile device, and have a critical eye. Now is not the time to rest on your SEO and digital marketing strategy – but to keep it a priority so you don’t lose out on important web traffic. Educate your marketing and programming teams on all the aspects of Search Engine Optimization. And don’t forget you don’t have to miss work to take a class – we can bring our team to you and get an even more personalized look at what you should be doing next to succeed in the new mobile first world.