Before going deep into how mobile first index will change the SEO landscape, recall why this happened in first place. The entire business of Google floats around getting people on the websites that cater to their needs. Earlier Google indexing was based on desktop searches as it was accounted for most of the searches made around. Lately, with mobile revolution, that scenario got changed. People started searching, shopping and browsing on their smartphones and tablets. And with the increase in mobile searches, Google is capturing the growing user base.
How To Plan SEO With Mobile First Index In Mind?
SEOs have the firm belief that mobile-first index will be a game changer. It will sooner become a force to decide your website’s ranking, authority and content relevancy. Google has already made it clear in their webmaster blog.
“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.”
Google clearly states that when it comes to mobile first index, only three things come to the consideration:
- If your business website is responsive
- If you have separate mobile website for your business
- If you doesn’t have a mobile website at all
Let’s discuss how you can search optimize your website amid a Mobile First Index roll out.
The first thing that you need to do is to check if your website pages are compatible with the Google’s mobile-friendly guidelines. This you can check by running Google’s Mobile Friendly test tool. Start testing your pages one by one. You may choose your money pages first or those pages that you consider important. Ensure that your highest selling pages or product pages are tested and then optimized for mobiles.
If you don’t have a mobile website, a responsive site or AMP pages, get it done faster before Google entirely rolls out the Mobile First Index. In case you are planning a new website, go for a responsive design. In addition, follow the same content and design structure both in desktop and mobile versions.
If you forget to check whether site’s mobile pages are being indexed or not, you might be losing big time. It’s easy to ensure indexing status of your mobile pages. Enter “site: mywebsite.com” in search bar and hit enter button. If nothing comes up, may be Google bot is not able to access your mobile pages.
You can easily fix this mess. If you are using two separate websites, one for desktop and one for mobile, I would recommend you to create a mobile sitemap. It will help Googlebot identify your mobile pages. Having a separate mobile site could be a reason if Google is not indexing your pages. You can also tag your mobile pages with rel=canonical and rel=alternate tags.
When you finish it up, submit your mobile sitemap to Google search and add your mobile sitemap to your robots.txt
Your next step should be examining smartphone errors in Google Search Console. The errors popping up in search console will help you strategize your SEO strategize. To check that errors in detail Go to Google Search Console -> Crawl Errors -> Smartphone Errors.
Cleaning these smartphone errors will help you get your content indexed better.
In case you have separate mobile and desktop websites, you may want to cross-check the content published on both the sites. Most of the website owners tend to develop websites that are much lighter in content. This is because they want to keep the page speed faster. But as the new Mobile First Index is here, having different content on desktop and mobile can lead to major traffic and keyword loss.
If you have longer content pages on desktop than mobile or vice versa, a content audit is needed to find out which part of the content is important and which part can be removed without losing traffic. Your important pages are those that are getting traffic for certain keywords. Before starting migration or redesign, discuss a plan with editorial team to migrate content without losing its value. In order to garner the best results out of the mobile first index, you’ll need to decide what content you want to place on your mobile website.
Though, Google categorically mentioned time and again that they are fine with content in tabs, you should still double check to ensure that content is visible to all users both on mobile and desktop devices. Web designers tend to hide content in tabs to make the design cleaner. From SEO point of view, it’s important to watch for hidden content. Text, if available but not accessible to the users is against the Google guidelines. Call a meeting with developer and ask him to ensure that all the content in the accordion or tabs is shown.
If you haven’t yet developed your mobile site yet, create AMP pages for the meeting with developer and ask him to ensure that all the content in the accordion or tabs is shown. Google can index your AMP version of pages, even without a mobile friendly version.
Use AMP testing tool to check if you have implemented the AMP pages properly and correctly. The tool will offer you important suggestions on how to fix your AMP pages.
Post mobile-first index era, Google is still confident about link’s importance to desktop website pages SEO. As per Google, the links will still be vital to your SEO success. Experts are of the thought that soon Google will transfer the weight of your links directed to desktop over to the mobile first indexing.
Ask Brainpulse Link Building experts how to prepare, plan and maintain an ethical Link Building Strategy for better SEO advantage.
Google hasn’t yet released any guidelines on how to make links post Mobile First Index era. That means, webmasters can proceed with existing ethical link building practices in order to get distinct SEO advantage.
Tarun Gupta, CEO of Brainpulse Technologies, is a prolific author and digital marketing specialist. His insightful writings span SEO, content marketing, social media strategy, and email campaigns, offering invaluable expertise to businesses worldwide. Tarun’s contributions continue to shape the digital marketing landscape, guiding success in multiple niches.