Gary Illyes at Pubcon announced today that Google is switching to a mobile first index. This means that Google will be indexing the mobile versions of pages and not the desktop as its primary index.
This is a huge change. Google has always used the desktop version of a page for ranking, even when serving results to users on a mobile device.
The mobile first index is not live yet, but it will be soon. So what can you or your business do to be prepared?
For starters, you’ll need to make absolutely sure your website is mobile-friendly and responsive. Here are some tips to get you started, so your web site’s mobile experience is optimized and ready to go by the time the transition occurs.
- Use Google’s mobile-friendly test, which was created to analyze websites and offer suggestions for mobile optimization. As part of this test, you can check your site’s page loading speed – which is absolutely critical in a mobile-first environment. While the mobile-friendly test gives users a ballpark idea of what to aim for, don’t simply rely on its results. Instead…
- Review your site on your own smartphone, and a friend’s smartphone, and your neighbor’s smartphone… Your site could potentially display differently from device to device and browser to browser (e.g., Chrome vs. IE, vs. Safari vs. Firefox). Start making a checklist: How do your main pages appear? Is your company or organization’s contact information readily available with clickable calls-to-action? Your website should be responsive, with buttons that are easily pressed, menus that are easily accessible, and text that is legible without resorting to a pinch and zoom approach.
- Start planning now for optimized content. Writing for mobile-first shouldn’t change your style, wholesale. Keep in mind, though, that when writing for a smaller screen, brevity is a virtue. Consider shorter headlines that trim the fat and focus on the core subject. Content headings, font size, and color may need to be toned down, somewhat. In terms of main content, getting to the point swiftly and succinctly will be essential, as it allows scanners to decide if they want to scroll any further. (Better yet, hook them and reel them in so they have no choice but to do so.)
From website updates to redesigns, taking a mobile-first approach is more important than it has ever been. If you haven’t yet taken the leap, now is the time to get started.
If your website does not initially ace Google’s mobile-friendly test, contact us today. We can help you identify what needs to be done so you can pass with flying colors.