How to Optimize Your Site for Google’s Mobile-First Index

By November 22, 2016 Marketing, SEO No Comments

As of November 4, Google officially posted details about their mobile-first index on their blog site.  They are now testing the mobile-first index where they will look at your website’s mobile version to see its ranking signals and then fall back on the desktop version of your website where there is no mobile version.  If you have not yet optimized your site for mobile use, now is the time.  Mobile continues to dominate search, and Google as well as other search engines are placing more and more emphasis here.  If you haven’t gone mobile, here are a few steps you can take for Google’s mobile-first index:

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Mobile continues to dominate search, and Google as well as other search engines are placing more and more emphasis here.  If you haven’t gone mobile, here are a few steps you can take for Google’s mobile-first index:

  1. When people search something on their phones, they want it to load fast.  What is fast?  According to Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead for Google, “two seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability.  At Google, we aim for under a half-second.”  If your site doesn’t load quickly on mobile devices, your ranking will not be very high.  A few ways to optimize your website’s speed: optimize language to the correct size, remove unnecessary characters from source code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects which ultimately slows down the user experience.
  2. Do Not Block JavaScript, CSS, or Images. In the past, this was a common thing to do as they caused more issues and make the websites move incredibly slowly.  This is no longer the case, however, and smartphones are far more powerful than computers in many cases. GoogleBot on smartphones wants to be able to see and categorize the same content that users do, so making sure you aren’t hiding them is key.
  3. Mobile Design. Your mobile design needs to be responsive. This can be an art form in itself, but it is important not to overlook.  Design can be used to influence rankings by: never using flash, getting rid of pop-ups, finger-friendly use.
  4. On-Page Optimization. Keep your titles and descriptions brief and to the point, as mobile SERPs do not give you much room to work with. Having concise titles will enable GoogleBot to understand your page better, which will then increase your overall rankings.
  5. Local Optimization. Last but not least, mobile search is essential for companies looking to bring in local traffic to their stores.   Your mobile visibility needs to be high in local areas, so make sure you include lots of information of your city and state in your title tag, URL, content, alt tags, and meta description.