The game has been changed for websites after Google announced that it would become a mobile-first index within the coming months. Kelsey Jones, editor of Search Engine Journal stated that 75% of search in 2017 will be mobile and it is time for everyone to embrace it. Due to these growing changes, website owners have no choice but to adapt to these changes. In order to truly attain mobile-first success, websites must achieve high levels of fast load time, responsive web design, and optimized schema data.
So, how can you make sure your website is dominating SEO in the mobile-first index?
- Utilize Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. You will want to see if your web pages, one by one, past Google’s mobile-friendly test. Plug them each in, beginning with the key navigation pages. Although this might be initially time consuming, it will be highly worth it in the long run.
- Confirm That Your Mobile Pages are Being Indexed. To test this in order to confirm this is happening, go to Google on your smartphone and enter: “site:mywebsite.com”. After you do this, if nothing shows up, this is an indication that Googlebot may not be able to access your mobile pages. Create a mobile site map if needed.
- Use Google’s Search Console to Review Smartphone Errors. When you find which errors are occurring, you will be able to determine an effective strategy. Go to: Google Search Console > Crawl Errors > Smartphone Errors.
- Make Sure Your Mobile Content Reflects Your Desktop Content. Many people make the mistake of having lighter content on the mobile site versus the desktop site, however that can cause some traffic jams and keyword loss. With the mobile-first index you want to make sure that your mobile content truly reflects your desktop content.
- Remove Hidden Content. Make sure that your content listed in tabs and accordions is visible to users both on desktop and mobile. Do not hide content just to make it cleaner.
- Add Structured Data. It is common for web marketers to skip adding structured data on mobile sites, and limit it to the desktop version only. However, it is wise to add structured data to your mobile sites as well, using Google’s Structured Testing Tool to fix it.
- Keep Desktop Site Optimized for Other Search Engines. Keep in mind, despite all of the importance mentioned above, that Google is not the only search engine around. Make sure you maintain a desktop strategy that is optimized for other search engines in order to maintain your rankings.