20 January 2018
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How to Optimize Your Site for Google Mobile-First Index

Google Search Console Mobile-Friendly Test

Google has been leaving trails of their mobile-first index plans for about a year now, and on November 4th, 2016 they revealed details about the mobile-first index on their own blog. If you haven’t heard about this before, you may be wondering what is Google mobile-first index in the first place?

 

Google Mobile-First Index Defined

 

Well, Google Mobile-First Index is Google’s new way of indexing websites, wherein the GoogleBot will now give priority to the mobile version of a website for its ranking, rather than the desktop version, and will use the desktop version only if the mobile version is not available.

 

 

This change has occurred due to the rise in users using mobile devices to search on Google, and it’s a step to increase the relevance of the search results accordingly.

 

So Google has already begun the mobile revolution by starting their test phase of Google mobile-first indexing. Question is:

 

  • How do we get aboard this bandwagon?
  • How to get on Google search engine results?
  • How can Google Search Console help us in this scenario?

 

Here are some steps to implement on your website to optimize it for this new Google indexing:

 

Optimization Steps For Google Mobile-First Index

 

#1. Optimize Mobile Site Speed

 

Since the main aim of the Google mobile-first index is to serve mobile users, begin by focusing on improving the speed of your mobile site. Users prefer the sites they are visiting to be super-fast, and so does Google.

 

Maile Ohye, Developer Programs Tech Lead for Google once said that “two seconds is the threshold for e-commerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half-second.” Now that’s really fast? How do we get there?

 

Use tools such as the Mobile-Friendly Test and PageSpeed Insights to determine how well your mobile site is optimized for speed and where you can improve.

 

google-search-console-mobile-friendly-test

 


Google Mobile-First Index

 

  • Remove unnecessary characters from source code by Minification.
  • Website Redirects can slow down the speed of website, so aim to have minimum redirects.

 

#2. Avoid Blocking JS, CSS and Images

 

In the past, a normal practice was to block JS, CSS and Images for mobile sites so that it could load faster.

 

However, now with the testing of Google mobile-first index it is recommended that this should not be done, since mobile users are entitled to get the same experience of websites as they would on a desktop.

 

 

Additionally, mobile devices have become very powerful now and can process anything that you throw at them.

 

Use the Fetch and Render Tool in Google Search Console to get a preview of how Google Bots will view and index your website, as well as how it will be displayed to mobile users.

 

Make sure to select the “mobile: smartphone user-agent” option to get the correct result, and try fixing your website if any content is missing.

 

Fetch and Render Tool in Google Search Console

 

#3. Design For Mobile

 

The Google mobile-first index also takes user experience of a website into consideration for its ranking.

 

To enhance the user experience of your website on a mobile device, aim for a mobile responsive design.

 

 

Responsive design goes beyond coding, and the focus is more on how users feel when they are on your site, and how easily can they traverse through it.

 

  • Avoid Flash Completely: Many mobile devices do not support Flash anymore. You can replace that with HTML5 or Java to add some cool animations on your website.
  • No Pop-Ups: Pop-ups are generally irritating for users on desktops, and much more on mobile devices. They drive away users, thereby increasing the bounce rate of your site which will have a direct negative impact on your ranking.
  • Keep the “Finger” in Mind: Remember that users use their finger on mobile devices. So design your site to make it easy for users to traverse your mobile site, and keep reasons for accidental taps to zero.

 

#4. On-Page Optimization

 

The Google mobile-first index will also give priority to on-page optimization, just like it did for the desktop version indexing. If you have a separate mobile site, make sure to optimize its titles, descriptions, headers, structured data and other relevant tags.

 

#5. Local Optimization for Google Mobile-First Index

 

Recently, Google released a new update to their local search algorithms based on their research of local search behavior. They found that:

 

“50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.”

 

Since mobile searches for local businesses are so important, it is wise to optimize your mobile site accordingly to get the edge over your competitors in the Google mobile-first index race.

 

Include the city and state of your business in the title tag, meta description, h1 heading, URL, content, alt tags, and in the website’s NAP.

 

#6. Verify Mobile Site in Google Search Console

 

Usually, in Google Search Console website owners only verify desktop version of their site and leave out the mobile version.

 

 

However, with the Google mobile-first index testing it is important to add and verify the mobile site as well. This submission helps GoogleBots to index your mobile site sooner.

 

#7. Secure Your Site And Keep a Backup

 

Users will refrain from entering a site that has been tagged as hacked, or that doesn’t show any relevant pages.

 

Back up your site regularly to ensure you have a copy in case of a hack, and stay at the top of your game by securing your website using Google Search Console and Analytics.

 

Keep your website bounce rate to the minimum as this will be a positive factor to rank high in the Google mobile-first index.

 

Be Victorious Over Google Mobile-First Index

 

Please Note: If you do not have a separate mobile site for mobile devices, and have only one responsive site that serves both desktop and mobile devices then just optimize this version for the Google mobile first index.

 

This indexing is only on a test phase for now and we do not know what to expect when it actually becomes official.

 

 

Implement these steps for your website now to be ready for the day when it is officially released and to rank high in the Google mobile-first index.

 

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We hope you found this article useful and informative as always. Do leave your valuable comments below and don’t forget to share this article with your friends.

 

How to Optimize Your Site for Google Mobile-First Index

Gaurav Jain
Article by Gaurav Jain
Hey There! My name is Gaurav Jain, a full time affiliate marketer since 2007. The reason for starting eMoneyIndeed.Com blog is to help you Save & Make Money Online. I write about Blogging, Online Marketing, Webhosting, SEO, Affiliate Marketing, Startups, Social Media, Email Marketing and more. Hope you enjoy the posts on eMoneyIndeed.com

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One comment

  1. Really amazing article … very nice … Thanks for sharing this!! 🙂 🙂

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