We've been hearing about the transition to mobile-first indexing for quite some time. Google gave us the heads up over a year ago that it will soon begin crawling the web from a mobile browser point of view, meaning that the content on mobile-friendly websites will be taken into consideration first when putting together search results. However, as Google begins to roll out the mobile-first indexing process, many business owners as asking themselves if having a responsive website design that appeals to mobile users is enough.
How Will Mobile-First Indexing Impact SEO?
Google has historically indexed content using the desktop version of a website. As a result, SEO experts made sure that the desktop version of their websites were optimized with full content, structured data markup, tags, backlinks, and more. If a website had a separate mobile version, the content was lighter and it was not given as much attention as the desktop version.
However, considering that consumers now prefer to use their mobile devices over their desktop computers to browse the internet, Google is making the transition to mobile-first indexing in an effort to deliver the best experience to users.
If you're not already making the mobile user experience a priority, you're going to see your website drop in search rankings as Google makes the transition to mobile-first indexing. Failing to acknowledge this change will cause the number of visits to your website and your online visibility to decline.
SEO Survival Checklist for Mobile-First Indexing
Even if your website is responsive and mobile-friendly, you still may notice a decline in your website's ranking and performance as we make the transition to mobile-first indexing. Use this mobile SEO survival checklist to ensure that the change to mobile-first indexing goes smoothly:
If you have a separate mobile website, you need to make sure that the content on this version of your website contains all of the high-quality, value-added content that your desktop version includes. Search engines need to be able to easily crawl the text, images, and videos that you include on your mobile website, so be sure to choose the appropriate formats.
Structure data refers to a standardized format that provides search engines with information about the context of a webpage. For example, a recipe page would include details such as the ingredients, cooking time, calories, and more. As a rule of thumb, you should use the same structured data markup on both the desktop and mobile versions of your website.
Optimize your titles for shorter character counts and be sure to include relevant keywords to provide an accurate description of what your content entails.
Social Meta Data:
Twitter Cards, OpenGraph tags, and other social meta data must be included on both the desktop and mobile versions of your website.
XML and Media Site Maps:
Are you using XML and media site maps to help Google to easily find the pages on your website? Sitemaps will help to give your SEO strategy a boost. Be sure to make links to sitemaps accessible from desktop and mobile versions of your website.
Is your host server able to handle the crawl rate for the mobile version of your website?
While the process has already begun, Google's transition to mobile-first indexing will take some time. The search engine giant stated that it will take years before it uses an index that is only mobile-first. The reason for the slow rollout is that Google wants to be sure that website are ready for mobile users before ranking content in this way.
Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly?
Does your website meet Google's criteria for being mobile-friendly? If you're not sure, you can take Google's mobile-friendly website test to ensure that you're in compliance.
Another best practice is to test out the mobile user experience using your own mobile device. Take note of your website speed and the ease of navigation through the content on your website. Does the screen allow for optimal viewing from a mobile device?
With the transition to mobile-first indexing, having a mobile-friendly website is non negotiable. To ensure that you're not left behind once the rollout is complete, it's in your best interest now to have an audit of your website completed to confirm that it's compliant with Google's mobile-friendly standards.
Our experienced team at New York Ave can help you bring your website up to speed with Google's mobile-friendly standards with our locally crafted web development and design. We are passionate about providing your business with an intuitive, mobile-friendly website design that is designed to convert more of your visitors.
Contact us to learn how can help your business to climb to the top of search results in the mobile-first indexing era with a responsive, search-friendly website design that is backed with a robust content management system.