SEO – search engine optimization – accomplishes one thing: it connects people with the right information.
Over the years, Google has become better and better at the connection process. With each refinement of their algorithms, they work to ensure that when people type a search term into the Google search box, the best results possible appear in the ranks. (Yes, there are more search engines than Google. But since they are the behemoth in the room, we stick with SEO concepts about pleasing Google. The rest fall into line.)
As marketers, we’ve worked hard to master the SEO concepts that will ensure the sites we work with consistently rank high in their customers’ most popular searches. There’s a lot to learn in this industry. And just when you think you’ve learned it all, something else moves front and center.
It doesn’t take much to see what the biggest change has been these last few months. The biggest change has come from the mobile revolution. When you’re out and about, can you find anyone that doesn’t have their smartphone glued to their hands?
Studies show that:
America has about 78.2 percent mobile broadband subscriber penetration rate.
As of February 2017, mobile devices accounted for 49.7 percent of web page views worldwide. We’d be willing to bet that today’s figures are quite a bit higher.
Mobile device usage has been growing at an incredible speed. Mobile devices accounted for 40 percent of global Internet use in 2012. In 2018, it’s expected to surpass 79 percent.
All of that is clear indication that SEO is changing. And it’s going to mean BIG changes for you.
Google Mobile First Indexing
Google first announced Mobile First Indexing in November 2016. They did so in an attempt to solve a problem.
They realized that people were moving to the mobile platform like wildfire. And searching on a mobile device isn’t the same as searching on your desktop. Google ranked based on old search criteria, and it was causing users to get a little cranky with the results. The solution was mobile first indexing, and once again, it’s changing the world.
So what does all of this mean for you? It turns out quite a lot. If you’re not utilizing the changes being made in today’s search algorithms, your business could quite conceivably be falling off the charts. If you want to rank well, now is the time to start making changes to your site.
With desktop searches, you have to be at your desk. But with mobile searching, it’s always on. People have their phones in their hand’s first thing in the morning and the last thing before they go to bed. They search at home, at work, and on the go. They shop when they shop – have you ever pulled out your phone at a store to see if you can get the same product online for less money? Yep, your customers are too.
In case you think you have time to ponder this information, maybe put off worrying about mobile search for a few months, take into consideration what Google had to say about Mobile First Indexing back when it announced it in November 2016:
To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.
That means your website had better be developed for both desktop and mobile viewing. And you better be optimizing your site to ensure it’s both mobile and desktop friendly.
Google sees what its customers want. So should you.
What The Mobile First Index Looks For
The Mobile First Index looks for mobile-friendly content. Mobile friendliness means a site has:
- Responsive design – the site design changes depending on the size of the screen it’s being viewed on
- Ease of use on a mobile platform
- Site speed
- Good use of interstitial web pages – these are popups and ads that often come in conjunction with an expected page of content
The biggest indicator of good mobile design is for a site to be responsive – not just mobile friendly.
A mobile responsive site (dynamic serving sites) have their primary content syncing dynamically between desktop and mobile sites. Google prefers responsive web design because it allows the server to provide the same HTML code to all devices. It eliminates most common mobile user experience issues, such as pinching, zooming, squinting, and other functions you’ve likely encountered when using other design tactics.
The information shown is responsive and changes depending on how it’s pulled up. The iPad Mini and the iPad Pro are fundamentally different tablets. Compare them to an iPhone X, and you begin to see the problem. The aspect ratios are different from device to device. And if your website isn’t created with this in mind, not everyone is going to have the best user experience when they pull up your information on their device.
Mobile friendly won’t cut it. Only mobile responsive design will meet Google’s requirements.
While responsive design is the most important factor, there are a few other things that can lower your rankability.
- Ease of use – ever tried to click on a teeny, tiny button on your mobile? Your customer hates it just as much as you do. Design big. That button should be easy to touch and easy to click. Make it so big they can’t help but click it to move to the next step. Make it so they can’t miss it.
- Site speed – we don’t have time when we’re searching from a mobile platform. The “we want it now” factor moves up exponentially. Seconds count in the mobile world, and if your site isn’t fast loading, make it so it is.
- Interstitial popups – you hate when you have to maneuver through popups. So do your customers. So does Google. Just avoid them and learn to build them the right way. (We can help.)
Are you Google Mobile Index Ready?
How well is your website designed for the latest changes in Google’s algorithms? Are you reaching out to your prospects and customers in the best way possible?
If not, you’re losing business. Are you ready to change that today?