It won’t come as a shock to anyone that there’s been a drastic shift from desktop to mobile use whilst browsing the web. Due to this, Google prioritises the mobile version of a site when deciding on its ranking – this is known as mobile-first indexing.

When designing and developing a website for your business, it’s easy to place more focus on the desktop version – it’s larger, gives you more space for content and images, and maybe we’re just still in that mindset of designing for desktop. However, if you don’t give your mobile website equal attention, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to SEO. Understanding and optimising your site for mobiles is more important than ever.

What is mobile first indexing?

To understand mobile-first indexing, we need to understand what indexing is.

The index is another word for the database that is used by search engines. It contains all the information on all the websites that feature on Google. If a site is not located in Google’s index, then users will not be able to find it at all. Google’s indexing is one of the first steps to determine rankings based of your content, relevance, keywords, etc.

Mobile-first indexing is pretty much what is sounds like. It means that the mobile version of your site is the first point of what Google includes in their index, and it places more importance on the optimisation of the mobile site than the desktop version.

So, what is mobile optimisation and why is it important for SEO?

Mobile optimisation is the process of making sure your visitors that access your site from a mobile device have a user-friendly, quick, and engaging experience that has been tailored specifically for their device.

Most big-name brands will have site that are optimised for mobile so they don’t miss a single sale from any platform. If you look at Nike’s website, for example, the website will work perfectly on your mobile device. There’s not heaps of content missing, it’s responsive (which means it fits perfectly to the size of the screen, no matter what model of phone you’re using), and it’s designed to work in exactly the way we expect a mobile website to work – it’s intuitive and the user experience is seamless. This is the same with most modern websites, and another reason why you don’t want to be left in the dust in terms of mobile optimisation.

How to optimise for mobile:

Enable Google AMP markup – 

Google created Accelerated Mobile Pages Markup to improve user experience on mobile devices. AMP is a specific markup in HTML code, which is used to improve design, whilst simultaneously improving loading times for web pages on mobile devices.

Using Amp can significantly improve your SEO efforts, which for a business is brilliant. This is because search results with AMP are ranked highly and sometimes even ranked higher than paid ads. User’s experiences are also significantly improved as content’s loading speed is boosted along with its appearance.

Aim for a responsive web design –  

As I’m sure many of you are aware having a responsive web design is standard for any modern-day website looking to maintain rankings. Ensuring that your website has a responsive HTML code will allow your site accordingly to various screen sizes and the orientation of any device. This makes your website sleeker, faster, and also improves the SERP rankings of your site.

Clean your site structure –  

The way your site is structured may be optimised for computer users but most of the time a site is structured in an F-shape pattern, which starts from the logo and then across to the right, followed by a scroll downwards.

For a mobile you want to be aiming your site to be structured in a downwards pattern, like an upside-down L. This so users on mobile can easily see all of your site’s content without having to scroll to the right.

Remove pop ups on mobile – 

This is very important for your site’s user visibility, as pop ups on mobile can lose you visitors by taking up too much screen space. Popups are frowned upon by Google and by using them could be penalised in terms of SEO. Simply put, pop ups are not effective anymore and should be avoided at all costs.

Improve user experience:

User experience and conversions go hand in hand with another. With more people using their mobiles to access websites, ensuring that your site is mobile orientated is essential to converting those users.

A mobile optimised site will make the conversion process easier for the user by:

  • Having larger buttons
  • Having smaller images
  • Auto-fill form fields
  • Auto-detect location settings
  • Guest checkout options
  • Multiple screens instead of scrolling

All these features can help reduce friction for your users when accessing your site.

Increasing your page speed:

Loading speeds on websites are essential to a good user experience and having slow website speeds can cost you visitors and poor SERP rankings. The same is said for mobile devices. To rank high on search queries for mobiles you will need to prioritise your site speed.

To check how fast your websites speed is you can use a free Google tool called Page Speed Insights. This will give your site a health score and give you indications on what you need to improve to get the top score of 100.

Some simple changes that you can implement into your website, which will improve site speed is; compressing images, cutting down on redirects a page has, and optimising your sites code for a more responsive one (as mentioned above).

Grow your business with responsive web design services

It’s clear that more and more people are using their mobile phones to browse the web. If your website isn’t designed to be responsive, you could be missing out on high rankings or potential conversions. We have an incredible team of web designers or developers that can help help your site reach its full audience.

If you would like to read more about our services or would like to chat about growing your business, get in touch.