Mobile-First Design Tips for Google’s Mobile Index

Has Your Website Been Redesigned for Mobile?

Are you unsure if your website is mobile-friendly? There's a quick and easy way to find out

One of Google's primary objectives is to improve the search experience for all users. Because mobile now accounts for the majority of search activity, you must have a mobile-first design to rank well in the SERP!

To calculate ranks in the past, Google's algorithm looked to a site's desktop version. Furthermore, Google maintained a separate mobile index that gave mobile-friendly sites a slight boost. On November 4, 2016, Google, on the other hand, stated that it was testing a mobile-first index.

Those who are experienced with digital marketing should not be surprised by this development. Google has previously hinted at the prospect of a mobile-focused algorithm. In 2015, Google stated that mobile daily searches had officially surpassed desktop searches. Furthermore, according to a comScore analysis, mobile users account for the majority of digital growth, with the desktop serving as a "secondary touch point."

Mobile-First Design vs. AMP

The mobile-first index isn't Google's first mobile-focused experiment: the AMP Project, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, promises to deliver material to consumers at breakneck speeds.

To reduce page load time, the AMP Project offers a cached version of a webpage right in the SERPs. If your website isn't responsive or hasn't been designed with mobile users in mind, Google will only index the desktop version.

In other words, Google will not index AMP pages that are mobile-friendly.

So, what does this mean for webmasters and digital marketers? Let's have a look:

Why is Google experimenting with a new mobile-first index?

The reason is simple: mobile devices now account for the vast majority of consumers.

To win in a mobile-friendly SEO world, you must consider your SEO strategy and user experience as a whole.

Enterprise SEO integrates content, technical performance, off-site SEO, and analytics to provide a user-centered experience that drives traffic through the ToFu, MoFu, and BoFu stages of the marketing funnel.

Key Points

  •  The number of daily searches conducted on a mobile device outnumbers those conducted on a desktop computer.
  • To keep up with the growing demand for mobile-friendly websites, Google is now exploring a mobile-first index.
  • Using Google's Search Console and Developer Tools, webmasters may determine how mobile-friendly their site is.

On a smartphone, look up your website.

The mobile user experience is, however, somewhat subjective. You can still tell if your site appears and works correctly on a mobile device. Consider the following questions:

  • Is your website quick to load?
  • Are you able to scroll quickly?
  • Is it possible to traverse clickable items with a finger?
  • To view text, do you have to zoom in or scroll left and right?

You may also test your mobile-friendliness with a variety of tools. To begin, ensure that Google can access and crawl your mobile site using the robots.txt testing tool. If Google is unable to access your site, you should use Search Console to submit and verify your mobile site.

In addition, use Chrome DevTools' Device Mode to see how the SERPs and your site will appear on different devices.

What if Your Website Isn't Mobile-Friendly?

Don't worry if your website doesn't have a mobile version. The desktop version of your website will still be crawled and ranked by Google. However, a responsive design site or a dynamic serving site should still be prioritised.

Google prefers a site's content to be the same (or nearly so) on mobile and desktop, which a responsive design or dynamic serving site can achieve. If you do decide to build a dynamic serving site, make sure to add the Vary HTTP header to let Google know that your site changes depending on the user-agent.

How to Make Your Site Mobile-Friendly

Here's an overview of a few technical factors to consider while optimising for mobile:

Useful Resources

The mobile usability report in Search Console, in addition to the tools already discussed, displays you how mobile-friendly your complete site is.

Speed Up Loading

Mobile consumers, to put it bluntly, are demanding. Many customers are looking for quick solutions while on the road. You should expect a significant bounce rate if your pages take longer than 2 seconds to load.

Use Google's PageSpeed Insights tool to assess your content on a regular basis. ThinkWithGoogle's Test My Site tool is another PageSpeed Insights-powered tool. It assesses the mobile-friendliness of a single page, rather than the entire site, and provides an interactive report with recommendations for how to improve the page. You can also have the report sent to you.

You may need to optimise images, eliminate extraneous code, and reduce the amount of redirects on your site to enhance page speed. Both PageSpeed tools provide a more detailed, technical analysis on additional adjustments that should be made.

Learn more about how to increase your website's SEO .

Refresh the elements on the page

On a mobile device, the SERPs are obviously smaller. On a smartphone, type in your high-priority keywords and pay attention to the results Google delivers. What makes the mobile experience different from the desktop experience?

If your meta tags, such as page titles and meta descriptions, are too long and don't appear properly on mobile devices, you should update them.

For additional advanced best practises, see our entire on-page SEO guide.

Remove Interstitials that are intrusive

When a person visits your site, do lead generation popups appear? These popups, also known as interstitials, may be simple to dismiss on a desktop, but they might detract from a positive user experience on mobile.

If a site has too many invasive interstitials, Google will devalue it starting January 10, 2017. (You, "No, I prefer to pay full price" popups, are being targeted by Google.)

However, as Google values mobile user experience, aggressive interstitials should be addressed before the mobile-first index is fully implemented.

Create content that is mobile-friendly

Don't put off asking "how does it appear on mobile?" until the end of a project. Consider mobile functionality from the start of a project through its completion. To troubleshoot any potential user experience pitfalls, most mobile users navigate their phones with one hand and in the vertical (or portrait) orientation. Scroll through your site in the same way.

Finally, how does your content seem on a mobile device? Because of the lower screen size, you'll need to be considerably more concise. Also, don't limit yourself to text.

How do you present statistics, maps, and other interactive content modules on your website? These visual content analytics will persuade you of their importance in no time. As a result, you may need to brainstorm new ways to show your material with your development and design teams.

Above all, improved user experience is the driving force behind practically all of Google's algorithm adjustments and revisions. Make user experience the centre of all of your projects – on-page and off-page — as a digital marketer to improve rankings and outcomes.