Google gives Mobile Responsive Websites a BOOST in SEO Rankings
If you haven’t heard of Google’s Mobile First index update, then you may be living under a rock in the digital world.
Some sites may get hit harder than others, if they are not Mobile friendly at all… while most sites won’t see much of an impact in terms of SEO. But the news is true, nonetheless, Google will push webmasters to move towards mobile friendly and responsive websites to account for the majority of search users being on mobile devices.
The Mobile First Index for Search Results:
As Mobile searches continues to increase and outpace desktop search queries, Google has decided it’s time for a change and to give a little boost to mobile friendly and responsive mobile websites. Due to such a large base of mobile users, this change makes sense to google and their search algorithm.
Currently, the mobile rankings you see are based on how Google has crawled the desktop version of websites. With the mobile first index, Google will base rankings solely on their crawler searching mobile pages as a priority over their long standard desktop crawlers.
Does Mobile First make sense?
Over 90% of mobile users say access to content is very important, so it appears this move does make sense. Users say that they will bounce and leave sites that aren’t mobile friendly. Since google wants to give users the best quality sites in relation to their search queries, it makes sense to provide mobile responsive pages to mobile users over not mobile friendly websites.
Will Mobile First Index change your SEO Rankings?
If you have a mobile friendly website and the mobile version of your site is very similar to your desktop version, then you likely have very little to worry about.
At the moment, Google still crawls the desktop version of your site and their is not bot crawler on your mobile version to take priority. If you find out your mobile version of your site is not as SEO friendly (in terms of page speed, structure, etc), then you may be negatively affected. Vise Versa, if your mobile version of your website is up to date and very SEO friendly, then you will find a BOOST in your Page Ranking.
When does Mobile First Indexing occur?
We don’t know the exact date that Mobile First Indexing will start to roll out via Google. However, we do know that it could happen at any time and 2019 would be a prime year for all the Mobile first progression that technology is adhering to. It would be wise to make sure you are Mobile Friendly and your website stays that way so that you are not negatively affected in SEO by any way.
How Can I ensure my site to be Mobile Friendly?
There are a number of variables to look at on your website to prepare for Mobile First Indexing; such as, Internal Linking, UX/UI, Content Curation, Page Speed, and your Hosting Provider.
Initially, you want to ensure that your site is Mobile Responsive and that your site is equally as view able and interactive on a Mobile device, as it is on a Desktop. As Google will be crawling the Mobile version of your site first, you need to first look at how your content appears on mobile devices.
Mobile Rich Snippets
Make sure Meta data and Rich Snippets are coded on your website to ensure Google can use these variables from your site such as “Click to Call.
Make sure that you include Structured Data and Schema for both your Mobile Version of your site, as well as Desktop.
Additionally, prioritize AMP Mobile Pages for blog content or any articles you may be publishing on your website. Accelerated Mobile Pages are a great way to allow users to read your content quicker and easier, while also providing even quicker page speed and loading times for users.
Internal Linking Mobile Friendly Content
You don’t want to confuse users by dynamically linking non mobile pages to mobile users. You want to ensure that any user on a mobile device will be directed to mobile friendly pages to ensure that SEO quality and internal linking structure is consistent across your website.
Mobile Page Speed
Google has made it well known that Page Speed for both Desktop and Mobile Devices is a very important ranking factor, and we believe that Mobile Page Speed will be a primary SEO factor upon the release of the mobile first indexing. It is very common for websites and webmasters to encounter different page speeds when testing their websites thru both desktop and mobile page speed crawlers/pings. Your Desktop and Mobile Page Speeds don’t need to be the same; however, you should aim to get as close as results as possible. In the future, we’d imagine that prioritizing Mobile Page Speed over Desktop will become a priority in Mobile First Indexing.
Studies show that if websites don’t load within 5 seconds on a desktop computer and 3 seconds on a mobile phone; users will bounce and leave the website. Google won’t recommend your site or prioritize you over competitors if they notice that your page speed is not up to par with other competitors Mobile Versions of their websites.
The GoogleBot Crawler for Mobile Smartphones will bring an increase crawl rate and your hosting provider may incur larger payloads depending on your site structure and mobile optimized version of your site. Some Hosting Providers provide better servers than others (Private or shared) and will provide better Page Speeds for Mobile websites. Make sure you do your research when selecting a host for your websites and ensure that your host won’t impede your Page Speed and SEO rankings.
How to Create a Mobile First Responsive Site
Creating a mobile first responsive design isn’t too difficult and should be handled appropriately by your front end web developer. Building a site to be mobile friendly will allow users to browse your website on whatever device they may have (mobile or not) and receive the same User Interface and ambiance across your site.
You no longer need to create two separate websites (one for mobile users, one for desktop users); as programming frameworks have advanced and allowed developers to dynamically change the front end of their website depending on the device the user is browsing the internet on.
What’s the Difference Between a Mobile First vs Mobile Friendly?
It’s easy to confuse being mobile friendly, with mobile first indexing friendly, so let us try to clarify:
The mobile first index doesn’t affect what Google has considered to be mobile friendly, it just changes the way that Google crawls your new web pages to index. Whether your site is mobile friendly or not, will not be rewarded or penalized… but it will be noted. The mobile first index will prioritize your site’s mobile pages first as it crawls your web pages on a mobile device crawler, before alternatively crawling the desktop version of your site.
Mobile friendly refers to how responsive your mobile site is on mobile devices and how interactive it is for mobile users.
A Mobile First Index is good to know for SEO Experts
You may be quick to panic about hearing Google’s Mobile First Index if you’re not already prioritizing Mobile Infrastructure for Mobile Users… but don’t jump the creek! It will be a while before Google announces that they are changing over to Mobile First Indexing, we just need to be aware of how this affects Long Term SEO Strategy and make sure webmasters are using Google SEO best practices for the long haul in increasing their website authority, trust, and relevance. Google’s goal is to increase Users Mobile Experience… and your Goal should ALWAYS be the same!