If you follow the marketing and SEO news you’ll know that 2018 has been all about a shift to mobile. With more than half of overall web traffic coming from mobile, Google has put a spotlight on mobile performance this past year and is encouraging website owners and marketers to do the same.
Before we dive into the best ways to get your site ranking highly on mobile, let’s take a quick look at the biggest reason for this shift: Mobile First Indexing.
Google’s Mobile First Indexing in a nutshell
Back in March Google officially announced that they had started migrating over to a mobile-first indexing system. In simple terms, rather than crawl and index the desktop version of a website Google will now use the mobile version instead. This is to follow the trend of more people searching on their mobile phones than on computer.
‘Our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.”
– Google Webmaster Central Blog
1. Check that your website pages are mobile friendly
First things first, check that your site is accessible on mobile using a tool like Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. Most recently built sites should be mobile friendly, but if Google does spot some issues it will give you the details of what it encountered and how you can go about fixing it. These fixes may be quite technical, so you may need to employ the help of a digital specialist or developer.
2. Ensure parity between the mobile and desktop versions of your site
With Google now crawling the mobile version of your website, you’re going to want to ensure that all of the hard work you’ve put into it is discovered by Google’s bots. This means making sure any content that you would like Google to find is used on the mobile version of your website.
The best way to do this is to carry out a mini audit to compare the desktop and mobile versions of your website and highlight any areas where content is missing on mobile. Once you’ve got the list of missing content, simply fill in the gaps!
Top Tip: If you’re worried that you have too much copy on a mobile page, use expandable content boxes to keep your content tidy but still accessible by users and Google alike.
3. Keep your mobile page speed in check
With 53% of mobile site visitors leaving a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load, page speed is everything when it comes to keeping users on your site! Not only does slow page speed lose you potential customers, it also suggests to Google that your site might not be what users are looking for, causing your site to drop in the rankings.
Google has a fantastic free tool called PageSpeed Insights that you can use to check page speed (although there are plenty of great tools out there to experiment with). Simply enter your URL and Google will give you a speed score and suggestions on fixes you can make. Whilst some of these fixes (like reducing image file sizes) can be carried out by users of any level, some are more technical and may require help from an SEO agency or developer.
4. Improve mobile usability
The best way to experience your website as a mobile user does is to hop on a phone and visit your site as though you are a customer. If you find it hard to navigate around the website, come across awkward roadblocks to conversion etc. then it’s worth making a note and implementing fixes to these areas. If you think your website has a range of issues it may even be worth employing a full user experience audit of the website.
5. Give Google’s AMP pages a try
AMP (short for Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a Google project that serves up a stripped back version of a web page to mobile users. Effectively, users can view a page without even having to visit a website, and the stripped back nature of AMP means a super speedy experience. It is important to note however that there are definitely pros and cons to using AMP and that it might not be suitable for all websites.
Whilst we won’t go into too much detail here, there are plenty of great guides out there so it’s worth doing your research before diving into AMP. However, it’s definitely a good option to consider as part of your mobile ranking strategy.
Top Tip: If you do decide to try AMP for your website, make sure to check in regularly on stats like impressions and conversions to see how your new AMP pages are doing compared to their traditional counterparts.
Advice for improving your website on mobile
If you’re interested in improving your website’s mobile SEO to reach your business goals, contact one of our team members today to see how we can help. Contact us on 01858 445543 or email [email protected].
Rebecca has worked in digital marketing since she studied advertising and marketing at university. Getting a taste for SEO early on in her career, she has specialised in search marketing across a range of industries, both in-house and agency-side. Always happy to get stuck into data, Rebecca analyses websites to get the best on-site and search result performance for clients.