If we learned anything from last year (and all the 2017 trend predictions), it’s that the future is mobile.
What is ‘mobile-first’ indexing?
It means that Google’s algorithms will 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 their results.
In layman’s terms, only mobile pages will be seen in the index, and no desktop pages.
That means that if the mobile version of your site has less content or is stripped-down in some way you should be concerned, as it’s that version that Google is going to see.
Pretty big news for website owners and digital marketers. So, it’s safe to say that getting your mobile site up to scratch should be top of your do-list this year.
If you’re wondering how to get started, below are 5 steps to follow to ensure a happy and prosperous 2017 for your website and your business.
If you want to be mobile-first you first need to get mobile-friendly. You’ve probably (hopefully) already done this, but it’s a good idea to make regular checks and get your mobile friendliness score as high as you can. Get tested here.
When doing your mobile audit, something to note is that Google suggests using responsive design over having a separate mobile website. If you have a separate mobile website, ensure that the primary content (including structured markup) of your desktop and mobile website are the same, if not similar. And, ensure that the appropriate canonical and rel alternate tags are added, to avoid duplicate content issues.
Some other common issues to look out for include:
Mobile search is increasingly done via voice. It’s quicker and easier than typing, and A.I assistants like Siri, Viv and Alexa have normalised the concept of voice commands and brought it into our everyday lives.
Google announced that voice search is the fastest growing type of search and have previously told us that about 20% of all searches are voice searches. If you want to get the most out of mobile users, optimising for voice search is an important step.
In order to do this, you need to understand the HOW and the WHY of voice search.
WHY people voice search:
According to Google’s Guide, voice search is most commonly used to satisfy four different types of queries:
HOW people voice search differently:
As mobile search became more popular, so local searches increased. If you look at the most common mobile queries (I want to know/go/do/buy), there’s a local aspect to 3 out of 4 of them.
Bottom line: you really want to be one of the top results when a local search is made.
To improve your local rankings you’ll need to go through the following steps:
Google promotes AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) above regular pages on mobile. AMP pages result in much quicker load speeds and, therefore, vastly improve the user experience.
The process for setting up AMP for your mobile pages is different depending on your CMS, but in cases like wordpress it’s just a simple plugin. If you haven’t looked into it, now’s the time.
The bottom line:
Users already use their mobile phones as their primary device, so if that isn’t enough motivation to act, we’re not sure what is.
As we move through 2017, there’s no denying that those who take a mobile-first approach will reap the rewards – will you be one of them?