Google Focusing on Mobile First
Google has a new policy, and if you aren’t following suit, you’re likely to be left in the dark.
Google is focusing its search algorithm on mobile optimized websites. Which means, that sites that perform better for mobile platforms, are also more likely to rank higher in Google’s search algorithm.
Google prioritizing mobile over desktop sends a message that SEOs and site owners should do the same. At the very least, this means having either a mobile or responsive version of your website. However, that’s just the bare minimum.
So as business owners why is this so important and what can I do to maximize my efforts?
Conduct a Mobile-Friendly Test
Responsive websites have been around for a while now and if you are web savvy at all, you know that the need for a responsive website is a must. But where many people fall flat, is that they believe that if they build a responsive website, their work is done. Wrong. Many websites that perform extremely well on desktop and even on tablets, can often fail very poorly on mobile platforms.
In order to test the effectiveness of your websites mobile first SEO, it’s important to test each page individually. While this may seem time consuming and tedious, it’s an absolute necessity.
Make Sure Your Site is Keyword Relevant
A common misconception about being SEO friendly is that it’s important to have the absolute most keyword rich words in your site as possible. While it is very important that your website is keyword rich, it’s more important that your site is keyword relevant. This means that the content is relevant and appropriate for the people that are visiting your website. While Google is a machine algorithm, it’s a highly intelligent one that is built to think as we think. It’s important to do a full assessment of your sites content and make sure you are targeting the right words. You might be missing out on important opportunities to attract customers and not even know it.
Optimize your site speed
Over 75% of sites on mobile take 10 seconds or longer to load on a 3G connection and over 10 seconds to load on non-3G connection. On top of that obtrusive ads even further increases the load time for many sites. Creating a fast, functional and beautiful website takes a lot of work. The Google AMP project was developed as a turnkey solution to build mobile sites that load fast but also perform extremely well. However, we don’t recommend that you convert your entire site to AMP, but rather optimize your existing site to perform as fast as AMP. Often, a simple starting point to optimize your sites speed load time is to optimize your sites images to load faster or optimize your sites plugins to make sure they are compitable with your sites CMS. Run this page speed test, and see if any one of your pages have any issues with load times.
Think like a mobile user
It may be hard to believe, but users search process on mobile is slightly different then when people search on a desktop. We tend be much more conversational and we often have much more urgent search queries on mobile then on desktop. Another major factor to keep in mind is how users are actually searching for content on mobile. With Google’s Voice Search, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s Siri, users aren’t always typing, they are speaking their searches. This creates a very personalized type of search which mimics how we would talk to one another, instead of how we might talk to a machine.
Being mobile means being on the go.
A shift for Google in the direction of mobile first, takes a very important aspect that many business owners tend to forget. Mobile users aren’t stationary, they are out shopping for your products while they search, in fact they may even be standing in front of your product while they search. This is so incredibly important, because, there is a major trend in “near me” searches on the rise. It’s important to insure that your Google My Business, Local Reviews, Google Shopping and Social Media accounts are up-to-date. And make sure your information aligns across all forms of your business. There’s nothing worse then to have a user search for “Local pizza” and your phone number or address is mis-represented on a google search result that may not necessarily be on your website.
It’s official, Google is rolling out a mobile penalty as of January 11th, 2017 which includes the following:
- Popups that cover the entire mobile screen as soon as a user lands on a page
- Pages above the mobile fold that resembles an advertisement
- Interstitial pages that users must jump to before they reach the actual content
If aren’t keeping up with the trends that Google is implementing for mobile, ultimately, it’s affecting your bottom dollar and access to customers.