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HOW TO OPTIMISE YOUR SITE FOR GOOGLE’S MOBILE-FIRST INDEX

Posted on 20th Mar, 2017 by

Ever since Gary Illyes’ announced Google’s mobile-first index (MFI) in 2015 and its official confirmation in late 2016, there’s been constant buzz around the topic. In particular, whether sites that have not implemented mobile friendly mark-ups and responsive website design are being penalised.

But before we jump to conclusions, let’s first take a look at exactly what the mobile-first index is and how it affects not only marketers, but all businesses with an online presence.

WHAT IS THE MFI?

In one of our recent blog posts, we mentioned the rise of mobile search and how Google have started to show a preference for mobile content rather than desktop.

The mobile-first index is Google’s way of responding to both the rise of mobile technology and recent statistics indicating that most Google searches now happen on mobile. This means Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content, rather than the desktop version.

SO, I NEED A MOBILE WEBSITE?

The short answer is yes. The mobile trend is on the up and is showing no signs of slowing down, so as a business owner or marketing manager, adapting your website to suit this change will ensure your website’s ranking won’t be compromised and may give you a one-up from your competitors who are yet to make the change.

WHAT DO I NEED TO DO NEXT?

If you’re guilty of not having a mobile-friendly website, don’t stress just yet. There are some simple things you can do to get started:

  • Check your site is mobile-friendly. Before making any changes, we suggest testing your site first with Google’s Mobile Friendly test. This will tell you how easy it is for users to navigate your site on mobile and will also recommend some changes that can be made to increase mobile-friendliness.
  • Learn more about ‘mobile’. The best way to ensure you’re obliging by the rules is to educate yourself, and what better way to do this than by taking advice straight from the rule makers themselves? This Mobile Friendly Website Guide explains what is needed for an effective mobile site.
  • Implement. Whether you attempt to do this yourself, or you seek out the help of an SEO agency, it’s no secret you will need to make changes to your site to optimise it for the mobile-first index.
  • Rinse and repeat. If you’ve made changes, check the effect of those changes with the tool in step one. This isn’t the only indicator of a converted mobile site, but it will give you a topical view.

IN SUMMARY…

As Google begins to prioritise mobile pages, it’s important to ensure your site is not only up-to-date, but has also been optimised for search. Being mobile-friendly is simply one aspect of a digital campaign which should be used in conjunction with an overall strategy aimed at making your site easier for visitors to use.

Ultimately, it’s important to keep in mind that as more people begin to search using mobile, more opportunities will arise for your business to improve its offerings and better meet consumer demands.

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