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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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SEO Trends You Need To Watch In 2017

Posted on 31st Jan, 2017 by

Which SEO trends will thrive in 2017? And more importantly, how can I stay on top of these trends for my business? These are some of the top questions circulating marketing and business minds in the new year. Here’s what the digital experts at Bonfire HQ have to say…

Below are the predicted 2017 SEO trends that our search experts believe will have the biggest impact on digital campaigns this year.

Mobile-first indexing
Statistics show that most searches occur on mobile, with more than 50% of search queries happening from mobile devices. Consequently, Google has already begun to test mobile-first indexing. There have been murmurs that Google will soon prioritise their search listing rankings based on the mobile version of content, rather than desktop.

Content Marketing
2016 highlighted the importance of quality website content for digital campaigns. In 2017, we believe this will be taken a step further. No longer will it be enough to merely produce content, but in a highly competitive market, businesses will need a structured content marketing strategy in place to ensure they can compete. It’s also predicted that with the rise in mobile searches, content will shift away from lengthy pieces and favour quality over quantity. Businesses are anticipated to adopt ‘dense’ content strategies; providing useful information in the most efficient possible format.

Algorithmic Machine Learning (AI)
Algorithmic machine learning was first introduced by Google’s RankBrain in 2015. We anticipate another update like this in the near future, some of which may go beyond the scope of search to encompass other digital areas (i.e. data collection and interpretation).

Voice search
We expect voice search to continue gaining traction in 2017. With platforms like Google Home and others of the like we believe this marks the beginning of a revolution inspired by voice search. This will cause a shift in traditional keyword discovery, meaning SEO agencies and businesses alike will need to be prepared to see more contextual, natural search phrases increasing in search volume.

Accelerated Mobile Pages
As Google begins to prioritise mobile, we expect to see a rise in Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a Google initiative to speed up mobile browsing, by building web pages for static content that render fast. It is an open-source slim HTML coding standard that when implemented, allows web pages on mobile phones to load instantly and ultimately improves the user experience. Google has already started favouring pages that have made the coding changes to optimize their mobile pages with AMP.

What Next?
It seems 2017 is heading in a direction where the reliance on technology will soon be stronger than ever before, for both consumers and marketers. It is imperative that marketers recognise this as soon as possible, and shift their strategies accordingly. Collaborating with technology providers is heavily encouraged, as it’ll allow businesses to gain an advantage over their competitors. To stay ahead in 2017, we believe it’s imperative that SEO marketers and business owners keep a close eye on these trends and are prepared to adopt strategic changes when necessary.

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