Since Google has completely switched over to mobile-first indexing, you need to make sure your website is prepared for the change. Otherwise, your search engine rankings and organic traffic will suffer.
Even without the push for mobile-first indexing, optimizing your website’s mobile user experience is still extremely important. Mobile users account for approximately half of the world’s web traffic, so you can’t ignore this huge market segment.
People are just as likely to visit your site using their smartphones as they are on their laptops and desktops. So it’s just not about making Google happy, but also about making sure your target audience is happy no matter what device they’re on.
Before diving head first into mobile-first optimization, here are 5 things you need to consider first.
You can easily check if your site complies with Google’s mobile-first indexing requirements by using their own Mobile Friendly Test. However, just because your site is mobile friendly doesn’t mean that it’s actually easy to use on mobile devices.
A lot of sites are designed primarily for the desktop experience which doesn’t always translate well on mobile. Mobile devices have less screen real estate and are usually in portrait mode rather than landscape mode. So it’s important to make sure your navigation and layout actually works well on mobile devices. Get rid of things like pop-ups and other features that completely block out your content.
In most cases, it’s much better to stick to using responsive design rather than creating a separate mobile version of your site. It’s much easier to maintain in the long run and the development costs are significantly cheaper.
However, there are instances where responsive design doesn’t always result in a great looking mobile website. In these cases, it’s better and much easier to just redesign the website from scratch with a mobile-first mindset. It’s easier to adapt a mobile website for desktop use compared to making layouts designed for desktops fit into a smaller screen.
If you’re using separate mobile and desktop versions of your site, you need to add the same structured data and metadata on your mobile site as you would with the desktop version. The structured data URLs for your mobile site should also be mobile URLs.
Of course, this shouldn’t be much of an issue if you’re using responsive design since there’s just one version of the site for both mobile and desktop.
Aside from making sure your page looks good on mobile, you should also reevaluate whether your content is easy to consume on mobile devices. Long paragraphs tend to end up looking like large blocks of text on mobile devices. You’ll need to reformat your content and introduce more line breaks so that it’s easier to skim through.
People tend to quickly scroll through pages on mobile devices, so make sure your content is formatted in a way that accommodates this style of reading.
The same applies to infographics. Make sure it doesn’t contain text that’s too small or difficult to read on a mobile screen.
While page speed wasn’t much of a priority for desktop sites, Google has made it an important ranking factor for mobile searches. Aside from being a ranking factor, improving page speed simply makes the mobile user experience smoother.
You have to remember that not everyone is using the latest smartphone or tablet. Mobile Internet connections can also be very spotty in many areas. By removing the bloat from your pages and optimizing the underlying code, you’ll be sure that your pages will load instantly even if your visitors are stuck with less than ideal browsing conditions.
Optimizing your site for mobile-first indexing is not something you can put on the back burner and attend to later. It must be done as soon as possible to avoid any negative effects on your search ranking and organic traffic.
If you need any help with your mobile user experience, AltaStreet can quickly identify any issues you may have. Send us a message through the contact form below and we’ll be glad to discuss your options.