Top Tips for Optimising Google’s Mobile First Index

Is your site mobile-friendly?

The chances are, you have already embraced the responsive web design trend to meet Google’s ever-growing desire for mobile-friendly websites. But how does your site fare with Google’s Mobile First Index? Are you optimising this as well as you think? Read our top tips to find out.

But First, Why Is Mobile Search Important?

As we discussed in our previous blog New Features Added to Moz Local, mobile is the leading device used for local search. In response to growing stats for searches conducted by smart-phone, it’s no surprise that Google has adapted its algorithms to improve the results it serves to its users.

It seems websites are not the only ones upping their game.

We all remember Mobilegeddon – an algorithm from the summer of 2016, designed to propel mobile-friendly sites further up the search engine results pages.

Mobilegeddon works as a mobile-friendly test tool, to promote sites that have embraced a mobile site.

Anyone who has neglected to embrace a web design that responds to search via mobile, may as well hang up their digital marketing boots and go and sit in a corner with their Walkman.

So, What Is Google’s First Index?

When looking at how to rank results in response to a user search, Google has historically looked at desktop content (content pulled from a site optimised for desktop). However last month, Google announced it would now be looking at mobile content as a priority when filtering results to rank. This is a move that has prompted many a business to look at RWD (responsive web design) as a priority.

If a site isn’t mobile friendly, it will still be crawled, but Google will look first for the mobile version’s optimisation and use the desktop version as a fall back.

Optimising Google’s Mobile First Index

Those who’d embraced RWD ahead of their competitors had the distinct advantage in terms of ranking signals. But as more and more businesses jump on the RWD bandwagon, it’s becoming more and more competitive again to stand out.

This is where some tidy tips on optimising Google’s Mobile First Index come in handy.

Tip 1 – Optimise for Local Search

We’ve covered this in our recent Moz Local blog, but optimising for local search is key. With mobile, users conducting most searches on-the-go, adding the location of your business will help to substantially increase your mobile search visibility.

For more information on local search optimisation, see Google’s Possum update.

Tip 2 – Get Your Design Right

Keep it simple. Mobile users don’t want to be burdened with pop ups, display ads and flash elements. These are annoying enough on a desktop, even more so on a small screen.

Design a clear navigation with an easy user experience. Dump the fancy design ideas here. Good navigation keeps users on the site for longer and reduces bounce rate, both of which indicate good ranking signals.

Tip 3 – Get Speedy!

One of the ultimate ways to optimise your site for Google’s Mobile First Index, is to ensure your mobile site is loads quickly. The Google expectation is 0.5 seconds and under!

Mobile users conduct searches on-the-go. They seek information even more quickly than on desktop. We’re all familiar with the ‘quick web search on an ad-break’ and the sneaky ‘Google session at the traffic lights’ (naughty but true).

Speed up your site by cutting down the number of redirects and cached pages you have. Furthermore, minify your code such as javascript and CSS files. You can also optimise images and replace image buttons with HTML. Basically, only include what’s necessary. No fluff.

For more tips on how to optimise your website for Google’s Mobile First Index, why not get in touch with the Whitefish Marketing team. We have experienced SEO consultants who can advise you on how to make your site mobile friendly. Our web designers build responsive sites that meet Google’s requirements for search.

Whitefish Marketing are located in Folkestone, Kent – just 45 minutes from London.