Google is operating on a mobile-first indexing method.
This means two things. First, web pages under the desktop, tablet, and mobile formats would all under be one index. Second, it’s the mobile version of the web pages that will be given priority when it comes to their indexing and ranking.
This means adapting from a mere mobile-ready state to a mobile-first setup is crucial.
Watch Google’s video here.
Best Practices for a Mobile-First Approach:
There are two sides to this coin. First, your mobile website shouldn’t be an exact copy of your website.
If the content isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, you would be missing out on a lot of customers who browse through their phones. Think of huge photos, laggy screens, and a block of text that may be apt for desktops but looks horrible on mobile.
On the other hand, your content for both mobile and desktop should vary as little as possible. It wouldn’t bode well for your search ranking to cut content out from your mobile site since it will have less information for Google to crawl.
What you can do to bridge these two is to separate your content from design. For example, you can maintain the same primary content while moving auxiliary ones to different tabs.
As mentioned before, the design of the website, both desktop and mobile, plays a key part in making sure you rank well. After all, a messy user experience can stop potential customers from ever going back to your site.
Here are some of the things you need to remember to ensure a consistently great user experience:
- High-quality images
- Same alt text for images on desktop and mobile
- Same content quality for both desktop and mobile, which include descriptive titles, captions, filenames, and text for images
- Supported formats for images and videos
- Same structured data
- Video placement should be at easy-to-locate places on mobile viewing
Sometimes, there are certain settings in your website that can prevent them from mobile-first indexing. Some of these include:
- Mobile page lacking some of the structure data markups of the desktop page
- Missing, blocked, and low-quality images
- Missing meta description, alt text, page title
- Having a noindex tag
- Desktop site redirecting to mobile page
- Page quality issues
- Mobile URL is an error page
A huge part of these strategies is making sure that both desktop and mobile are treated equally. At the same time, you’re also thinking about users browsing on phones. You don’t want them scrolling too far just to be able to get the information that they need.