5 Mobile-First Best Practices for Search Engine Optimization

No matter what device you’re using, Google’s search results pages are now using mobile-first indexing. What does this mean for businesses and digital marketers, and how can you make sure your company looks good on the SERP? Read on to find out!

What You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

Google now checks your mobile site when it’s making its ranking decisions. In 2019, approximately 60% of all organic search visits were performed using mobile devices, and the search engines have been paying attention to this upward trend over recent years. In today’s world, Google wants to make sure it’s sending people to your website—whether on mobile devices or traditional computers and laptops—once you’ve proven that you’ve got everything in place to cater to customers who are reaching out to you from every angle.

As a result, it’s no longer advisable (or even acceptable) for you to have a website that’s not mobile-friendly. What do you need to know? Let’s explore.

5 Mobile-First Best Practices for Search Engine Optimization

Mobile-first indexing means Google is predominately looking at your mobile site when determining where you’ll fall in the search engine result pages (SERPs). Google can give you a rundown of best practices, and really, it’s up to your developer to handle these things on your behalf. With this said, here’s a breakdown of the things you really need to know:

  • Give the Googlebot Access. The Googlebot needs to have access to your content and be able to render it appropriately. It can’t load content that requires user interactions such as swiping, clicking, or typing. Make sure you’re not disallowing the bot to crawl your URLs with “disallow directives.”
  • Give Synchronicity to Your Mobile and Desktop Versions. It’s important for your content to be the same across all devices, including meta tags. Since almost all indexing comes from mobile sites, it’s important to be sure your mobile site contains the primary content you’re trying to get out to the world. If it has less content than your desktop site, it’s time to revisit your strategy.
  • Check Your Structured Data. As mentioned above, it’s important for your data to be the same on your mobile and desktop versions. If you have structured data, this element is just as important to keep consistent as other content elements. As you begin reviewing your site to ensure it’s in line with current SEO and mobile best practices, , you can prioritize your structured data efforts. First, start with Breadcrumb, then Product, then VideoObject structured data. Additionally, make sure your URLs are updated to reflect the mobile URLs where appropriate.
  • Put the same Metadata on Both Versions of Your Site. Make sure the page title and meta description for each page are the same across both versions of your site.
  • Check Visual Content. Both images and videos should be subjected to best practices. This means using high-quality images and videos, using formats that support your visual content-of-choice, and making sure that the mobile version of your pages are as good as the desktop versions. For example, your images should automatically adjust to fit the user’s screen size.

Troubleshooting Your Mobile Site

There are many common errors that can come up when you’re going through your site and checking these things. It’s important to troubleshoot any issues that may arise and resolve them as quickly as possible. If needed, work with an outside agency to help you remediate any errors.

You can test your website and see how mobile-friendly it is with Google’s handy mobile-friendly test tool. You should also perform speed tests on your site regularly to make sure it’s loading as quickly as possible. Be sure to perform speed tests from different devices and different locations to ensure you’re  site loads quickly under all circumstances.

Best practices are important in every industry and field, and with today’s changes in the marketing world, it can be tough to keep up with the current requirements. Check in with your marketing agency and website developer to make sure your site’s following best practices. If it’s not, make the needed changes that’ll put you on the road to success.

Part of our digital marketing expertise here at Liberty Interactive Marketing is conducting technical SEO website audits, mobile is a big piece of this. If you have questions about Google’s mobile-first indexing as it relates to your business, please drop us a line on our contact form.

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