What Google’s New Mobile Search Index Could Mean For You

Roughly 57 percent of all internet traffic originates from smartphones and tablets.

And according to Google, there are 27.8 billion more queries done on mobile than on a desktop.

We have been putting a lot of emphasis on mobile optimisation as a critical part of any marketing strategy. With Google rolling out the mobile-first search engine indexin 2018 – what this means is that Google ranks your search results based on the mobile-version of your page.

Even when you are searching from a desktop.

It is crucial to first understand the behaviour patterns of a mobile-first generation:

  • Easily distracted with shorter attention spans
  • Always on-the-go
  • Often bombarded with too much information
  • Spends most of their time on the internet on smaller screens

But what does mobile-first actually mean? Unlike mobile-responsive, which equates to a responsive website that is perfectly scaled to suit any device – mobile-first means putting the users’ needs first and foremost, and creating a pleasant experience for them while using your website.

Based on what Google likes, here are three important rules worth remembering when getting your website ready:

  • Site speed
  • Responsive design
  • User-friendly

With that being said, want to know if your website is ready for a mobile-first world? Without further ado, here are the most important and easy tips that you can implement right now:

Loading speed

Google says that 53% of mobile users will leave a site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Also, for every one second delay in site load time, conversions drop by a whopping 12 percent.

A fast loading page is key to a great user experience – which we have mentioned earlier as a key factor of successfully launching a mobile-first website. Mobile devices generally have a slower loading speed capability, so even a fraction of a second on a desktop can lead to a multi-second delay on mobile. A simple way to check for your page speed is using Google’s Mobile Speed Test, which comes with optimisation suggestions for you to make adjustments. Should you need help, an agency providing SEO services should have no problems resolving it for you.

Improve your loading times by reducing the amount of heavy content on your pages and compressing all your uploaded images. Adopting accelerated mobile page (AMP) protocols is a good solution as well, which we will touch on next.

Implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

A project developed in partnership with Google, AMP helps to improve the user experience by helping websites to load faster. AMP pages typically load in less than 0.5 seconds, resulting in lower bounce rates on your page.

How AMP works is that they are actually separate pages, i.e. a stripped down version of your main page that is created to shadow your regular page. Implementing AMP for WordPress is as simple as installing a plugin, so there is really no excuse not to get on board.

Visibility

Ever been to a web page that had you having to zoom in to see all the details? Avoid being that website – making sure that all of your site’s text is fully readable without users having to zoom or scroll in order to comprehend your important marketing message. We recommend using at least a 14px font, going with shorter paragraphs and making sure there’s tons of contrast between the text and background.

Another thing to take note of is the size of all your interactive buttons: with mobile devices, they have to be big enough so that they are easy to click with a thumb or finger – but not too big such that they are close to one another, causing frustrated users to have a high chance of clicking the wrong button.

Avoid flash and pop-ups

Simply put, pop-up ads can be disruptive to a user’s experience, which is why it is best to keep them to an absolute minimum. If it is unavoidable, make sure that the pop-up doesn’t cover the entire page – preventing users from getting a glimpse of what your valuable content is. Having a clean and simple layout and menu can replace the need for multiple buttons – a good example being the hamburger menu which is easy to use and highly recognisable.

Since most mobile browsers do not render Flash, it is strongly not recommended for mobile devices, and you might want to change it to HTML5.

Improve Your Content Writing

Powerful content marketing will always be an effective long-term SEO strategy for a mobile-first generation who is thirsty for knowledge.

In an eye-tracking study, it has been shown that 68 percent of mobile users focus their attention on the centre and top half of the screen, and that’s exactly where you want your most compelling and engaging copy to be – including the all-important call-to-action.

When crafting headlines, shorter is sweeter – creating concise and scan-able content with accurate subheadings and bulleted lists helps to improve readability, and thus the overall user experience. If your content is highly informative, break up your text into 1 or 2 sentence paragraphs whenever possible.

Visual storytelling is also a great way to draw and engage your readers – a majority of users are looking for more informational, educational and inspirational videos and video marketing. The beauty of visual storytelling is that they are a great way to enhance text, say more, and are highly engaging and easily shareable. If this isn’t your strong suit, hiring a Digital Marketing Agency offering Digital Marketing Services will make all the difference.

Diversify your traffic sources

Whenever there is content, you want to make sure that you distribute it to the right channels. Social media is the perfect tool for driving more traffic to the website, especially since it was built and meant for mobile. Whether it is through influencer marketing, email newsletters and podcasts, the chances of them being viewed on mobile is extremely high, so be sure to add social buttons to at a highly visible area of your page that remains static even as the user scrolls. Focus on getting as many “high-quality backlinks” as you possibly can – it is proven to largely improve up to 30 percent of your site’s overall page score in Google.

We hate to sound like a broken record, but always remember: check for overall responsiveness, load times, and last but not least, usability across multiple platforms to ensure the best user experience for all your mobile-first customers.

2019 will be the first full year of Google’s mobile-first search index, so make sure you come fully prepared.

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