As it stands Google has one index of sites that it searches, but all this is about to change!
Last year Google announced that they plan on releasing a separate search index just for mobiles, effectively a second set of results! Over time it’s expected that this mobile index will become the primary index.
What is now called Google Mobile First Index has been on the horizon for quite some time, but the clear majority of small business owners we’ve spoken to are yet to act to prevent their site being negatively affected.
At Creative Horizons & SEOTrainingUK, we’ve put together a simple guide to help you make the most of the latest update. Follow our five easy to implement steps and you’re sure to see an increase in traffic to your site, improved user interaction and ultimately more clients!
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1. Site Loading Speed
This is nothing new, site speed has been a major SEO factor for the last few years, but now that Google is ranking sites specifically based on mobile ranking factors, site speed is vital. Google’s site developers state that two seconds is the threshold for website acceptability! Google themselves aim for under half a second.
There some ways you can check your site loading speed I always start by using Google’s PageSpeed Tools. This is a great place to start and provides a few tips to help you start improving your speed. What it doesn’t do is give you the speed of your site, for that you will need to head on over to Pingdom or GTMetrix both of which can help you with your loading speeds. GTMetrix will provide a comprehensive list of steps you can take to improve site speed.
Users in today’s marketplace expect fast loading speeds, and so does Google. Here are our top tips to improve site loading speed:
Get good hosting! – The number one reason websites load slowly is down to poor hosting and slow server response times! If you’re on a shared hosting platform, for example, your sharing your bandwidth with everyone else on that platform. So, step one is to get fast hosting.
Leverage browser caching – Browsers store files from your site in their cache locally on your computer. This means that when a visitor heads over to your site, they’re not waiting to download the whole site each time they visit.
Optimise images – Large files take the time to download, FACT! Making sure that your images are the correct size is a quick way to reduce loading times. Image compression can also save data.
Minify code – This removes unnecessary code from your site without affecting user experience, a great way to save data.
2. Improving Mobile Design
SEO is more an art form these days than a science, to get the best results, you need to know more than just code, we also need to know design and how design affects user experience and rankings.
Most SEO reports (including our free report) will let you know if your site is mobile friendly but again a great place to start is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test which will identify any mobile issues with your website.
Mobile website design is a skill all to itself and we would recommend going responsive 100%. No matter what you decide, here are some mobile design SEO tips.
Get rid of pop-ups! – We’re all for capturing emails and lead generation but pop ups on mobiles just wind people up. This will increase bounce rates and decrease rankings so get rid of them!
Never, ever, ever use Flash! – Apple was the first to really kill Flash on mobile devices and since then less and less mobile devices support flash directly. It’s much better to use HTML 5 or Java based emblements to add those cool functions to your site.
Give it the finger! – Since most people are going to be using their finger to navigate your site on mobile devices make sure site works for mobile users. Accidental clicks are a pain we’ve all experienced – don’t be that site.
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3. Don’t Block CSS, Images or Java
Back in the day, blocking things like CSS and Java helped on mobiles, they often created more problems than they solved; but this just isn’t true anymore.
Smartphones these days are more powerful than some of the computers knocking around, and they can handle most things. The GoogleBot can also deal with these elements and wants to see them so don’t hide them anymore.
4. On page SEO
When it comes to SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) on mobile phones, we have less space to work with. So keep your titles and descriptions short and sweet. Use your search console to make sure you’re getting best results.
For a full SEO guide that applies to everyone, you can check my article SEO for Photographers, although written with photographers in mind its applicable to all businesses.
5. Keep on top of your local SEO
As we mentioned at our seminar last year, Google announced Possum back in October 2016 and this has had a huge impact on local SEO. Mobile users are vital to local businesses looking to tap into the search market, and after Google announced that local searchers are more likely to take action than any other, this is a prime market.
In a report, Google showed that “50 percent of consumers who conducted a local search on their smartphone visited a store within a day, and 34 percent who searched on a computer/tablet did the same.” These stats are crazy!
Make sure you follow best practices for your local SEO to make sure you’re tapping into these mobile buyers.
We still have a lot to learn about the new Google update as it’s rolled out this year but by taking the initiative and making sure your site is optimised now you can make a case for improved rankings.
Don’t wait until the switch happens, act now!
If you want advice on anything discussed in this article or you want to claim your FREE SEO report then please feel free to contact as at email@example.com.