Google Shares How To Succeed In Mobile First Index

Google Shares How To Succeed In Mobile First Index

Since the first ever mobile access of internet in 1996, mobile searches have been on an increase. And rightly so, I mean what’s not like in a mobile? – Its, fast, it’s mobile and allows you to access internet anytime and from anywhere. Even with many users turning towards mobile rather than desktop, one thing however has remained constant – Google crawled and indexed desktop websites first. Not so now!

In 2015 mobile searches surpassed desktop searches, and November 2016 saw Google stating – ‘We are experimenting with making the index mobile-first’. Thus, Google evaluated websites to determine if they were ready, and then started cautiously rolling its Mobile First Index. Later on it started rolling mobile-first indexing more broadly. Finally, recently in March 2020, Google said that ‘Mobile-first indexing will be enabled for all websites starting September 2020.’ And to seal the deal, so to speak of, it shared a guide on the best practices for Mobile First Index. But before we come to the guidelines, first things first –

What Is Mobile-First Index?

Google is a search engine which when receives a query from a user, gives them the results. The results are web pages having relevant information. There are a number of websites having a number of web pages, which are continuously being uploaded on the internet. Google has crawlers/bots which scan/crawls the codes of the websites. And the information thus collected is then put in a catalogue i.e. the Search Engine Index. So, when a query is asked, Google displays as answer the relevant pages in the order of ranking. Initially, Google crawlers would crawl the desktop websites first and later the mobile websites. Of course, the mobile version of websites would receive higher rank as it was a ranking factor. However, from September this year, Google is completely going for Mobile-first Index. Thus, its crawlers would be scanning the mobile version of the websites first. 

Note: There are no two indexes, but one single. And the desktop version websites will also be scanned and indexed, but the priority now lies with mobile-first.

Now that you understand what exactly is Google’s Mobile-first indexing, let’s get into what guidelines Google has for all the websites out there.

How To Succeed In Mobile First Index?

Let’s make first things clear first. If you are a rather newer website, chances are you took a progressive decision and got developed a ‘Responsive Website’, ‘Mobile-Friendly Website’, or ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Website’. You are safe. The problem lies when yours is a desktop site and you later on you optimize for mobile. In short, you have two sites on your hand with different URLs with content even which may or may not be the same. Google has shared some guidelines which we’ll be discussing below -

  • Keep It The Same: Given that you have different mobile site and desktop site; Google asks you to keep them the same. Ensure that they have same content, same images, same videos, same meta robots tag, same meaningful and clear headings, same structured data such as the Breadcrumbs, Products, etc.

  • Keep The Site Crawlable: Make sure that your mobile site is crawlable i.e. check out if you have any blocked resources within your robots.txt file. If too many important resources are blocked, it will affect Google’s crawling and indexing.

  • Keep A Tab On Your Pop-ups And Ads: Pop-up ads which show up on the mobile phones which block the page are a big no-no. Actually, Google even penalizes them as they affect the viewing experience and sometimes even make it necessary for the user to click on it. So, please deal with this aspect at the earliest. Also, keep in mind that the other ads too should not 

  • Image And Video Optimization: Use high quality images and videos. Ensure they have supported format and put them in supported tags. Also, avoid using constantly changing URLs which change when every time your page loads for images or videos. And yes, keep the alt text for mages the same for desktop site and mobile site. Tip: Keep the video positioned towards the top, too much scrolling to find video will affect the video ranking

  • Maintain Speed And Capacity: Speed is the most important when it comes to your mobile site. Ensure that your mobile site doesn’t take more loading time for which you can take necessary measures such as reduce the HTTP requests, minifying your files, setting them to load asynchronously,  change your hosting option, etc. Also, make sure that your mobile site has capacity high enough to deal with higher crawl rate.

  • Remove The Fragment URLs: The Fragment of the URL is the end part starting with #. The pages having fragment URLs cannot be indexed by Google crawlers, and thus will go missing.

So, keep all these points in consideration and keep your site all ready for September 2020, when Google completely goes mobile first. And yes, just as parting tips, don’t forget to design your mobile site for the larges finger of your user, so make sure to keep some distance between two clickable buttons/texts. Also, mind the text size, you don’t want to affect your user experience with them having to squint to read your site. That’s all for now, Adios!