The writing’s on the wall. Get mobile-friendly or perish.
As Google’s move towards mobile-first indexing is gathering momentum in 2018, your digital existence has to keep up with the changing environment in the SEO space. Unless you’re already optimizing for mobile consumption, you’re going to be left so far behind in the race that it’s going to be 10x times harder to catch up with your competitors later on.
According to sources at Google, their mobile-first strategy is not going to result in an overnight shakedown. Rather, they want to ease into mobile mode gradually.
But that said, it is prudent to begin your own upgrade right away because mobile SEO is here to stay and you want to be among the first horses out of the gate. In this article, I’m going to help you jumpstart your mobile SEO strategy with 5 changeovers you should be contemplating right now to keep your content primed and ready for the great algorithmic shift towards mobile optimization.
# 1: Audit For Mobile
Test to make sure that your site is standing on strong legs by doing a mobile audit first. Locate the problem areas and fix them before taking the next step up the mobile SEO ladder.
- Verify the mobile version of your site, if you have one, on Google Console.
- Check for Crawl Errors, because they can prevent your page from appearing in search results. Crawl Error Reports offer details about the site URLs that Google could not successfully crawl or that returned an HTTP error code. You can get your report by clicking here.
- Do not use Flash. Most mobile browsers do not support Flash.
# 2: Get A Responsive Design
That is, if you haven’t already. Responsive design makes web pages render well on a variety of devices and screen sizes, and you can surely imagine how crucial it is from a user experience point-of-view when people visit your site. Unlike a static site design, a responsive one offers faster load time, flexible text size, image size and grid measurements, and has optimized breakpoints for any design changes. Study the responsive attributes you are offering and make sure that the browsing experience is clean, clear, intuitive and easy enough for even a 9-year-old to navigate.
# 3: Improve Loading Time
Mobile users are notoriously impatient, and so Google – who basically works for users — has to be impatient on their behalf as well. This means your loading time has to be as immaculate as one second if you want users to stay on your site instead of bouncing off. Use Google’s Page Speed Insights, which will analyze the content of your web page, and then generate suggestions to make that page faster.
# 4: Consider AMP
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), it’s an open-source project that allows mobile website content to render almost instantly. Started in 2015, AMP was geared initially for publisher websites (like web magazines) but other businesses, including e-commerce, can profit handily by it as well.
Research studies sponsored by Google have shown that AMP leads to an average of a 2X increase in time spent on page. Even e-commerce sites enjoy a 20% average increase in sales conversions.
But before you bolt on an AMP plug-in, and think the job is complete, know that AMP is not a hit-it-and-quit-it solution.
You have to keep working at it to make sure you’re AMP-compliant, so to speak, or you’re going to get dinged for incomplete AMP implementation. To learn more about the pros and cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages and how to do it right, read this comprehensive and definitive guide by digital marketing guru Neil Patel.
# 5: Consider Progressive Web Apps
Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are web applications that are regular websites or web pages but can appear to the user like native mobile applications. They combine features offered by most modern browsers with the benefits of the mobile experience. In other words, PWAs are “pretend” apps that offer the loading speed of mobile pages, and when installed on a phone, can have an app icon, full-screen display, push notifications and online/offline functionality. Without most of the app building costs.
But to truly have an impact, it is important that PWAs are indexable and linkable. They also require a lot of maintenance and optimization, so be aware of the commitment you’re making before you decide to run with it. To learn more about how to employ PWAs, click here.