In this article we are going to briefly explain what is mobile-first indexing and what steps to follow in order to make sure your website is compatible and your mobile visitors are happy.
What is this all about?
Have you recently got this email from Google “Mobile-first indexing enabled for example.com”?
If so, don’t worry, as all our WordPress themes are mobile friendly by default and are not affected by this update. However, there are a few things to consider in order to make sure you are on the safe side.
What is mobile first indexing?
Currently, most of users are browsing the web and search on Google using a mobile device. That’s why, Google will now use the mobile version of your site to index and rank it (primarily for mobile users and also for desktop users). So, it’s very important that your website is mobile friendly and SEO friendly.
What to do to comply?
Here are 5 steps to follow for a better mobile first compatibility:
1. Make sure your website is mobile friendly.
Test your site here. Have a look at page loading issues and make sure you don’t block important resources (like CSS or JS files) that could affect how Google sees and understands your website. Have a look if your robots.txt file is not blocking those important resources. To access your robots.txt file, type in the following URL in your browser and replace example.com with your site name: https://example.com/robots.txt
2. Fix all mobile usability issues
You can view them in your Search Console account under “Mobile usability” section. If you didn’t add your site to Search Console, please do it ASAP. Most common issues are: “Clickable elements are too close together” and “Content wider than screen”. If these are not real issues, simply validate them from your Search Console account. Here is how to do it:
– Login to your Search Console account
– Go to “Mobile Usability” report
– Click on any issue from the list to see all affected pages. Check if the issue is really occurring on those pages. Fix the issue or ignore it if it’s not relevant and click on “Validate fix”.
– Google will check these issues and validate them in higher priority.
If you want to learn more about Google Search Console, have a look at our latest Search Console course.
3. Fix your mobile SEO issues
Your website should be easy to crawl and render by Google. For this, make sure you don’t hide important textual content of your site on mobile devices and always add alt tags to your images.
Avoid duplicate content by implementing a canonical tag on your site. Example: <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://example.com”>. Your website could be accessed through multiple URLs that are basically the same. Example: https://www.example.com and http://example.com is the same website, but Google sees it as 2 separate websites with the same content. That’s why, you should add a canonical tag pointing to one preferred version of your site, to avoid duplicate content.
Your website should be easy to navigate. Use a minimum amount of links between your home page and any page on your site and use internal links within your pages.
Learn more by reading this handy SEO guide for photographers.
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4. Make sure your mobile website is fast
Mobile site speed is now a ranking factor, so your website should load in maximum 3 seconds. You can test your site speed and learn more on how to optimize your site for speed. Keep in mind that users will leave your site if it’s not fast on mobile devices.
5. Keep an eye on stats related to your mobile visitors in Google Analytics
Look at bounce rate, average time on site, pages per session and compare data with desktop visitors. To do this, go to Audience – Mobile – Overview report in your Google Analytics account.
That’s it, keep in mind that mobile becomes more and more important for Google and your site should be compatible.
What do you think about this update? Leave us your thoughts and questions in the comments below.