Google explains what mobile-first indexing is quite clearly:
“To recap, our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for”
You may have also received an ominous message within the search console:
The full rollout was announced by Google earlier in the year and Google has set out a number of best practices. However, with the general rollout of mobile-first indexation, the industry is generally confused about how to latch on to this and get ahead. Or, if it will make a major impact.
If you’re looking to get ahead of your competitors to improve or keep your SERP supremacy then there are a few things you can do.
1.Responsive Design and Mobile Friendliness
You may think that your site doesn’t get many mobile visitors so have yet to make your website responsive. With mobile-first indexing impending that doesn’t matter anymore. Even if mobile traffic is less than 30% of visitors to your site, this will be what you will be judged on. It’s now critical that you make your website mobile-friendly.
This is better for users and you should see a general improvement with landing page metrics within Google Analytics. Things like bounce rate and average session duration should come down because users are less frustrated by an unhinged static website.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) has been around for a while. An open source project heavily supported Google and the algorithms appear to favour these type of pages. But, what are they?
You probably haven’t noticed when you’ve landed on an AMP page. Within the SERP, they generally look like this:
See that little power sign next to the URL? That means it’s an AMP page.
What AMP pages are is pretty complicated. But, in simple terms, is a standard for building a page that makes it super streamlined and efficient. Which makes the page load super quick. AMP isn’t without its issues, it’s not very reactive and there’s not much you can play with.
How do you get AMP Pages?
If you’re using WordPress, then there’s a number of plugins which will get you AMP pages with a single click. However, you might not have much control over the styling and you’ll also need to add your Google Analytics tracking code to these pages as well. If this isn’t integrated within the plugin then this can be difficult.
The best option is to get in contact with an experienced web developer who can create bespoke AMP pages that fits your needs and is reliable.
3.Speed and Google Lighthouse Report
Hands down out of all the options the best things you can do to improve the mobile user’s experience is speed. Mobile users are less patient than desktop users, expecting pages to load between 0-3 seconds. Anything more than that – there likely to give up and go elsewhere. This is a sure sign to Google that users don’t like your website.
You can do simple things yourself to improve speed such as optimising your images, Google’s page speed insights can give you handy tips on various ways to do this. You can also go ahead and use other tools such as GT Metrix.
However, if you’re serious about indeed being the best when it comes to mobile-first indexing, then I can’t recommend enough Google’s Lighthouse report.
A lot of the metrics in the report are pretty complicated and really only for a web developers eyes. But, if you thought your site was truly responsive and user-friendly then I dare you to run a lighthouse report. The curtain will be lifted and you’ll see there’s still lots more work to do beyond page speed.
Is there an Even Easier Way?
Yes, there is! Get someone else to do it.