This is the last in a three-part series we’ve been writing on Google’s upcoming Mobile-First Index. If you haven’t read the previous two parts, we recommend starting at the beginning before reading this entry.
Previously, we covered what changes Google is making to its indexing system and why these changes make sense. It’s an important change that will affect the rankings of nearly every site on the web. As such, the final part in this series will be going over what you can do to your website to make sure your rankings change as little as possible. Is your site ready for the Mobile-First Index?
Best Practice: Invest in a Responsive Website
Ask any web developer, and they’ll likely tell you that the best approach to any website is responsive web design. This is an approach to web development where the same content is served across all devices, with the layout of that content rearranging as needed to suit different screen sizes. This is in contrast to sites that serve different content altogether depending on the device that’s accessing the site. Responsive websites are by no means a new thing, but their advantages are even more clear with the Mobile-First index in mind.
The strongest of these advantages is that responsive web design is the best way to ensure that all visitors experience your site the same way, no matter what device they’re on. Desktop and mobile browsing will always have their fundamental differences, but responsive web design ensures that the quality of the browsing experience will remain largely the same. And because the content is the same on mobile as on desktop, responsive sites will see no change to their rankings once the Mobile-First index rolls out.
Second Best: Make Your Mobile & Desktop Content the Same
If your website isn’t responsive and making such a change is impractical for your business, then the next best thing is to make sure all versions of your site have identical content. Chances are, your mobile site might currently have certain sections missing, altered, or rearranged to help streamline the phone browsing experience. While these aren’t necessarily bad practices from a usability perspective, that difference in content means your site’s rankings will most likely change once Google begins to look at your mobile site instead of your desktop one.
To make sure your rankings change as little as possible, go through your mobile site and make sure its contents match that of your desktop site. This includes headlines, text, images, and all of the meta information this content might have.
Minimum: Make Sure Your Primary Content is on Mobile
If your company is pressed for time and can’t go through every piece of content to make sure the desktop and mobile versions match, you should at the very least shift your content and SEO focus to mobile. This is what Google will use to rank your site, so treat it with the appropriate thought, care, and considerations. If you only have the resources to focus on one screen size, make it mobile.
Recommended: Hire Professionals
Websites are an increasingly complex medium, and the sheer amount of devices available to access them today only compounds this complexity. Making sure every single one of your visitors sees the site you intend for them to see is by no means an easy task. As these technologies become more sophisticated, it’s becoming increasingly important that sites are built and maintained by qualified professionals with specialized knowledge in their fields.
Rather than preparing for Mobile-First on your own, our recommendation is to hire web professionals to help your site make this transition. Business owners have enough to worry about without having to make sure their site fits in with whatever whim Google has next. Save yourself the time and stress, and prepare your site for the Mobile-First Index the right way.