Oh god. Everything’s changing.
One minute, you’re flying high within Google search results, the next you’re languishing in no man’s land, simply because the search giant (when do we get to stop calling it that?) has decided to focus more intently on mobile websites.
It’s true that we’re largely governed by Google’s search algorithm when it comes to creating a lead-generating online presence for our businesses. But that doesn’t mean we should lose out whenever they make changes.
Mobile-first indexing is here to stay, and it might have a significant impact on the performance of your website’s search rankings.
Here’s what you need to do.
Wait – what is mobile-first indexing?
In March 2018, Google revealed that it would begin placing far more emphasis on the mobile versions websites.
As the name suggests, their index now operates on a mobile-first basis, which means your website will need to work flawlessly on mobile devices if Google is to give it a second glance.
So, let’s get back to what you need to do.
Step 1: stop panicking
Pick yourself up off the floor – this really isn’t the end of the world.
The mobile-first index is a good thing for us all, and it’s totally understandable. By 2025, nearly three quarters of the world’s population will only use their smartphones to access the web.
To ensure you continue to receive leads via your website, it needs to be super mobile-friendly, that’s all. And it may not need a massive amount of work to get there, either.
Even if you do need to invest a little to make your website mobile-friendly, you should see an uplift in page visits, engagement and, hopefully, leads. That’s good for everyone.
Step 2: undertake a mobile-friendliness test
You can do this via two methods:
- Use Google’s mobile-friendliness test to see what it thinks about your website.
- Try the website yourself on your own smartphone. Does it load correctly? If so, how easy is it to use? Do you immediately get frustrated?
Google’s test will give you some great insight into what might be wrong from a mobile perspective, and your own test will reveal what your potential customers are experiencing (you might be surprised).
The next steps you’ll need to take should, therefore, become evident pretty quickly.
Step 3: take your findings to an expert
Now, if you’re an experienced web developer, you probably have all of the tools and skills you need to start making the changes needed.
Chances are, you’re not that kind of person, but that’s fine. Just take the findings from your mobile-friendliness tests to either your original web designer or one you’ve been recommended.
To act on the changes needed, you need experience. Mobile web design changes constantly, and it’s therefore vital that you lean on the services of someone who’s on top of this stuff.
Step 4: think mobile from now on
Once your website has been optimised for mobile, it’s important that you ‘think mobile’ for all future content.
Be it a blog post or landing page, the content needs to have mobile visitors firmly in mind. That means easy to read copy, well-placed and finger-friendly buttons and a user journey which can be undertaken single-handled (literally).
The good news? You’re probably doing a lot of this already – that’s the beauty of mobile-friendliness on the web; it takes what are already good practices and simplifies them further for smaller screens.
See? There’s no need to panic at all. Mobile-first indexing is a significant change for Google, but a much-needed one.
The steps above need to be taken swiftly, so now is the time to hunker down and ensure your website is ready for the new normal (the one involving mobile-first indexing).