SEO company in Port Washington, NY
Late last month Google confirmed that it had begun rolling out its mobile-first index to more websites. Those now being migrated are the sites that follow best practice for mobile. As your chosen SEO company in Port Washington, NY we’re here to help you make the grade when it comes to mobile-first.
Recap: What is the mobile-first index?
Before we delve into how you can prepare your site for the new mobile-first index, it’s worth taking a few moments to understand what this index actually is. Essentially, it’s a brand new way of ranking websites. Rather than crawling and then indexing based on the traditional desktop version of your site, Google will assess the mobile version and determine rankings based on that. The search engine is making this change as more people now search from a mobile device than a desktop computer.
Even if you haven’t yet commissioned a mobile version of your site or found a web design New York partner to build a responsive site, Google will index your site based on its new mobile-first criteria. It will simply use the desktop version of your domain and hold it to mobile standards instead.
What should your SEO company in Port Washington, NY be doing to help you prepare for the mobile first index?
Google has been warning of the move to mobile-first for a while (it originally announced it was experimenting with a mobile index in 2016), so some of the changes that the mobile-first index requires should already be on your radar.
If you’ve worked with a web design, Port Washington New York agency recently, the changes you need to make to prepare your site for the mobile-first index should be minimal. If not, your SEO company in Port Washington, NY will be able to help with the following:
#1 Check page load times
Page load speed is a critical factor for mobile-first indexing so, even if you don’t meet the threshold for being migrated now, it’s something you will need to address sooner rather than later.
Google offers a free page load speed testing tool which you can access here. Simply input your URL and wait for your site to be scanned. The tool will tell you how long your site takes to load, give it a grade and provide a free report with ideas for speeding up your load time. It will also tell you what proportion of visitors you’re likely losing due to slower page speeds.
#2 Assess your use of images
While working with your chosen SEO company in Port Washington, NY, it’s well worth spending some time on image optimization. Too many images will not only slow down your page loading times, they can also cost you conversions. Research conducted by Google in 2016 found that on mobile sites, pages with fewer images often convert better so some redesign may be needed.
The type of image file you’re using on your site matters too. A jpeg is lighter, smaller and quicker to load than a PNG file for example. This means you (or your web developer or SEO agency) will need to review your entire image archive. Check if images are compressed and in the smallest format.
#3 Ask your SEO company in Port Washington, NY about AMP
AMP was invented for the mobile web so it’s a good bet that it will become more valuable from an optimization perspective as the mobile-first index is rolled out. In its simplest form, AMP is an abridged version of HTML. The code is lighter and less complex and it was created (by Google) to make pages quicker to load and easier to access on mobile devices.
When you conduct a Google search on a mobile device, AMP content will often appear in the carousel above the main search results. This means that not only will implementing AMP give your content an extra boost of visibility, it will also be quicker to load and more useful to your customers and potential customers surfing from a smartphone or tablet. You can find out more about AMP and access an open source code library here.
#4 Review design elements
If your mobile site is essentially a duplicate of your standard desktop site, you could be in trouble when you’re transitioned to the mobile-first index. Much of what SEO experts understand to be best practice for mobile is based on what constitutes a good user experience. This means that while it’s acceptable for your desktop site to have pop-ups, they aren’t as easy to navigate around on mobile and can frustrate mobile device users.
It’s also harder to browse on the smaller screen of a smartphone so menus should be consolidated and streamlined. Likewise, contact forms should be made as simple as possible and Flash elements removed.
#5 Think local
Mobile search is all about local. How many times have you turned to your smartphone or voice search to find a product or service “near me”? Local and mobile are intrinsically linked and you should keep this in mind when preparing your site for the mobile-first index.
If you need help preparing your site for Google’s new default search index, call us today to find out more about our web design, New York area services. 516.883.3851.