Google has already announced its switch to a mobile-first indexing strategy, where the mobile version of your site is used to index your website instead of the desktop version. The new mobile-first indexing strategy is rolling out slowly but has already been implemented since 2020.
22% of internet users are mobile users. And this big number is growing by the day. Keeping that in mind, Google released its new indexing algorithm, which prioritizes the mobile version to index and ranks SERPs, unlike the classic algorithm.
With all the updates and Google SEO algorithms rolling, your SEO team needs to be on their toes to keep pace with he changing SEO. If you don’t have an internal SEO team, then hiring an SEO services agency is the best solution.
This blog is created to provide insight into Google’s mobile-first indexing best practices and how you can make the necessary changes to your website to comply with them.
Google Mobile-First Indexing
Google Mobile First Indexing is a system that Google uses to index websites. It was first introduced in 2016 and is designed to index websites based on their mobile versions rather than their desktop versions. It is because more and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet, and Google wants to ensure that its search results are relevant to these users.
Mobile-first indexing has significantly impacted how websites are designed and developed. Previously, many companies would develop their website for desktop first and then create a separate mobile version that would be less functional and have a different design.
However, with Mobile-first indexing, it is now necessary to develop the mobile version of a website first, as this is what Google will index. It has led to a change in how companies approach website development and has had a major impact on the design and user experience of many websites.
Now, let’s understand the important factors affecting your indexing in Google mobile-first indexing.
Factors to Consider While Optimizing for Google mobile-first indexing.
Your content must be easily accessible to Google.
The mobile-first index requires your content to be easily accessible to Google on mobile devices for it to be properly indexed and ranked.
There are a few things you can do to ensure your content is accessible to Google on mobile devices:
- Make sure your website is responsive and mobile-friendly.
- Ensure that all your content is accessible and viewable on mobile devices.
- Check if your website loads quickly on mobile devices.
Ticking off these basic requirements will surely put your site ahead of many and enable your content to be properly indexed and ranked by Google.
Keep the content the same on both the desktop and mobile.
The huge shift from prioritizing desktop to mobile needs you to ensure your mobile site is up to par with your desktop site. You can no longer get away with having a separate mobile site stripped down and lacking the content and features of your desktop site.
It means you now need to put a lot of thought into your mobile site. It should be well-designed, containing the same content as your desktop site. You also need to ensure that it is easy to use and navigate.
Both mobile and desktop should contain the same Metadata.
Another important factor is taking care of the Metadata of your desktop and mobile website. If you don’t want your ranking to suffer, you must put the same Metadata on your site’s mobile and desktop versions.
In case you don’t know, Metadata is the information about a website, such as a website’s title, description, and keywords.
You can add metadata to your website in your HTML code’s <head> section. You’ll need to use the <meta> tag to do this. The <meta> tag provides information about a website to search engines. The <meta> tag will help specify the website’s title, description, keywords, and other information.
Here’s an example of how to add metadata to a website:
<meta name=”title” content=”My Website”>
<meta name=”description” content=”This is my website”>
You can also use the <meta> tag to specify other information about your websites, such as the author, copyright, and viewport.
It’s important to note that you should only include information in the <meta> tag that is relevant to the content of your website. Including irrelevant information could result in your website being penalized by Google.
Check visual content
Optimized content is the key to ranking higher on Google. Thus, optimizing your images and videos is more important than ever, especially in taking care of the SEO for mobile devices.
You can do a few things to optimize your images and videos for Google Mobile First Indexing.
First, make sure that your images are in the correct format. Google prefers images that are in .jpg or .png format. You should also make sure that your images are sized correctly. Google recommends images that are no more than 1200 pixels wide and 800 pixels tall. Small file-size images load quickly on mobile devices.
Second, use descriptive file names and alt text for your images. With this, Google can understand what your images are about and how they relate to your content.
As for videos, Google recommends that they be in .mp4 format and no more than 1080p resolution. You should also ensure that your videos are hosted on a mobile-friendly platform like YouTube or Vimeo.
And lastly, you must host your videos on a mobile-friendly platform like YouTube or Vimeo.
That said, more practices can be highly beneficial for securing a good rank in Google.
Additional best practices for separate URLs
- The error page status must be the same for desktop and mobile sites.
- The mobile version shouldn’t have fragmented URLs.
- The desktop versions with different contents must have the same mobile versions.
- Use the Search Console to validate both versions of your site.
- Use separate URLs to check the hreflang links.
- Your mobile site version must have enough capacity.
- Your robots.txt directives must be equivalent on the mobile and desktop versions.
The last word
That’s all about Google mobile-first indexing. Google wants you to take care of many things if you want them to consider your site for indexing. If you keep these points in mind, you’ll surely appear at the top of your SERP rankings.