Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing has made optimizing for mobile essential. But what exactly does mobile-first indexing entail, and how can you prepare? Here’s a guide to understanding mobile-first indexing and 7 key things to check before Google migrates your site.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
7 Things to Check Before Mobile-First Indexing
Assessing Crawlability of Mobile Site
Optimizing Mobile Page Speed
Configuring Proper Mobile Metadata
Crafting Mobile-Friendly Content
Ensuring a Seamless Mobile User Experience
Checking Mobile Internal Links
Implementing Mobile Analytics
Mobile-first indexing refers to Google using the mobile version of a site as the primary version for indexing and ranking purposes. With mobile usage continuing to overtake desktop, Google is shifting to view the mobile site as the main representation of a page.
Previously, Google would typically default to crawling the desktop site and use those pages as the basis for search results. Now, Google is transitioning to index the mobile version first. The mobile pages become the primary pages that Google associates with a site’s core content and uses for rankings.
Google decides whether to index the mobile or desktop version based on factors like mobile friendliness and crawlability. A site’s mobile pages are eligible for mobile-first indexing after passing key tests.
Here are 7 key areas to optimize on mobile before your site shifts to mobile-first indexing:
Proper crawlability of the mobile site is essential for migration to mobile-first indexing. Check your robots.txt file and confirm Googlebot has access to crawl all key portions of your mobile site. Avoid blocking site sections or specific page types unnecessarily.
In Google Search Console, test live fetch and rendering of URL samples from across your mobile site to uncover any crawling or indexing errors needing fixing, like incorrect redirects or technical issues blocking bots. If using separate mobile URLs, implement rel=canonical tags pointing from the mobile pages to the equivalent desktop URLs. Don’t redirect your entire mobile site to desktop.
Eliminate chained redirect issues between mobile and desktop sites which create crawl inefficiencies. Address any other technical problems like site architecture elements that prevent full crawling of mobile pages. Enable a crawlable site map covering the mobile pages. For dynamic sites or web apps, ensure they support crawling and indexing per Google’s specifications and test rendering.
With page speed being a ranking factor, optimize mobile page load times by measuring key metrics like Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, Time to First Byte, and First Contentful Paint. Aim for under three second total load time. Enable compression of resources like CSS, JS, HTML, fonts, images and media files to minimize their file sizes for mobile.
Specifically optimize images for smaller mobile viewports and use newer formats like WebP when browser supported. Streamline delivery of HTML, CSS, JS and other code through minification and concatenation, removing unnecessary code and deferring non-critical scripts.
Implement browser caching of static resources like images, fonts, and JS files through setting future expiration times. Load heavy assets like images or web fonts asynchronously to avoid blocking initial render. Further optimize hosting infrastructure using a content delivery network, efficient server configuration and edge caching.
Properly configure metadata, markup and structured data for the mobile context. Implement structured data like FAQ schema, local business info, articles, product details, etc. specifically tailored for mobile users’ needs. Craft compelling SEO meta titles concisely focused on the most critical mobile page content in under 60 characters. Write meta descriptions highlighting concise mobile value propositions, utility or differentiators in under 160 characters.
Add hreflang tags indicating regional or language variations of the mobile pages for international sites. Carefully implement rel=alternate tags pointing desktop and mobile versions to each other, without blocking their indexing. For AMP pages, ensure proper integration and linking with equivalent mobile pages.
Adapt page content for smaller mobile screens. Use larger default text sizes like 16px+ suited to mobile rather than tiny unreadable fonts. Employ expandable elements to house secondary content details, keeping top-level mobile page copy compact.
On category or overview pages, link to full articles or product pages for those interested in more in-depth details. Structure content using spacing, lists and visual hierarchy for quick mobile scanning.
Chunk content into bite-sized paragraphs. Use sentence lengths of under 15-20 words and get to the point quicker by trimming excessive length. Avoid massive walls of copy. Instead divide into manageable sections with white space between paragraphs. Implement early linking to key pages higher up on posts to facilitate easy mobile navigation.
Refine the mobile user experience through appropriately sized tap targets, simplified navigation and priority content loading. Based on material design guidelines, ensure tap targets are at minimum 44px by 44px dimensions. Eliminate unnecessary pinching/zooming by sizing page elements responsively across viewport widths.
Simplify navigation menus and architecture for streamlined mobile use, sticking to single-level flyouts. Prioritize loading visible content first, then defer non-essential elements lower down until after initial render. Prominently place calls-to-action, forms and contact info expectantly within the flow of mobile pages. Rigorously test across diverse mobile devices and emulator viewports to identify and resolve layout issues.
Ensure proper internal linking and navigation functionality on mobile pages. Verify no broken links on core mobile pages through automated or manual testing, redirecting any dead ends appropriately. Make certain mobile navigation menus, footers etc. link site pages and sections consistently. Use scroll-based tracking to see if pages become disconnected lower down on longer scrolls and address issues.
Make primary categories, products, services and other key pages easily linked from across the mobile site. Enable contextual internal linking between related content to facilitate discovery. Implement ‘Back to Top’ or ‘Jump to Main Content’ links on long pages for improved usability.
To glean mobile-specific insights, add Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics tracking for mobile traffic separately from desktop. Segment key reports, dashboards, cohorts and metrics by mobile vs. desktop data. Analyze mobile-only user behaviors like top pages, conversions, button clicks, form drops, etc.
Measure site speed, engagement and bounce rates distinctly for mobile users to surface issues. Implement attribution modeling and multi-touch tracking inclusive of mobile. Connect mobile analytics back to business goals and KPIs, tailoring measurement strategies accordingly. Build custom mobile reports on platforms like Google Data Studio tailored to stakeholder needs.
Can Google easily access and crawl the mobile version of your site? Here are the key factors to check:
With page speed being a ranking factor, ensure your mobile pages load quickly by:
Optimizing metadata for the mobile context improves discoverability and clickthroughs. Implement structured markup like FAQ, local business, product, article, and review schemas tailored for mobile users’ needs. Craft compelling SEO title tags concisely focused on the most critical mobile page content, aiming for under 60 characters to fit small screens.
Write meta descriptions that highlight concise mobile value propositions, utility or differentiators, keeping descriptions under 160 characters. On international sites, add hreflang tags to indicate regional or language variations of the mobile pages.
Carefully implement rel=alternate tags pointing desktop and mobile page versions to each other without blocking their indexing. For accelerated mobile pages (AMP), ensure proper integration and linking with equivalent canonical mobile pages. All of these metadata factors signal search engines about relevant page content for mobile users.
Adapting page copy for smaller screens enhances mobile usability. Use larger default text sizes like 16px+ suited to mobile rather than tiny unreadable fonts. Employ expandable elements to house secondary details, keeping top-level mobile page copy compact. On category or overview pages, link to full articles for those wanting more depth. Structure content using spacing, lists and visual hierarchy for quick mobile scanning.
Chunk content into bite-sized paragraphs. Use sentence lengths under 15-20 words to get to the point quickly on small screens. Avoid massive walls of copy by dividing content into manageable sections with white space separation. Implement early linking to key pages higher up on posts to facilitate easy mobile navigation. Provide context and linking to detail pages from compact excerpts of content. Format content for legibility on mobile devices.
Refining mobile navigation and usability creates seamless mobile experiences. Size tap targets appropriately based on touch screen needs – minimum 44px x 44px dimensions. Eliminate pinching/zooming by sizing elements responsively across viewports. Simplify menus and architecture for streamlined mobile use – stick to single-level flyouts.
Prioritize loading visible content first, then defer non-essential elements until after initial render. Prominently place calls-to-action, forms and contact information expectantly within page flow. Rigorously test across diverse mobile devices and emulator viewports, resolving layout issues. Reduce friction through design choices tailored specifically for mobile context, easing paths to conversion.
Proper internal linking facilitates mobile navigation. Verify no broken links on core mobile pages through testing, redirecting any dead ends. Ensure navigation menus, footers consistently link site sections. Use scroll tracking to see if pages become disconnected lower down, addressing issues. Make primary categories, products and pages easy to link to from across the site.
Enable contextual links between related content to aid discovery. Implement ‘Back to Top’ links on long pages for usability. Linking considerations specific to mobile enable users to easily navigate and drill-down on small screens.
Dedicated mobile analytics provides insights to optimize. Track mobile traffic separately from desktop. Segment key reports, metrics and data by mobile vs. desktop. Analyze mobile-specific behaviors like top pages, conversions, clicks. Measure mobile engagement rates and bounce rates to surface issues.
Implement attribution modeling inclusive of mobile data. Connect mobile analytics to business goals, tailoring measurement strategies. Build custom mobile reports tailored to stakeholder needs. With mobile rising, ensure analytics isolate that traffic to drive decisions.
With mobile growth outpacing desktop, brands must optimize for mobile-first. Success requires focusing beyond responsive design to the full mobile user experience. Ensure proper mobile crawler access, site speed, tailored metadata and content, seamless navigation and insights to unlock the potential of mobile-first indexing and usage. The strategies above allow brands to reduce friction, engage users and thrive on mobile search and beyond.
Welcome to our Instagram , where you’ll find links to all of our most recent and exciting Instagram posts!
We’re thrilled to share our pictures and videos with you, and we wish you find them as inspiring and entertaining as we do.
At Digital Journal Blog, we believe that Instagram is an incredibly powerful tool for connecting with our audience and sharing our story. That’s why we’re constantly updating our Instagram feed with new and interesting content that showcases our products, services, and values.
We appreciate your visit and look forward to connecting with you on Instagram!