Did you know 70% of websites have already switched to mobile-first indexing in preparation for Google’s latest algorithm update?
The algorithm update is rolling out this month, meaning it’s time to ensure your website is mobile optimised and not just ‘mobile-friendly’.
Originally due to go live from September 2020, Google pushed back the roll out, stating: “We realise that in these uncertain times, it’s not always easy to focus on work as otherwise, so we’ve decided to extend the timeframe to the end of March 2021.”
Now Google is switching to its mobile-first algorithm indexing and if you’ve not made the necessary changes, you could soon see a dip in website performance and traffic.
Remind me, what is Google’s mobile-first algorithm?
The mobile-first algorithm will give priority to mobile-first websites over desktop. Once the update is rolled out, it will change the way Google indexes websites on its search engine results page (SERP).
Previously Google viewed desktop traffic as a priority, however recent reports show mobile usage is outgrowing desktop usage.
Compared to other search engines, Google also has the highest share of organic mobile search traffic (54%) – which is predicted to keep rising over the next couple of years.
Why should I be preparing for the update right now?
Today is the perfect opportunity to evaluate your website design and content, identifying areas to optimise in time for the roll out.
Use this period to analyse and address whether your website is just friendly to mobile users, or actually optimised for a smaller screen device.
1. Ensure your website design is mobile-optimised
Mobile optimisation is true responsive-mobile design. This means content will resize for multiple screens, resolutions and orientations to provide visitors with just as good a browsing experience as using a desktop.
Consider your website design, is it providing the best possible experience for your users?
2. Evaluate if your content is ready for mobile viewing
Even if your design is mobile optimised but your content is still targeted towards desktop users, you could also face difficulties being indexed by Google following the update.
Consider your audience’s experience with your website when they are visiting via a mobile device. Long paragraphs of text or large images will not be easy to scroll past on a small screen.
By shortening sentences, paragraphs and optimising videos and images, you’ll be improving user experience and also satisfying Google’s algorithm.
However you don’t want to remove important content. While your mobile site’s content doesn’t have to be identical to your desktop site’s content, important content should be kept.
Removing smaller features like email opt-ins won’t have a major impact from an SEO point of view, but excluding things purely because it feels too long for a mobile layout can have a negative impact.
Internal links, navigation and site speed
For example, important content includes internal links. You’ll want to ensure all of the important links still exist on your website’s mobile version, as removing these could negatively impact your rankings as they may change how Google judges the value of your website pages.
You’ll also want to ensure your site speed isn’t hindering your user’s mobile experience. According to Google, 53% of mobile users will leave a website if it takes longer than three seconds to load.
Ideally your website’s load time for both desktop and mobile will be under 1 second, but under 3 seconds is still acceptable.
Get prepared for the mobile-first algorithm update
There is still time to get prepared for Google’s mobile first algorithm update, if you take action today to analyse your website and make important changes.
Discover how to optimise your design and content for mobile with a detailed website audit, and ensure your food business doesn’t suffer from a decline in visitors in the future.