Just over a month ago, Google announced the big news… on April 21st the internet giant will introduce mobile usability as a ranking signal to their current search algorithm, all with the intention to follow up on their promise of a more mobile-friendly user experience.
The change will introduce a ranking signal that will help users easily locate mobile-friendly content via search results. The new results will also start including information from indexed apps, which will result in app content appearing more frequently in user searches.
The algorithm revamp will do wonders for the 77% of us who use our mobile devices to search – even when our desktops are well within reach. This handy checklist will ensure you emerge as a winner as a result of this algorithm update…
1. Take Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test
The first and easiest step to diagnosing how Google rates your website (in terms of being mobile-friendly) is to take Google’s own mobile-friendly testing tool.
If your website passes with flying colours, you have nothing to worry about. However, if your website fails the test, you’ve got some work to do on your website in order to prep for the updates. Google gives you some advice on how to make your website more mobile-friendly should your website fail the test.
2. Perform a PageSpeed Insights test for mobile devices
Use Google’s Page Speed Insights test on the main pages of your site. This tools analyses your website speed performance on all devices and gives you recommendations on how to improve page speed. Page speed is a critical factor in SEO and conversion rate optimisation. Slow websites lead to higher bounce rates and poorer user experience, which contribute to lower search engine rankings.
3. Configure Your Site for Mobile
Choose the mobile configuration carefully for your site. You can do this by choosing one of the three configuration options: responsive web design, dynamic serving or separate URLs.
Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and Google doesn’t favour one in particular, so decide which is best for your site and go with it. At Marketing Results, we favour responsive design as it is very effective at shifting the design according to the viewer’s device and/or screen resolution. Building a responsive website also means you only have to maintain one website.
4. Tell Search Engines Which Configuration You’ve Chosen
Next you should signal your site’s mobile configuration to search engines, which allows all search engines (not only Google) to recognise and read your site setup.
The way to signal to search engines depends on which site configuration you’ve chosen, so be sure to use the correct signal depending on the method you’re working with.
5. Avoid These Common Mobile Site Mistakes
Avoid these common mistakes that often show up on mobile sites:
- Unplayable content
- Faulty redirects
- Mobile-only 404s
- App download interstitials
- Irrelevant cross-links
- Slow mobile pages
6. Don’t Forget Devices Besides Mobile Phones
When setting up your mobile site, be sure to configure for other devices. While your main focus may be on smartphones, there are other devices out there that also need relevant and easily accessible content. Be sure your site is not only prepared for smartphones, but also for tablets, desktops and special feature phones.
Once you’ve gone through these 6 steps, your website will be ready for mobile-friendly searches and will appear higher in the mobile search engine results after the 21st April.