What is Mobile First Indexing and why is it important that you take action NOW?
Mobile First Indexing is happening in September. And if you own a business or you are the operator of a website, you need to take notice and start preparing now! By the way, don’t bother reading this if you don’t care about search engine optimization or getting more customers through SEO.
Mobile First Indexation
Mobile First Indexing is an update to Google’s search algorithm, which will affect where on the precious rankings you lie. Google has noticed that most searches are now happening on mobile phones, and they have actually been preparing us for this move for some time.
Certain websites have actually already been moved over to mobile first indexing. The ones that have moved over, though, have already taken the necessary steps and most likely have a mobile version of their site.
Mobile First Indexing basically means that, when you show up in search results, Google will show the mobile version of your site. In September 2020, the switch will be made complete and if you don’t have a mobile website or your mobile user experience and speed is poor, you will likely drop in search rankings.
If you have a mobile version of your website, we recommend that you still make sure that it is user-friendly, that it is fast enough, that all the content you have on the desktop version is also on the mobile version.
There are no good reasons to ignoring having a mobile website, and come September 2020, there are no good reasons to have a poor experience on the mobile version of your site.
Uh oh, now you're freaking me out, what do I do to make sure I'm ready for Mobile First Indexation?
Fear not. We spent considerable amount of time creating a step by step guide that you can follow and to be confident that you are ready for this extraordinary event.
Guide to Mobile First Indexing - Find out if your website is ready...
Being ready for this extraordinary event will pay off dividends for you and your business in the future.
Who knows, maybe you’re already ready?
This is a step by step guide, with photos and URLs so you will be completely guided through and feel confident in knowing whether you and your business is Mobile-Ready or not.
FREE STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO MOBILE FIRST INDEXATION READINESS
Go to this URL: Google’s Mobile Friendly Test
This is Google’s mobile-friendly test tool, which tells you whether your website is… well… Mobile friendly!
Enter your website in the top field, make sure you enter your https://…. version of your website.
If your website is a-ok, it should look something like this:
The page is mobile friendly! Now you can test other pages on your website to see if they yield the same result.
Now, there is a chance that you get something like this instead:
Some, like Googlebot blocked by robots.txt, are just informational and not a critical issue you need to fix.
As long as you don’t have too many of these, you are good.
The test is also not perfect and running it several times will yield different results.
This is because your server environment is different every time.
For example, if anyone else is visiting the site (read server, because that’s how the internet works) they could have an impact on server load (taking up resources) and on how long it takes to serve up your website.
It is a good idea to look further into what the issues are:
We created a problem for ourselves, so that we could show you: Here you can see there are 7 (5 on next picture) page resources that cannot be loaded.
Potential issues, although the ‘googlebot blocked by robots.txt’ is not an issue and can be safely ignored.
Now, if you are seeing something different than a Green or Yellow text… Huston, we have a HUGE problem.
You might get something like this:
What does it mean?
Hmmmm, could it be that some of the content is wider than the mobile screen and is therefore creating a poor user experience? DINGDING. Looks like it also has a broken image or a file that doesn’t load properly on mobile.
This is a prime example of something that needs fixing ASAP and are potentially already having a negative effect on your Google rankings.
So, now that you know whether you have an issue or not… We’re not quite done yet.
This first step shows you if a website page is mobile-friendly/user-friendly which is just one part of what Google looks at when they toss you up and down the rankings. Another aspect that is crucial to ranking higher in Google and other search engines is SPEEEEEEED.
Google doesn’t often come out and tell us specifically what is part of the algorithms and what isn’t, but one thing has been stated loud and clear, and that is that speed and page speed optimization is a ranking factor.
It does make sense, doesn’t it? Google wants good UX, speedy sites = good UX.
So that leads us to:…….
STEP NUMBER 2:
Go to this URL: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/
This is also a tool from Google (technically), that looks at a bunch of different factors related to the speed of your website.
Some of these are: Overall speed, speed until it is possible to interact with your website (like a button), how long it takes until the largest piece of content takes to load, how long it takes for the most basic parts of your website is loaded and so forth.
If your website results looks something like this, you don’t have many issues at all and you can safely say you have a fast enough website:
Okay, we’re not perfect, but pretty close… Guess we could save another 0s… we know.
Now, you might get something more down the middle, 50-70 there’s still room for improvements. Under 50? You will with 100% certainty lose to competitors with faster sites and equal or better content.
Considering a 1 second slower mobile site has shown to decrease conversions by 7%, there’s another good reason to speed your site the hell up.
Quick math: 7% conversion loss per second. Lets say your site is 2 seconds slower than average, that’s 14%, so you lose an extra customer for every 9 you convert.
Take your average sale per customer, multiply by the number of customers in one month (or a year if you have low volume, high tickets). Now multiply that by 0.86, just because you didn’t bother to speed up your website by 2 puny seconds.
Bad deal if you ask me.
Anyways, if your results come up like this:
Time to sit down and think about your actions…
There are so many things here that can be fixed. I’m sure the red large X’es gave it away…
This site has a lot of tracking scripts, animations, sliders, videos and more that are blocking rendering and increasing the time it takes to load the website.
The person with this website has a whopping 14 seconds until it fully loads – now that doesn’t mean it takes 14 seconds until it is workable, but in the SEO world, this is pretty bad.
Please note as well that you could click on the tab that says: “Desktop” and things could look a lot more glorious there. But we’re not here for the desktop are we? Isn’t this a guide for MOBILE-FIRST-INDEXING?
Yeah it is..
So, now that you know that there are people out in the world losing one potential customer for every customer they convert because of a slow mobile site. Do you feel better about yourself? What about your score? Is it worse?? Oh geee..
Well, now you at least know where you stand on Mobile Friendliness and page speed.
The next step, doesn’t give you a score or a tool to use, but a simple question:
Ask your webmaster or if you are the webmaster of your own website, answer this question:
Is all of your written content and essential functions available on your mobile-version of your site?
If you have more, or different content on your desktop version than your mobile version, you need to ensure all content and functions are also now on the mobile site.
Mobile-First-Indexing again, means that Google will use the mobile version of your website to rank in the search engine. If you have great content on the desktop version of your website it matters NOTHING if it is not now also on the mobile site. NOTHING.
Google search console – Go onto: https://search.google.com/search-console/about and click: “Start Now”
This should be part of your overall SEO efforts anyways, so get logged on and verify your domain property.
If you are not already verified, here are the steps:
All you need to do is insert a string of text and symbols that Google Search Console gives you, into your DNS configuration.
First, click the +Add Property button:
Then you will see this screen pop up, and here you should put in your main property (URL) without the https:// or http:// part.
Click continue to get the instructions for the DNS configuration.
So, sign in to your domain name provider or hosting service. This means you need to have access to your server backend/dns provider or a kind webmaster to help you out.
Then create a new DNS record, where you should select a TXT record, keep all other fields blank or default, except the txt bit, where you copy paste this code and hit submit/enter/whatever.
Now come back to Google Search Console and hit Verify!!!!
Hopefully you did that correctly and you’re verified…
Add all of your top sites as URLs in Google Search console (in the second box) this is much quicker and easier than the previous step.
Did you add the top sites? At ABSOLUTE MINIMUM, you need to add the HTTP://WWW. HTTP://, HTTPS://WWW. And HTTPS:// versions of your website.
See next photo for awesome reference with beautiful digital handwriting…
Now for extra points, add all the top sites there too.
Why? Because by adding them, you make sure that they are indexed in Google, if they are not, you are only a button click away.
More benefits you say?
Yeah, you get data on each specific site that you load into Google Search Console and Data is the new oil apparently.
Now you can also get in the habit to submit every new page that you want to index (so only those pages with over 300 words, valuable content, no duplicate and so on and so forth).
By doing this, it takes days to index a new site instead of months, and you can rank so much faster.
The domain property aggregates all the data for all sites by the way, if you’re boring and don’t like looking at granular data…
NOW, WE’RE ALMOST DONE!!!!
Now that you’ve added your domain and your other properties… Hang on, there’s one more benefit to this by the way…
If you have a site in different languages (like I have one for english, targeting Hong Kong and one for Norwegian targeting… Norway.) you can tell Google which page should target a specific country.
This is particularly helpful if you don’t have hreflang attributes in your HTML code.
This way you don’t accidentally start ranking for australia, when you wanted to rank in the UK for example.
Now that you’ve added the other properties… You should after a few days (yeah sorry you’ll have to wait for the data to be set up on Google’s end), see something like this:
This dashboard will give you an idea of whether there are other errors you need to attend to.
If you have errors, they look something like this:
This site has a mobile usability error, not good…
To see how to fix it, you simply click the “open report” tab and Google will tell you what the issue is. Now tell your webmaster to get off his or her butt and fix your site. NOW…
Since you now have everything set up, Google will tell you via email if you have any issues in the future and you won’t have to have this scare again, because you came prepared this time..
Got all this sorted? You deserve a beer. Drink it.
Need help with any of these things? I guess you’re in luck…
As part of our SEO efforts, we help companies like yours speed up their websites and make sure they are ready for Mobile First Indexing. It’s an easy process and only takes us a couple of days to turn around. Send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have a WIX site? Toss it out and let us create you a new one. https://www.morecustomergrowth.com/