With Google’s upcoming switch to mobile-first indexing due mid-year, it is time to boost your business with the creation of a mobile-friendly website. Consider the following four tips for optimizing your website on any device in time for the shift to mobile first.
UNDERSTAND THE SWITCH TO A MOBILE FIRST INDEX
Google uses your desktop content to determine your website’s ranking for both desktop and mobile, meaning your rankings now depend on how your content appears on a desktop rather than on mobile devices. But since more people now access the internet with their mobile devices than from a desktop, Google has officially decided to rank websites based on mobile content. If your website does not have a responsive layout, has a slow loading speed or poorly designed navigation and content, your ranking is likely to decrease if you don’t optimize your site for mobile before the shift.
TEST AND ACCELERATE LOADING SPEED
Recent studies indicate that 47% of consumers want a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% of viewers leave a website if the loading process takes three seconds or longer. These statistics, along with Google’s announcement that mobile page loading speed will be a crucial factor for determining rankings after the switch, should be enough to make every business owner double-check their website’s mobile loading time. Determine the loading speed of each of your website’s pages with the use of Google ToolsChrome User and Page Speed Insights.
If you need to accelerate your loading speed, the following methods are among those most recommended:
- AMP: The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project — AMP is an open-source enterprise that employs pared-down HTML to load your website’s pages quicker than standard HTML. This, in conjunction with Google storing your content in its buffer storage, helps to enhance your website’s loading time.
- Progressive Web Apps — PWAs are options for those who don’t want to move to the AMP project. PWAs react quickly to user communications and load rapidly, making them a viable alternative to the AMP.
- PWAMP — PWAMP is a mixture of PWA developed on AMP, JS, CSS, and HTML, but sites using PWAMP might not certify as fast as AMP pages do. However, PWAMP pages are still speedy and offer the same advantages as PWAs.
PUT THE SPOTLIGHT ON USER EXPERIENCE
A typical error that businesses tend to make is adapting their desktop websites to mobile while still behaving as if mobile is simply an addition to the desktop site. To achieve high rankings after the switch, companies must prioritize mobile by making adjustments based primarily on mobile users’ experience. Ask yourself the following questions about your mobile website users:
- Navigation — What does it look like and how easy is it to maneuver? Is it simple enough for users to navigate back to where they have just been?
- Clarity — How easy it is to find important information? Are my title pages clear? Is my contact information easily accessible?
- Consider pop-ups — Is it easy to close pop-ups? Should I reduce pop-ups altogether?
- Font — How big is my font size? How big should it be?
With these considerations in mind, you are ready to move to the final step of preparing your site for mobile.
OPTIMIZE YOUR DESIGN AND CONTENT
After closely analyzing your website based on the above questions, optimize and design your content for mobile with a focus on creating the best mobile user experience possible. There are many things you might want to reorganize about your design and content, but here are some of the most basic changes to make:
- Responsive web design — Google recommends the responsive web design, which is a design approach with the goal of optimizing the appearance and functionality of a site on an assortment of different devices and screen sizes.
- Use drop-down menus — Google stated it would not penalize websites for shielding their content behind drop-down menus if the content loads at the same time as the page, so feel free to incorporate drop-down menus reasonably when constructing your mobile site.
- Don’t use Flash — Most mobile users cannot see Flash content, so avoid it altogether and use Java or HTML instead to add those engaging components to your site.
- Make sure content is easy to read — Make your content easy to read on small screens; provide a few links in longer portions of text, so users can easily get where they want to go and use headers to divide your content and make your pages look neater.
- Make text size and touch screen abilities easy to click on — Ensure your website is “tap friendly” by making your tap points the proper size and leaving ample space between the clickable components.