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Mobile First: How To Use It To Boost Your Rank On Google

Mobile First How To Use It To Boost Your Rank On Google

The Mobile first index has meant a before and after for many web pages that have lost their online visibility because they are not adapted to mobile devices.

If you do not have a mobile-friendly design on your website, you will NOT rank in Google. 

If you want to know what mobile first is and what practices to carry out on your page to optimize your content for mobile and improve your general SEO positioning, keep reading.

What Is Mobile First Index

Mobile first indexing or Mobile-centric indexing….

Call it what you want, the fact is that now Google indexes and positions the mobile versions of your website content through the tracking carried out by its agent for smartphones.

This means that Google uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.

  • Or you have your website designed, adapted and designed for mobile users.
  • Or you are very bad at SEO positioning.

This has been the case since September 2020, although Google had announced the launch of the new algorithm update prior to this date so that we could be prepared.

Background And Importance Of Mobile Friendly Design

Let’s see, this is a matter of logic that responds to the evolution of how we perform searches on Google.

And we have this clear: mobile searches currently win the game over desktop searches.

Google knew about it a long time ago, note that in 2016 they were already talking about mobile-first indexing and since July 2019 it was already applied to new websites.

And it’s normal.

Put yourself on the user’s side. When you browse and land on a page that is not optimized for mobile, it can be frustrating.

So, the best thing you can do as a webmaster is to have a mobile-optimized website and offer the same content for users who arrive from desktop, mobile or tablet.

Google has no preference for any particular URL format, as long as all Googlebot user-agents can access all pages and their elements.

That said, you have to think mobile.

And how to do it?

Well, here are some tips and good practices so that nobody leaves your page angry and Google can enter, crawl, index and everything that is necessary so that you can appear in its results and receive traffic.

How To Rank With Mobile First Index

Note that Google itself claimed that 70% of websites had already automatically switched to Mobile first Index. That means that 30% of the pages were not ready. And that, considering the millions of web pages that exist, is a lot.

By the way, if you don’t know if you have been upgraded to Mobile first, you can check it at:

  • Search Console, in the coverage section. In any case, if Google moved you to Mobile first index, you would get a notification and an email.
  • In the server logs, the Googlebot smartphone user-agent is this:

Basic Principles With Mobile First

According to Google itself, there are three key points to optimize your website for mobiles and they are these:

  • Tell Google if your page is formatted for mobile.
  • Make sure that the resources are accessible so that the robot can track them. If you can’t access page resources like images, CSS or JavaScript then your page may not work well on mobile browsers.
  • Avoid typical mistakes, such as including videos that cannot be played on mobile phones, such as a flash video.

If you still do not have a responsive version of your website, keep in mind that the key is to start with the current content for the desktop and create a design pattern optimized for mobile devices.

You can implement AMP or simply have a template with a responsive design like Orbital theme that does not pose a problem for the experience of users who visit your page from a device with a screen smaller than that of the PC.

In a responsive web design, we use the same URL and the same code regardless of the user’s device from which the visit to the page occurs.

Depending on your business and development model, you may need to hire a developer.

Be that as it may, it is recommended to use wireframing to view the content on different screen sizes and ensure that it is viewed correctly on any device.

Google Best Practices

Having the above clear, there are a series of practices recommended by Google to adapt to the Mobile first index that you should know:

1.- Access And Processing Of The Google Robot

This is essential. For Googlebot to be able to access your content and process it correctly, you must:

Use the same meta tags for desktop and mobile in order for proper crawling and indexing to occur. Be very careful with the “NoIndex” the “NoFollow”.

2.- Same Content As In The Desktop Version

This is a very common mistake, but the truth is that Google itself emphasizes the importance of displaying the same content on the desktop version as on the mobile version.

If you show less content on your mobile version, Google will not be able to access the full desktop content as a cause of the mobile first index (it is the mobile content that counts).

Keep in mind that this is important even at the header or design level as Google might understand the content differently.

3.- Pay Attention To Structured Data

They must be the same, both in the desktop version and in the mobile version. For possible errors it is advisable to check the data market panel.

4.- Pay Attention To The Formats Of Your Ads

If you are going to insert ads on the mobile version of your page, make sure you choose the correct formats because many are not compatible with the mobile experience.

5.- Recommendations For Images

  • Use high-quality images that don’t look too small on mobile or even blur due to low resolution.
  • Use an appropriate format and if it can be the latest generation, such as Webp, all the better.
  • Use the same alternative text (alt) in the images for both versions (desktop and mobile).

6.- Recommendations For Videos

  • Do not use dynamic URLs to upload your videos.
  • Use proper formatting with the <video>, <embed>, or >object> tag.
  • It uses the same structured data for videos on desktop and mobile.
  • Place the video in a section of the page where mobile users don’t have to scroll down too far.

Other Mobile Friendly Recommendations

They are pure logic, so don’t get overwhelmed.

The most important to consider without going into technicalities or the developer’s work, are these:

  1. Mobile Content

Look, optimizing content for mobiles involves eliminating unnecessary resources that perhaps made more sense on desktop.

Think about what AMP does and how it displays information when it’s implemented without additional ad plugins, shortcodes, and other stuff.

  1. Reduce Loading Speed And Improve Page Speed

Also worry about optimizing load times (take a look at this Moz page speed guide and Google’s own developer documentation), sizes, browsing experience and think about everything that is not visible on mobile.

For example: the sidebar and widgets, menus, etc.

Check your current page speed in Google’s own Page Speed Insights tool or load speed in tools like GTMetrix.

  1. Optimize Sizes

Pay attention to the size of the font and the buttons.

This usually generates alerts in Search Console, so if there is a button causing problems, you will receive an email with the warning.

  1. Beware Of Forms

Check that the form fields and the button are displayed correctly on mobile and on any screen size.

The moment the user has to enlarge or reduce the screen with their fingers, you will be losing leads.

  1. Blanks

It is important for a number of reasons that you break your paragraphs up. Create shorter paragraphs because your visitors can’t cope with huge block of text.

White spaces are necessary to let the text breathe, but do not go overboard and check how they look on mobile before publishing.

  1. Remove CSS Or JavaScript Blocks

Googlebot is perfectly prepared to access and render these types of resources, so don’t block them because they are essential to determine if your website is responsive.

To review all implementations, I recommend using an emulator so you can see how your page looks on any screen size.

  1. Pop-Ups

Google has already ruled on pop ups on numerous occasions. Yes, you can have them, but if we are thinking about mobile, perhaps it is not the most appropriate.

At least if you keep it, make sure it looks good without changing screen sizes and that it can be closed easily from a mobile.

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Chris Cantell is the founder of Stealth SEO Solutions, an expert SEO specialist company that gets results.

Chris Cantell is a renowned, world class SEO expert with an impeccable reputation for achieving impressive page 1 ranking results on Google.

Chris is a master in his field and has been training SEO agencies around the world for years with his “secret” cutting edge online marketing strategies.

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