100% mobile is here: what you need to know

Newsflash – Google is finally setting 100% of the web to mobile first indexing at the end of this month (March 2021). If you’re up to date on your Google Search Console messages, you will probably have seen a notification from Google telling you that your site is either already mobile first or will be moving soon, it will have looked something like this:

But if you don’t know and want to check, you can find this in Search Console > Settings and then by scrolling down to Crawling.

If you only remember one thing from this article, remember this…

All sites will be indexed by Google Smartphone by the 31st March 2021, which means Google will index and rank your site based predominantly on your mobile view.

What is 100% mobile Google?

Google has been working on this for several years now and the 100% mark was meant to be hit by July 2020, but this was pushed back due to Covid-19 (standard!). This milestone doesn’t change any of the existing advice from Google on how to optimise your sites for mobile (those of you interested in what that is, Google gives a great resource here) but does mean that it’ll now rank your site based predominantly on mobile view.

Why Google, why?

As you may know, Google is in the business of serving customers the right content at the right time and ultimately wants users to have a good online experience, so they continue to use its services. And as the majority of searches on Google are done on mobile, you can see why the decision to index on mobile first has been made.

Ensuring sites are indexed mobile first also forces the hand of developers to focus more on fast, clean experiences, as speed is an extremely important factor on mobile from both a technical performance and user experience point of view. So, it makes perfect sense as to why Google is doing this work.

Mobile SEO & Mobile UX should go hand in hand

If your SEO strategy doesn’t consider mobile performance and mobile content presentation, then seriously, where have you been for the last 4 years?! But, that alarming question aside, if you think about what Google wants (great user experience on the results it sends users to) then our objectives for SEO should be very closely aligned with the objectives of UX, Design and Development. If you are serious about your mobile strategy and web design, then your agencies or teams should really be aligned on very similar, or even the same goals here.

All too often SEO and Design bump heads on common flare ups, like…

SEO: I want 300 words of content at the top of the page
Design: This will push our main interaction point below the fold, it ain’t happening
SEO: Well, we need content high up the page
Design: But it doesn’t fit into the wireframes
SEO: I just want us to rank well
Design: I just want a good experience

Sound familiar? In past experience these are some of the most frustrating conversations to hear as both sides actually want the same thing, but because they haven’t been aligned since the very beginning of the project, their goals clash rather than compliment each other.

If Google is after delightful user experiences, then both these teams need to be too, and I think SEOs needs to factor this into account when they strive for the ‘perfectly optimised site’. Our content wants to fit into the experience and the experience has to work for SEO. It has to be quick and it has to be seamless. Aligning these teams over these principals goes a long way to getting a successful project that actually produces a highly optimised site and experience that ranks well on mobile.

Bringing it back to where it began

So, by the time you’ve read this article, it’s likely that every site on the web will be indexed through Google Smartphone and if your strategy wasn’t mobile first already, then you need to have a think about your goals and objectives or run the risk of being left behind.

If you’re struggling to get the right output from your agencies or teams, then aligning them around this common goal might be the perfect reset. It can be hard to get alignment across the board, but it’s not impossible, and is definitely something we can help with.

Do you have any questions about the move to mobile first indexing? If so, let us know over at @homeagencyuk.

Written by:

James Mechan Senior Strategic Search Consultant


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