Ways to Get Your Site Ready for Mobile-First Indexing
No matter who your audience is, you can expect two things: they want information from your brand to be easily accessible and available at their fingers, and they want instant gratification. With this in mind, it’s no wonder why Google is shifting to mobile-first indexing. Rather than indexing the desktop version of your website, Google will index your mobile version. This update is expected to take some time to roll out, so it’s possible that your site hasn’t been migrated yet.
There are ways to prepare for mobile-first indexing. Let’s discuss the ways that you can deliver an excellent mobile experience and avoid SEO problems.
Test your site using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool
Before you do anything else, you need to know how mobile friendly your website is. Assuming that your site is responsive is dangerous. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much to learn about your website’s mobile friendliness. Use the Mobile-Friendly Test tool to plug in your URL and test its responsiveness. It only takes a few seconds to get the results.
If your site gets a positive result, don’t take it for granted. There are probably things you can do to make your site better. Pay attention to a Page Loading Issues notification that tells you where there are problems. Obviously, if your site gets a negative result, you have major issues to work on, such as elements that are too close together, small font and slow load times.
Additionally, you can run your own tests by visiting your website from various devices. This gives you a firsthand idea of what your users see when they visit your site from their tablet, smartphone or laptop.
Use a responsive WordPress theme
Choosing a WordPress theme is a fun process because this is what will make your website come to life. But, it’s important to choose a theme that doesn’t just look great but functions well, too. Be sure that your WordPress theme meets the following guidelines:
- Secure and updated regularly
- Well-optimized for all devices
- Won’t negatively affect web performance
- Customization options
- Appealing look and style
- Fully responsive
Go through this list and make sure the theme meets these requirements before installing it. Most developers will provide you with this information in the theme’s description, so you shouldn’t have to look hard to find it. If you need inspiration, here are 43 responsive WordPress websites for 2019.
Offer a smooth user experience
Take things a step further and make sure that all of your elements are easy and enjoyable for mobile users. If visitors are frustrated when using your site, they’ll probably bounce off and go to a competitor. By focusing on the following factors, you can create a seamless user experience:
- Include a clickable phone number
- Add a map to your office that opens in the user’s preferred app
- Keep contact forms simple and offer a keypad option
- Use font that is clear and legible
- Use buttons that are large and easy to click
Select a reliable web hosting provider
Choosing a web hosting provider is one of the most important decisions you can make for your site. If your hosting provider or hosting plan doesn’t offer the speed and resources you need, your site will suffer because of it. A poor web experience will keep people away, hurting your traffic, sales and reputation.
Selecting a host that keeps your website running quickly will improve your mobile friendliness. I recommend narrowing your host options to those that guarantee high performance and minimal downtime. There are a quite a few hosting plans available, but most sites perform well with a VPS (virtual private server) hosting plan.
With VPS hosting, your website has its own virtual compartment. This means that you get your own storage, operating system, CPU, RAM and bandwidth, but you still share the same server as another website. This keeps the price of the host plan down. Other options include shared hosting (you share resources with other sites) and dedicated hosting (you get your own server). VPS sits in the middle of these two.
Improve your site’s speed
Speed is incredibly important in the mobile world. When your site runs fast and efficient, it minimizes bounce rates and improves user experience. To test your site speed, enter your site’s URL into Google’s Mobile Speed Test tool. You’ll get the results in seconds, and you can determine how fast your site loads and how it compares to the competition.
If it turns out that your site could use a speed boost, focus on these improvements:
- Implement caching
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Compress images
- Update all plugins and software
Enable Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)
Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project allows web owners to create mobile-friendly versions of their site’s pages. AMPs strip down content and remove unnecessary media files and layouts. The AMP version of your pages are then served to mobile users for a fast and smooth experience.
Because AMP pages do rely on new technology, it’s helpful to work with an SEO professional to create these pages. If you’re comfortable doing this on your own, you can use the AMP for WordPress plugin that lets you take advantage of this technology without having to understand all the technical details. Download and install the plugin, and it will generate AMP versions of your web pages.
Mobile Websites are Good for Everyone
Mobile websites are good for everyone – businesses, web users and Google. Your site is always a work in progress, so continue optimizing it for mobile devices. Now that Google is using a mobile-first index, it’s more important than ever to accommodate mobile users and provide everyone with a positive brand experience.
To ensure your site is ready for mobile-first indexing, contact WSI Net Advantage at 510-687-9737 or fill out our contact form and we’ll get right back to you.
About the Author
Kevin Dean, President of WSI Net Advantage…
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