As an SEO Company, we will teach you Mobile SEO in this free Mobile SEO Guide.
Learn about what Mobile -first Index means in layman’s terms and how to monitor your SEO company’s optimisation.
Read the whole Mobile SEO guide in 5 mins.
As an SEO Company we have to keep our ear to the ground so that we can keep our clients informed of any major shifts in Search Engine Optimisation and on the 26th of March 2018, Google announced Mobile First indexing. We are going to give you executive insights into Mobile-First indexing SEO so that you can direct your SEO company with confidence.
What does Mobile-first indexing mean? For the first time, Google will give preference to Mobile optimised sites over desktop equivalents in the search engine results page or SERP, as this is the only version of the index from now on. Instead of there being a mobile index and a desktop index, with results being intermingled, now only the mobile index will be served.
Why? It’s simple, here are just a few reasons why Mobile-First is favoured by Google and why you should read this whole mobile SEO guide:
Mobile phones are personal.
Mobile phones are a digital extension of ourselves, and an opportunity to deliver a marketing message right to the heart of your audience.
Mobile phones are basically always on!
Mulitple opportunities for touch points with your targeted users!
Mobile phones are almost always with us, the opportunity to make a sale, entice a subscription or just deliver a marketing message is always there.
Built-in payment system
Mobile phones offer a unique identifier, the sim card. With this unique identifier comes the ability to make online payments with ease.
Available at the point of creative inspiration
If a user has a creative urge, the relative app or website is a few screen swipes away. Brands can take advantage of this real-time point of creation
User tracking and measurements
The mobile device, due to its unique identifier, the sim card, or cookies delivered from websites, allow us to measure consumer behaviour with accuracy. Executives can then make data-driven decisions.
To an SEO company, this makes sense as Google was already pushing for mobile optimised sites when the Global searches on mobile surpassed desktop in 2015 already. In fact, mobile-first has been a ranking factor for SEO since 2015 too.
We can see that mobile manufacturers are creating mobile devices with larger screens with each successive model. Again, this supports the trend of mobile becoming the primary searching device. The advent of AMP or accelerated mobile pages should have also been a clear indication of the imminent mobile first indexing. This new format allows for faster loading of mobile content and thus a better user experience. Test your sites AMP
At this time Google is even showing an AMP stamp on some of its ads to encourage engagement.
What does this mean for an SEO Company?
Websites that are mobile optimised will now obviously outrank the mobile-unfriendly counterparts as mobile-first index is now the only index. As an SEO company, we have been mobile optimising our clients’ websites for three years already. So if you are one of our clients then you have nothing to worry about! If you are not one of our clients we can point you in the right direction to test your website as we would as an SEO Company.
Tools used by an SEO Company for Mobile First testing?
Google offers free tools to help assess how mobile friendly your website is. The first tool is Google Page Speed Insights. This tool analyses code and load speed and then make recommendations on improvements. The idea is to get an SEO company to act on these recommendations as some of them are considered advanced. You can then test the SEO Company’s work by rescanning your website after the changes have been made. If the recommendations disappear then it means that your SEO Company has successfully implemented the changes.
Google Console also offers a mobile-friendly testing tool called Mobile-friendly Test. This tool behaves much like what is built in the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool. You should also check your Google Search Console dashboard for regularly as it also advises mobile related issues pertinent to SEO.
GT Metrix is an actual page load speed testing tool. This tool gives you much more recommendations than Google does. The test server is located in Vancouver though and you need to take that into consideration when you see the results.
Checklist for Mobile technical SEO by an SEO Company
We know that most people won’t even know what some of these technical terms mean but try keep this mobile SEO guide on hand to monitor your SEO company. We will try and explain each of SEO optimisation in laymen’s terms. Performance is key when looking at mobile SEO. The faster the page loads the better. In fact, there is a correlation between page load speed and the bounce rate. A bounce rate is the when people hit the back button on the browser before a page is fully loaded or within the first few moments.
Fluid Grid System for Mobile SEO
Fluid grid system allows for a layout to continuously deform or adapt to the changing size of the viewport, the viewport being the size of the viewable website within your desktop, laptop or mobile device or iPad. To get an idea, resize this window by moving your cursor to the right edge of this window and then hold the click and drag it towards the left and watch how content changes in layout with the change of the window size. The narrower the viewport the more the blocks of content tend to stack and move in line to accommodate the best viewing capacity of the user experience accessing the content. This is the significant fact that is important to Google’s mobile-first indexing.
Google wants the user to be able to access and interpret the content with the greatest efficacy, therefore, the fluid grid system in various forms such as grid.css or even within bootstrap frameworks allows for the inline layout and scrolling of content, in turn, delivering a greater UX or user experience. In fact, there is a correlation between bounce rate and mobile responsiveness of design, hence the importance of responsive design is for Google when determining what position to rank your website.
Let Google crawl everything for Mobile SEO
Do not risk hiding code that may be the make or break factor in Google determining that your page is mobile-first responsive or not. It is far less risky to just play open cards with Google, and as an SEO company, you should trust us from experience.
CSS and Media Queries
CSS is an acronym for Cascading Style Sheets. To put it simply, CSS is what makes a website look pretty. It is the visual formatting of the layout, HTML elements and images. Media queries are CSS sheets for each type of device. This means that you are creating a version of your website that is optimised for each device screen size such as iPhone 8 or Samsung 9. Google appreciates media queries because it allows for a better UX or user experience as the design is tailored for each specific device.
You also need to make sure is that your SEO company as a separate sheet for all CSS rather than have it in the body of the code itself. This allows for better loading.
The CSS should also be compressed. You can visit CSS Minifier to minify or compress your CSS. All this does is remove the white space between the code and thus allow for faster loading times.
If you are running WordPress you could replace the CSS in the editor with compressed CSS or find the style.css file in the template directory and compress the entire file. Make sure that all CSS files are included in one file master CSS file for faster loading.
WordPress is amazing, it powers 24% of the web. As an SEO Company, we use WordPress extensively with our client’s websites. It’s SEO friendly and makes uploading content a dream with its intuitive cms or content management system. The issue is that some of these beautiful templates load extremely slowly. The more functionality the more code and the slower the template’s performance. This is worsened when too many plugins are added.
Plugins are essentially mini software program s and thus add to the amount of code and resulting page load speed. If you are about to choose a new WordPress template why not test it first using the tools mentioned earlier in this guide. At the very least you will get an indication of how fast the template loads.
If you have coding experience using a hollow theme like underscores would give you a great low code platform to create your dream theme. It has just the bare basics and is a great starting point in terms of SEO to create a faster loading custom theme.
Hosting and Server Location
Most common hosting is fine for smaller websites with a couple thousand users per month but what if you are a major online retailer? VPS or virtual private servers are hosting options that mimic a dedicated server and offer a faster performance in terms of serving web content to users are an option. The ultimate is a dedicated server, this is the ultimate in server speed.
CDN or content distribution network is another option of delivering content with high performance. Think about server distance vs user experience. CDN offers sleek uniform UX no matter where your targeted users are being served your content.
A Final note on AMP
Accelerated mobile pages are great and certainly seem to affect SEO positively if utilised. They offer the ultimate in performance and show grey blocks while content is loading. Plugins are available as an auto fix for AMP for WordPress sites.
There is an ultimate limitation on richness with media to a certain extent but it certainly has its applications and benefits. Large news sites were the first commercial websites to pioneer AMP for mobile users. This continues to prove beneficial for performance and therefore ultimately SEO.
The Mobile SEO Takeaway
As an SEO Company, what can we say is the SEO takeaway when it comes to mobile first index? Think performance and UX in terms of convenience and helping the searcher solve their problem or need. Help Google fulfill its overarching value proposition and you are always winning in SEO!
Take a deep look at technical SEO too. If everything is sound under the bonnet the UX will be an enjoyable experience! Performance in 2018 is a real ranking factor for mobile!