OneLine – Mobile SEO Agency

Google Mobile-First Indexing – 11 Mobile SEO Tips

Google introduces mobile-first indexing. We reveal 11 tips on how you can perfect SEO for mobile devices.

Author: Sami Gashi
Date: 08.02.2021
Reading time: ca. 7 minutes

In the past, website optimization for mobile devices was just a so-called “plus” for entrepreneurs and web designers. Neither marketing managers nor website owners paid attention to the necessity of mobile page design. This went on until Google abruptly changed the ranking rules. In April 2015, mobile SEO was not a voluntary additional service of internet presences, but a necessary condition – to end up high in the rankings. Suddenly, the term mobile-friendliness enjoyed a different reputation. From that point on, this duo of terms served as the official ranking factor for mobile device search results pages. Likewise, the new ranking condition conveyed a hidden message: mobile SEO is both present and future. Sensitive and attentive SEO experts recognized the importance of this trend shift even then. Therefore, they adapted their pages to Google’s mobile-first indexing. In this way, they also gained experience, which they now pass on in the form of tips. OneLine is one of these experts and summarizes the top eleven in this blog post.

What does the term mobile friendliness stand for?

The mobile-friendly category includes pages that are available to users on mobile devices without restrictions. Various aspects determine whether a website is compatible with a mobile device. These include, for example, the answer to the question of whether users can read the website texts without zooming in. Likewise, the content automatically adapts to the respective screen; users therefore no longer have to scroll. Buttons and links can be clicked perfectly because they have an ideal size and placement. Software tools that hinder optimal page loading are undesirable. However, in 2021, mobile-friendly no longer functions merely as a term, but as a duty. At least for those who want a place high up in the Google rankings. That’s why OneLine points out the top eleven for good mobile-first indexing. Optimal, mobile website optimization also starts at different website areas. Furthermore, the advice refers to technical conditions and the content of the website.

1. The content of the website is ideally accessible for the Googlebot

Mobile websites perform best in a Google ranking if the Googlebot indexes and crawls them completely. In this regard, the robots.txt file serves as a good instructional aid because it provides the Googlebot with information for crawling a website. Experienced web designers cleverly formulate the instructions, which is why no blocking of content happens. Because this causes negative consequences: No error-free interpretation of CSS or JavaScript files takes place. According to OneLine, marketers pay attention to images: the bot crawls and indexes them effortlessly. After a comprehensive crawl, it decides whether a website meets the requirements of a mobile device or not.

2. Periodical analyses increase the success of Mobile SEO

Google updates suggest the importance of regular checks. Periodic analyses and the measurement of success metrics represent an indispensable approach. Dwell time, bounce rate and CTR. These three terms are more than just words. The trio acts as a measurement indicator for the success of a website. Insofar as the three show a declining trend, there may be a faulty web design. Likewise, unsatisfactory redirects and slow loading times cause deterioration. All deficiencies have a negative impact on mobile ranking. Therefore, Google’s Search Console acts as useful support. Free of charge. Likewise, Google Analytics acts as an aid. For checking the loading speed of a website, it is worth using the Google tool called Page Speed. Marketing managers who take these tips to heart are on the right track – to the top.

3. Short loading times increase the ranking success

For mobile devices, the loading time stands for the success of an online presence. Why? – Quite simply because users leave a page. They will bounce if they have to wait a long time for the content. Fatal. For the website operator. Annoying. For the user. Are there other reasons why loading speed plays a key role in successful Google Mobile First Indexing? – Yes. Why? Because hardware as well as connectivity issues occupy a more important place for mobile users than for desktop users. That’s why experts optimize their images. Whereas they minimize their code. Moreover, they count on browser caching and reduce redirects. The aforementioned tips are self-evident, yet a large majority tends to neglect them. However, neglecting the mentioned factors takes revenge at the latest when it comes to mobile website optimization.

4. Optimize title and meta descriptions – for a better Google Mobile-First Indexing

What is the crucial difference between a mobile device and a desktop? In the screen. With mobile website versions, users and designers have a smaller screen size at their disposal. Therefore, it pays to adapt to the mobile page version. URLs, titles, and meta descriptions are short, concise, yet informative. Ideally, the quality of the information content is maintained. Another reason that calls for short and snappy headlines is called time. These days, time is a scarce commodity. Readers skim a web page information first: the titles. Based on this, they decide whether to stay on the page or not. That’s why responsible web designers never neglect meta descriptions and headings, as well as between headings. This optimization is also one of the essential components of mobile SEO.

5. The underestimated effect of the mobile testing tool

Does the user cope effortlessly on the mobile page version? Webmasters answer these questions by providing the URL of the page in question. Then they look at the result. In less than a minute, the tool tests all redirects. Furthermore, webmasters receive the test result as a screenshot. Practical, isn’t it? The human brain works with images. This result proves how clever Google is. Marketing managers can then see how the website looks to the search engine on mobile devices. They also get all the problems that the tool found, along with user experience on mobile devices. These are challenges that result from a mobile device with a small screen. In particular, small font sizes are among them.

6. Desktop and mobile content show no differences.

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Experts offer their visitors an identical mobile and desktop version. Otherwise, the primary content with which webmasters want to rank is equivalent to the desktop variant. After all, Google only uses the website content that the mobile variant displays for search and indexing. Attention: Web designers who intend to provide their mobile pages with less content than the desktop variant run the risk of generating less traffic. Provided they have activated Google Mobile-First indexing. As a result, the search engine is no longer able to present the entire content.

7. The little known effect of images

Short loading times stand for fast loading of the website content and images. Besides, the recognizability of the content plays an important role. Experts use an image editing program. Before they send their images out into the world, they reduce the view. In doing so, they reduce it to the display size of a smartphone. In this way, they can see in advance what the image will look like in mini format. Thanks to this approach, webmasters can also answer the question of whether the main subject is of sufficient size. Details? – Well recognizable. If so, the images will decorate the mobile website. Since users use their mobile devices – especially smartphones – outdoors, out-of-place reflections often occur. However, high-contrast images effectively counteract an undesirable mirror effect.

8. The secret of long-tail keywords

They are not forgotten. OneLine emphasizes on which keyword variation the focus is on mobile SEO. Short-tail and long-tail keywords prevailed in search queries. The latter are used less frequently by users, but they are characterized by an important advantage over the short-tail variant: “Lined, snow-repellent women’s boots for winter”. At first glance, this combination seems very special. That’s right. Nevertheless, it eradicates the short-tail variant because users bounce from non-specific keywords. There are fewer page views and even fewer completions. Keywords should be a rarity in the mobile website version. Of course, webmasters don’t need to change their keywords completely. Instead, they are right by using keywords that showcase their brand, image and product. By doing so, they generate a greater reach. This is precisely the goal of Google Mobile-First Indexing. When in doubt, marketers are right with long-tail usage.

A majority is still not aware of why mobile search engine optimization places higher demands on a website than classic SEO measures. With the desktop variant, companies were happy if they landed among the top ten in the search engine rankings. With a mobile device such as a smartphone, different laws prevail. These are “tougher.” Because the much smaller screens display fewer search results. Thus, informed webmasters aim to land in the top three search results. Thus, they increase their chances of getting website visitors. Therein lies the secret of long-tail keywords. Even though they have significantly fewer queries, they are characterized by higher ranking chances. They enable top rankings in comparison to superficial keywords.

9. Perform Google Places optimization – and benefit

Location-based. This is the way mobile searches usually go. Google ignores this little thing with a big effect – not. Therefore, the search engine predominantly integrates search hits from its own industry search Google Places. However, this service is by no means possible without a separate registration. In addition to the address, entrepreneurs also enter descriptive texts and images of their local businesses. In order to offer users “secure” and “reliable” results, Google carries out a special verification process. Thus, the service provider determines who is actually the owner of the respective business. Especially in the field of mobile SEO, local search queries play a central role, as they are mostly made on the go. Therefore, the optimization of the internet presence at Google Places acts as an integral part of the mobile SEO strategy.

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10. Adjust links and navigations to mobile devices.

Even though a majority of website owners are not concerned about the external links that affect their websites, it is worth consolidating the links correctly. Likewise, these links should be counted for the mobile page versions. This is only until the canonical tags are clear. For internal links, on the other hand, a lack of attention would be negligent. This is because, for these, webmasters need to check that all links are also properly available on the mobile website version. Breadcrumbs skip the mobile pages to provide more space. Thereby breadcrumbs stand for a positive user effect. Google benefits from them as well. Selected online sites choose a smaller website menu for their mobile devices. However, this choice can have an impact on Google ranking because it changes the PageRank flow of the online presence.

11. Responsive Design is the key to success

Although 2021 has begun, numerous websites – still – have separate URLs for mobile and desktop versions. The m.domain.tld. solution serves as a good example of this. Unfortunately, this is not the correct way. It leads to errors, inferior performance and problems. Although Google currently supports such page configurations, they are not an ideal solution. For this reason, responsive design acts as a proven key to success. This is because it adapts to the space available depending on the device size.

Conclusion

Mobile SEO poses special challenges to webmasters because they have a smaller screen size at their disposal. In addition, the goal is no longer to grab one of the top ten spots in the search results but to land among the top 3 hits on Google.  They also need to review their keywords and switch to long-tail if necessary, as these increase success. Entrepreneurs who have left out Google Mobile-First Indexing must adapt to the conditions of mobile search engine optimization by March 2021 at the latest. Otherwise, they will be lost in the sea of competition – in the worst case. Mobile search engine optimization is displacing the classic version of SEO because users are switching from desktop versions to mobile websites. However, therein lies the main task of search engine optimization: to adapt to the needs of users.