Google Mobile-First Indexing Practices To Improve Ranking


10 min remaining

Website owners used to be concerned only with the display of their websites on desktops back in the day.

Site owners were forced to cater to a new group of visitors, those using mobile devices, as technology improved and continues to improve.

Website owners must optimize their websites for mobile-friendly experiences, as mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops now account for almost half of all internet traffic worldwide.

You don’t want your website to be unable to display well on mobile devices.

Your website must be mobile-friendly to Google’s mobile first indexing to ensure that you continue to rank high in search results.

What is Mobile First Indexing?

Mobile-first Indexing refers to Google looking at all mobile websites before indexing or ranking content for search results.   

Google created this ranking factor because most people use Google on their mobile devices. It encourages site owners to prioritize mobile-friendliness to give site visitors seamless user experiences.

Google is all about the user experience.

These top tips will help you optimize your website for mobile-first indexing to ensure your site ranks well in search results.

1. Verify using Google Search Console

Google Search console is a Google service that allows you to monitor and troubleshoot the presence of your website in search results.

Although you don’t need to use Google Search Console in order to rank high in search results, this data will help you understand how Google views your website and make suggestions.

Website owners who wish to be the best in their niche are going to need it, given how competitive SEO is in all industries.

The Google Search Console has many benefits

Enter the domain address/URLs that you want to verify and click “Continue” to confirm.

Next, copy the following line of text to your DNS configuration. You can access this file from the control panel of your hosting account.

You can verify your website using Google Search Console to gain access to information like:

  • Google crawls and indexes your website
  • Indexing problems to fix them and submit for re-indexing
  • Google Search traffic data includes information about how often your website appears in search results, which queries display your site and how many people click through to those queries.
  • Your website is vulnerable to spam and hacking
  • What other websites link to your site?

Use the Mobile Usability Checker

Google Search Console automatically monitors your site for mobile-user issues.

First, add your website to Search Console. Once you are ready, click “Mobile Usability”, under the “Enhancements” section of your dashboard.

You should immediately see a timeline that includes all pages with mobile usability issues and those that perform normally during user sessions.

The Mobile Usability Checker will not provide a complete checklist of the steps that you must take to make your mobile experience better.

The Google Mobile Friendly Test takes over.

2. Ensure Mobile-Friendliness

You can quickly determine if your website is ready to be indexed on mobile devices by using Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.

This tool is free and will instantly tell you if your website is mobile-friendly. Simply enter the URL of your website and click “Run Test”.

These are the only interactive elements on this site. Don’t miss them!

The Mobile-Friendly Test should not take too long to analyze your page and identify any problems in mobile usability. To show the full scope and power of the tool’s analysis let’s do a test on The Worst Website Ever.

Let’s talk briefly about the reasons TWWWE failed to pass Google’s Mobile Friendly Test. It’s best to avoid similar problems on your website.

Text too small

Optimizing your website for mobile useability is a matter of principle. Avoid using small fonts that might be difficult to read on smaller screens. To maximize your content’s readability, it is a good idea to use white space.

Viewport not set

The viewport meta tag controls the page’s scaling and dimensions. The Mobile-Friendly Test will indicate that your site has not set the viewport meta-tag. This means that web browsers are left without the instructions to render the page.

Content is more than screen

While large content can be viewed comfortably on a desktop computer, it is not possible to do the same on mobile phones. Although users can enable “landscape mode”, it doesn’t allow for wide content to be properly viewed. However, it does not hinder the user experience.

Clickable Elements Too Close together

Remember that mobile users rarely use precision interface devices such as keyboards or external mice. Clickable elements, from buttons to forms, must be spaced evenly so that their experience is smooth.

Mobile-Friendly Test will help you identify the resources you need to optimize your mobile experience.

Clicking “Learn how you can fix these errors” will take you to a list of problems with links to additional guides.

3. Use responsive design

Google has confirmed that responsive design is a great way to immediately improve your search rankings.

Responsive design ensures that you serve the same content to mobile and desktop users. There is no difference in content.

This basically tells Google that nothing has been changed and to keep ranking the same.

Responsive design is a great way to ensure that your website’s content displays correctly on any device.

Because responsive design adjusts to your screen size, it doesn’t require users to scroll or zoom in excessively to view the content.

This is a great way for you to improve your rankings, since Google is all about user experience.

However, responsive design is more than just using a responsive template or theme on your website and hoping for the best on mobile devices.

These are additional web design best practices:

  • Mobile popups can make your site difficult to navigate and are often hard to remove on smaller screens.
  • Flash is not recommended, as Apple phones don’t permit Flash elements to be viewed.
  • Your call to action button should be large enough so that even small-sized users can click it
  • Avoid using too many images on mobile sites as they can clog the screen and distract from your value proposition.

You can survive mobile-first indexing by using responsive design for your website.

With a few design tweaks you can get ahead of the rest and rank higher than ever while still providing great experiences for mobile users.

Use the Responsive Tester Tool 

Regular testing is crucial when you implement mobile responsiveness to your website. This will ensure that everything displays correctly.

Testing responsive websites can be stressful and time-consuming.

Mobile devices have different screen layouts and resolutions, which is the main problem.

If you have a website that was only tested on a smartphone with a 1080p resolution, it might not render correctly for iPhone XR users who have an iPhone XR with a 1,792×828 (828p screen resolution).

You don’t need to test every device. You can use the more detailed Responsive Checker tool to ensure that people are able to navigate your mobile website in the way you want.

This tool allows you to instantly see how your website looks across multiple devices, including tablets, smartphones, laptops and tablets. It eliminates the need for optimizing for too many devices. Click the device name in the left sidebar to change the model.

Responsive checker’s best feature is the ability to navigate through your website’s pages and ensure that your homepage displays correctly.

This will allow you to see how your site is being viewed by mobile users.

This will help you to identify any issues in web design and functionality that you don’t know.

4. Optimize Metadata

Your site’s metadata is crucial when it comes to mobile first indexing.

This information is used to inform Google search users about your content. It also tells crawlers how they can index and rank your site.

Meta descriptions and image attributes are essential metadata for optimizing your website.

To ensure that your content is found in search results for the right audience, you should include your target keywords on your landing pages and product pages.

Use SEMRush to find keywords that will be relevant to your site’s content.

This tool will show you information about keywords like

  • Volume of organic and paid searches
  • Average cost per click
  • Keyword alternatives
  • Already ranking websites for this keyword
  • Advertisements that use this keyword

Once you have narrowed down your keywords, you will know what words to include in your content.

Here’s an example for a well-written meta description and content title as it appears in a Google Search result.

You will notice the keyword “mobile first index” appearing in the meta descriptions and the content title.

Another thing you should be aware of that can impact how high your site ranks in search results is your domain name.

This site is trying rank for search engines like Google and mobile-first indexing.

It just so happened that they included the keyword search engine in their domain name purchase.

Google crawlers will see this domain name as a signal to them that the site is focused on search engines, and should rank it accordingly.

It also helps users to identify from the millions of search results which website is reliable in providing information on topics related to search engines such as mobile-first indexing.

Every element that people see in search results such as meta descriptions, content titles, keywords and domain names, all play a part in how you rank, especially for mobile devices.

Start by doing your keyword search.

To increase your SEO efforts, create compelling titles and descriptions.

Last Thoughts

It’s easy to prepare for Google’s mobile first indexing.

You want your visitors to have a wonderful experience every time they visit your website, regardless of what device they use.

Preparing for mobile-first indexing is a great way to do that.

These tips and tricks will help you optimize your website for mobile-first Indexing.

About the author

Kobe Digital is a unified team of performance marketing, design, and video production experts. Our mastery of these disciplines is what makes us effective. Our ability to integrate them seamlessly is what makes us unique.