What are the best mobile-first index practices to implement before March 2021? | Web-development Issues

Search Engine Optimization is all set to witness a major blow in March 2021 with Google’s major algorithm update on mobile-first indexing. Find out more on how to deal with this major update and secure your position.

 John Muller, Search Advocate at Google, threw a major blow on webmasters when he confirmed that all desktop sites would be completely dropped from the Google index from March 2021. Only mobile versions of the websites would be indexed and ranked.

Desktop users will be redirected to m-dot (mobile) versions of the website by default. Muller’s statement also shared that apart from desktop sites, all the images and other assets of the desktop version of the website will also be dropped from the search giant’s index entirely.

Though mobile-first indexing has been there for quite some time then why this hype now?

 Any website coming live after July 2019 uses the mobile version for indexing than the desktop version. This meant that the mobile version was preferred for indexing and ranking over the desktop one.

What’s new?

But now, things are going to change. As a webpreneur, you have no alternative than to bow to the fate with this new update rolling over the coming March. Now, you have to prep-up your website to comply with new updates i.e. get your website optimized for mobile.

Here are a few mobile-first practices that you need to implement/follow to ensure smooth sailing through the next quarter.

·        Responsive Web Design

If your website is not having a responsive web design, then you don’t have a choice than to implement it right now. Contact the best web design and development company in your area and optimize your website for mobiles and other smart devices to leap the breach. A responsive template ensures that your website stays similar irrespective of the device screen size.

Another advantage of having a responsive web template is that you don’t have to create different versions of your website for different devices.

·        Accessible by Googlebot

You need to ensure that Googlebot (Google’s web crawling software) can access your content and render it. If you are not using a responsive web design, then you should have separate URLs for your desktop and mobile website. Also, ensure that the disallow directive should not be blocking the URLs.

Use identical meta robot tags for desktop and mobile versions of your website else the crawler shall not crawl and index your page in case of any mismatch.

Totally avoid ‘lazy loading’ for your primary content. Lazy loading means deferring the content loading that is not critical or visible. Googlebot would not crawl any content that requires any kind of human intervention such as clicking or typing.

·        Similar UX across all platforms

Whether your user is viewing the website from a desktop or any mobile device, user experience should be similar under all aspects. The content should be the same in all the versions of the website. Keep your H1, H2 and other heading tags consistent and appealing.  Additionally, analyze your structured data and update it as per requirement.

·        Ad placements

Ads can make or break your business. Improper placing of ads can hamper your mobile rankings. To know more regarding ad placements, read the Better Ads Standard for the best user experience.

Read More: How Hacking and Poor Web-design Negatively Impacts SEO?

·        Focus on your visual content

When it comes to visual content such as images, videos, etc., each one has its own best practices to follow. 

For images, providing high-resolution pictures with mobile supported formats is inevitable. Include the images that are high-quality and don’t shrink (or, look too small) when viewed on the small screens. The same applies to videos as well. The videos should be placed appropriately on the page as placing them too far down the page would force users to scroll unnecessarily.

For all visual components, avoid using dynamic URLs because if the URLs keep changing, Google won’t be able to process these components correctly for mobile-first indexing.

Final Words

Things are evolving rapidly and so is the digital scape. People nowadays prefer handheld devices for accessing the internet rather than using a desktop or even a laptop. The primary reason is the convenience and ease offered by mobile phones.

Google always keeps user experience as their foremost priority. Their decision to solely prefer mobile-first indexing is a brilliant way to show how Google cares for us and how much we rely on mobile phones.

Is your website not optimized for mobiles? Then it’s the right time to do it.

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