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Mobile-First Indexing & What You Need to Know

Read time: 6 minutes

If your business currently runs a website to promote your services online, (or if you do not, why don't you?) then you'll probably know how important it is. What most organisations in the resilience world tend to ignore though is the importance of mobile websites.  

There is an update coming that directly affects this. It comes from our champions at Google, you know, the search engine that can make or break a business just by deciding where to rank you. Yes, those giants; they've come up with some changes for the times, and you definitely need to know about them.

Fixinc. has put together a few steps to help you keep up with this. It could be the difference between a prospect getting in touch with you, or a competitor.

The update: Mobile-First Indexing

What is mobile first indexing?

Google is our friend because when we want something, we ask it. More than ever, humans need information fast, and lots of it. To keep up with the demand, the Google search engine must produce the most valuable and relevant content possible. That's where the importance of your SEO (search engine optimization) comes in.

Historically, Google search results come from the machine going through millions of documents, content, keywords, videos and resource the web holds within 0.08 of a second. It has primarily done this from a desktop point of view and produces results perfect for a desktop computer. This is what's changing.

Now, when Google searches results, no matter what device you search from, it will favour mobile first websites and results for what you're searching.

What does this mean to your current site?

It means that if you don't have a very responsive or well thought-out mobile site, Google will lower you in the rankings.

Its whole purpose is to provide relevant, high-value content for its users. For example, if you searched Chinese Restaurants near me right now and it brought up a Pizza Hut as the top result, that's a bad experience. So, the algorithms of Google allow you to not only get what you're searching for, but something relevant to you as a user that you may have searched before. It gets to know you.

If your mobile site doesn't keep up with that sort of technology, Google will begin to ignore it. 


Will this affect the resilience space?

It turns out, that between 40 & 65% of our audience use their mobile device to search for business continuity and resilience providers throughout certain periods of the year. A report we ran last month on this for a client showed that while 58% of first time visitors were on desktop (around mid-afternoon), they returned on their mobile within 7 days to read the content again.

If your mobile site isn't on the same level as your desktop, you are damaging your credibility.

Luckily for our sector, we don't rely as heavily on having up-to-date, responsive sites as say the photography industry does. However, we do need to provide an easily digestible platform for our clients to make sure we're the right person for them.

When you present a UX (user experience) to your site, it needs to be able to explain everything you do, effectively, within 2 minutes 30 seconds. The average user moves on before 3 minutes (including content driven & blog heavy sites).

Finding the right developer to help

Few resilience providers have a team of developers and web designers in the office. Outsourcing the build of a mobile website can cost double the price of a desktop build thanks to its complexity & importance. But pay peanuts, get monkeys.

If you're sure your mobile site could do with an overhaul, here are the questions to ask when talking to a developer:

  • What hand over process is there once you're done?
  • What platform are you hosting the site on?
    • If your site is on WordPress for example, they can build the site through your current dashboard which shouldn't cost anything extra.
  • What are the renewable fees to the site, if any?
  • Is the mobile site going to be reactive?
    • This is important, not all phones are the same size and this will help it move onto tablets too.
  • Can the developer simply mirror the content of the desktop site without needing much input from you?
    • If he/she says yes, then the cost should come down.
  • What SEO and/or plugins will they look to add to the site?
  • How available are they for last minute fixes, requirements, and small tweaks to the site?

Finally, have a read of this online resource by Google and see if anything jumps out. If it's a little passed your IT knowledge, forward it to the developer to examine. 

How do I check my mobile site?

Your first point of call is to simply search your domain through Google via a mobile device. How does it look? Does it flow well and are all images and text within your screen? How quick did it load? Is it easy to navigate with buttons that are easy to press?

Google aren't all bad, in fact they're doing this in our best interest; the user. They've also sorted a handy search tool to see how your site does. This can be seen here.

Don't rely on this being the confirmation you need though, you need to get on Google Analytics and review the mobile information. It should look something like this:

This is found on the navigation bar under mobile and overview. The key numbers to be focused on are:

  • Bounce Rate
  • Session duration
  • Users vs New users

If your bounce rate is high (passed 10%), then there are issues to look further into as it means users are leaving as soon as they're on the site. This is true also for your session duration. New users are key, but maintaining the same users is just as important, you want these people to use your site as a resource; hence the important of blogging

What else can I do to stay ahead of the game?

If you advertise via Google Adwords or something similar, it's time to embrace mobile first advertising.

That sounds complicated…

Not at all, and here is how to change it:

  1. Log onto your Google Adwords account.
  2. Navigate to the left and pick your campaign if you have more than one.
  3. Click Devices in the page menu along the left side.
  4. In the "Device" column, find rows that say "Computers."
  5. Click the "Bid adj" cell for your desired campaign or ad group.
  6. Choose Decrease from the drop-down menu.
  7. Enter how much you'd like to decrease the percentage by in the % field and click Save.

How to determine how much to decrease by

Check your current user device via Google Analytics and match that to your ads. For example:

If I have 60% on computers, 10% on tablets and 30% on mobile through my Analytics, I will decrease my computers section on Adwords by the difference because computers are running fine as is. So, computers would adjust to 30%, tablets stay at 10% while mobile become 60%. This allows more mobile ads to show.

Your final step should be to check responsiveness.

This is when your website moves to the size of the screen, it's something fairly new to the world of UX but it's a must. To check if yours is, simply open your website in a browser and squeeze the window together, does the text and images move to fit?

Your mobile site should do the same! Everything from content, the meta data (backend set up) images and experience should all reflect a responsive site. A developer can and should help with this too.

Always ask for help

This can be delicate stuff and is worth getting right! Don't tempt fate and assume that everything is running as it should. If technology automatically kept up with changes, I'd be without a job.

If you need some advice, and free advice at that, simply call or email us and we'll help walk you through what your site needs adjusting or any questions you have.

You can call us on +64 (04) 889 0409 or info@fixinc.org

Mobiles though; what a time to be alive! 



 

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