mobile first index mobile home screen

Google’s Mobile First Indexing and What It Means For Your Business

Over the last week or so, you may have heard a lot of buzz around the phrase, Mobile First Indexing. Depending on your social circles, it may be a hotter topic than March Madness. Probably not though. So, to fully understand how this change from Google impacts your business, let’s paint a visual picture.

You’re out and about on the town and find yourself with a bit of free time. When suddenly, the anxiety of boredom begins to wash over you. Before you know it your mind travels to that great pair of pants you saw on your laptop earlier that day.

You immediately get out your iPhone and Google the same site you were searching on your computer. Unfortunately, instead of being met by that great pair of pants, you’re only met with disappointment when the mobile version of their website isn’t as user-friendly as the desktop.

The webpage doesn’t fit your screen, images are distorted, the video content doesn’t work. Not even a second passes before you’ve closed the browser and they’ve just lost your business because their mobile site wasn’t optimized as well as the desktop version.

The search stayed just that, a search.

innovation quote

There’s so much truth to that statement, and it really hit home last week when Google took a Neil Armstrong-esque leap towards making that belief-system impact all our lives.

No matter if you’re a CEO, a marketing manager, a freelance marketer, or a consumer, the fact that Google is switching its website indexing to a Mobile First Index affects us all; and to be honest, unless you work at the Googleplex, no one’s really sure how far reaching the effects will be.

The only thing you can be certain of, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is nudging every business and entrepreneur towards mobile search and purchases, and yours needs to be prepared so you can stay ahead of the pack and increase your traffic and revenue in 2018.

That’s why the Google Partners at Evolve Digital Labs have produced this framework on Google’s Mobile First Indexing.

Review it, show it to your marketing team, download the additional content, and make sure your business is not only ready to avoid mobile mayhem but is also able to increase profits from this transformation.

For the last year or so, Google has been outspoken about the possibility of transferring their indexing to a Mobile-First system. If your SEO team was proactive and paying attention, they saw the writing on the wall and realized, “hey, this is the heads up.”

Well, Mobile First Indexing is here and if your business isn’t prepared or hasn’t already optimized your mobile content to deliver the most outstanding user experience, your business could be negatively affected in search rankings, online traffic, and profits.

If this shows the decision-makers and consumers anything, it’s that Google, Bing, Yahoo, and all the other search engines are banking on our brand’s mobile websites to be the future of not only search but sales as well.

If Google can usher businesses to improve their mobile user experience to be equal, if not better than the desktop experience, then mobile purchases have to increase, right?

The fact that Google is innovating how their AI technology systems categorize and prioritize the crawling and indexing of our data shows us Google is very interested in how your company’s mobile experience completes or fails to get consumer’s jobs done.

If you’re unfamiliar with the process of how Google indexes your website’s data you might be asking…

What is Mobile First Indexing?

In the past, your company’s desktop website was the most important version in terms of data crawling. The Google bots would scan your desktop’s content, then evaluate the relevance of your page to a user’s search.

However, since the majority of the population is now accessing and searching Google on their smartphone, Google decided to make a 180-degree shift. With this change, the Google bots will primarily use the mobile version of your website’s content for indexing and ranking your position in the search engine result pages.

Remember, the sole purpose of any website, whether it’s desktop or mobile, is to provide your customers with vital information that accomplishes their goal: to get a job done.

When considering your brand’s mobile website content, it tends to all boil down to one thing:

Relevancy

 The reality is, while smartphone use is overwhelmingly popular for most activities such as social media, healthcare or automotive search, and news and entertainment, the majority of consumers are still using their desktop or laptop computers for more detailed education and most importantly, their purchasing.

Check out these mobile optimization statistics for 2018:

3 mobile optimization edl graphic

These are all staggering mobile realities considering 66% of consumers are searching the internet on their smartphone as often, if not more than on their desktop or laptop device.

Even though the mobile experience has greatly improved over the last few years, and users are embracing the technology, these trends all amount to one fact: brands aren’t completing consumer’s jobs on the mobile platform efficiently enough.

mobile first index apps finger touching facebook icon

How Will Mobile First Indexing Affect Your Website’s Performance?

If your mobile website and desktop website consist of the same content and your mobile version has been optimized, or if you’re using responsive design, this Mobile-First transformation shouldn’t have much of an impact on your business in terms of your site’s performance in search rankings and relevance to your customer.

But, if your business doesn’t have a mobile website or if it’s not optimized as efficiently as your desktop site you need to review the information below.

It’s not the end of the world, your desktop site will still be indexed. But the lack of a mobile-friendly experience could negatively impact your rankings. What’s most likely to happen is that a site you’re competing with that has a better mobile experience will receive a boost over yours even if your customer is searching on desktop.

There’s no question, the mobile device has become our instantaneous answer to completing any customers goals or questions. However, when it comes to conversions or producing profits on mobile devices, it is still lacking compared to desktop purchases.

So how can people be searching more on mobile, but making their buying decisions on their desktop computer?

Because the user experience is better.

There’s a larger screen, more text and video content available with a cleaner navigation process, which gives your customer the confidence to complete their jobs. But, with this change in indexing, we’ll see the mobile versions soon become just as user-friendly as the desktop platform. If not, your business may be left in the dust.

Ultimately, what these numbers are telling us is that the market isn’t satisfied yet with their mobile experience. They want improvements, they want them now, and when they do see them, you’ll see profits.

How Can Your Business Profit From Google’s Mobile First Indexing?

  • Produce Mobile-Optimized Content
  • Produce User-Friendly Responsive Design

For a more in-depth look, Download Evolve Digital Labs’ Free Cheat Sheet on Mobile First Indexing and see how your business can increase your profits with a user-friendly mobile website.

mobile first index holding phone with app icons showing

Tips For Creating Profitable Mobile Optimized Content:

Let’s get one thing straight, for years now, a mobile-friendly site has been one of the many aspects as to how Google determines your website ranking. Customer-centric content is the name of the game, and if your brand is not delivering incredibly personalized, conversation-starting information then you’re thinking about the customer education process in the wrong light.

Your company needs to become the most trusted and reliable source of information about your industry. Every social media post, blog, download, eBook, or video should be educational, entertaining, and most importantly, shareable. There’s simply too much information available to a consumer to go about it any other way.

Your consumers are wildly varied and there is never a “one-size-fits-all” approach to successful mobile content optimization. It’s vital to understand your consumer, the platform on which they’re accessing content, and what their intended outcome is. Only after your team defines these aspects can you confidently assess your strategy.

Study your customers. What are they trying to accomplish? What are their questions, concerns, and jobs to be done?

Ask your marketing team to fully understand these four customer aspects when strategizing for Google’s Mobile First Indexing:

jobs to be done - four consumer needs - learn - go - buy - do

If your mobile content is completing these questions, then your brand is on its way to profitable search rankings in the new era of Mobile First Indexing.

The saying “customers first” doesn’t even apply anymore. It’s only the customer. That’s all that matters.

Mobile devices are with your customers everywhere they go, all the time, which has made them a first-class cure for boredom and an ever-accessible answer to any problems or questions. But it takes more than a pretty looking page to make your website mobile-ready.

To ensure your content is as effective, engaging and as mobile-friendly as your desktop version, your team has to understand your customers’ search behavior and preferences as well as available solutions.

It’s no question, every mobile users’ attention span is getting increasingly shorter, and if your team serves valuable and engaging content, no matter the length, your visitors will not only read and learn from it, but they’ll share it.

  • Take advantage of mobile apps to spread awareness. A relevant and interesting piece or an exclusive deal will have your customers sharing and talking about your content.
  • Produce high-quality content that tells interesting stories. When your team produces enjoyable content for mobile, your customers are willing to spend time on your website. How many times have you been sucked into a great website’s black hole? Great content will accomplish that.
  • Use images, videos, GIFs, infographics, memes, and articles to attract customers from different angles.
  • Research keywords and use short and impactful headlines. This is a game of seconds.
  • Prioritize your site’s content by importance.

Tips For Creating  A User-Friendly Responsive Mobile Design:

Take a second to really think about the phrase, “Mobile Optimization”. The adjective, mobile, should no longer be descriptive, but instead synonymous with optimization. For many companies, this once meant scrape some of the content off your desktop website and convert it over to mobile.

Not anymore.

It’s suggested that when developing content for any digital platform you must now focus on mobile design, make it as great as you can, then build off that success for your desktop version.

The majority of all online activity is spent on people’s phones. However, the experience still has much room for improvement.

  • The load time needs to be blazing fast. They say golf is a game of inches, well mobile conversions is a game of seconds. If your site fails to load even one second longer than the competition, your conversion percentages drop drastically.
  • Mobile & desktop sites must have structured data.
  • Update URLs on your mobile website. Take out any unnecessary data if it isn’t relevant to the content of the page.
  • Make the purchase process seamless for your customer.
  • Ensure that titles and meta descriptions are equivalent on both versions of all pages.

For a more in-depth education into creating a mobile-friendly website design, download Evolve Digital Labs’ Website Migration Checklist for SEO Experts:

Just remember, your consumers are wildly varied and there is never a “one-size-fits-all” approach to successful mobile optimization.

What’s certain, however, is it’s vital to understand your consumer, the platform on which they’re accessing content, and what their intended outcome is. Only after your team defines these aspects can you confidently assess your brand’s mobile optimization.

However, if your brand garners trust with useful content, you will generate leads, and with enough brand awareness, those leads will turn into customers. That is the end goal and the purpose of your mobile content. Relevant and applicable material is your most valuable tool; with it, you can target new customers and retain your current ones.

Your company must employ a customer-centric research process that enables the collection of the unique customer insights needed to drive value creation and work through the confusion and resistance to make the right choices, so value can be created.

There’s an ungodly amount of money and resources wasted in the digital marketing landscape, and the majority of the professionals don’t seem to know how to fix it. When in reality, the concept of innovation is quite simple.

Innovation in any market comes from a deep understanding of the job the customer is trying to get done, and then doing it for them.

With Evolve Digital Labs by your side, your company doesn’t have to be an SEO expert to improve the performance and profits of your mobile website.

Ensure your mobile website is optimized for Mobile First Indexing and with the right content in the right place, in front of the right audience at the right time your brand will convert its searches into profits.

If managing your company’s mobile website optimization and indexing sounds like something outside of your wheelhouse, let’s chat. The Google Premier Plus Partners at Evolve Digital Labs are here to help.

Evolve Digital Labs is a certified Google Partner, specializing in Search Engine Marketing, Online Lead Generation, Performance Website Audits, Website Optimization, and Content Creation in the Healthcare, Telecom, B2B, and Business Innovation sectors.

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