In October 2016 Garry Illyes, a webmaster trends analyst with Google[1], announced that the number one search engine was going to rollout a separate mobile-index. Google had previously announced it was experimenting with a mobile-index in 2015, but with the growing number of internet users accessing the web via mobile devices (53 percent globally[2]) they decided it was time to implement this new algorithm.

So, what does this mean for you?

This means that throughout the next few months Google will use a new algorithm to rank its search listings based solely on the mobile version of your website.

How is this different from the previous Google algorithm?

Previously Google had a separate algorithm for ranking desktop and mobile websites. Desktop sites were not penalized if they were not mobile friendly or responsive. However, with the increased use of mobile devices and Google’s new algorithm, the desktop version of a website will now rank lower in Google searches if they are not mobile friendly or responsive.

What can you do about it?

First, you need to review your existing website to determine if it is mobile friendly or responsive. If your website is not mobile-friendly or responsive, or if you are unsure, contact us before moving forward. We can assist in determining what sort of format your website is currently compatible with and make the necessary adjustments.

If you answered yes to being mobile friendly or responsive, then we recommend focusing on the following four areas to increase your site ranking in the new Google-mobile index:

1. Site speed

Fifty percent of users will abandon a web page if it takes more than 10 seconds to load, and sixty percent will never return to the site[3]. Users expect websites to load fast, and so does Google. Site speed is arguably the most important element when updating your website for the new mobile-first index. At Achieve, we focus our efforts on increasing your site speed through a combination of tactics that include adjusting the size of images on your page and minimizing scripts to diminish the amount of server requests. In the new mobile-first index, we also suggest creating fast loading pages dedicated to mobile traffic to help boost your ranking.

2. Navigation

When users visit a website on their phone or desktop, they expect the site to be easy to navigate. All the websites we design are responsive, therefore our sites do not require unique mobile art to maximize the user experience. However, if your website is currently not responsive you may need to re-evaluate the art that is currently being used as it is likely to throw off your navigation.

3. Time spent on site

The time spent on your website will greatly increase its ranking in Google’s search results. To increase the time spent on your website we recommend first monitoring your existing incoming traffic to learn the average user’s journey. Once that journey has been identified you should adjust your site navigation to support this path and position the most popular content in a prominent location. To further support your popular content, we also recommend incorporating videos and imagery to increase the user’s time spent your website.

4. Scrolling ratio

Scrolling ratio is another very important indicator that your site is relevant to the audience you are targeting. The deeper people scroll through your website, the more content they are consuming and that is very important to Google. To increase your scrolling ratio, we suggest creating deeper mobile pages. By this, we mean creating pages that align with your target audience and use strategic copy and design to guide them deeper into your website.

Unsure if your current website is mobile friendly or responsive? Let’s review it together and discuss how it can be upgraded for the new Google mobile-index.

Already have a mobile friendly or responsive website but need to improve your search ranking? We are happy you read this blog and would love the opportunity to implement these simple updates to help increase traffic to your site.

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1 Source: http://searchengineland.com/google-divide-index-giving-mobile-users-better-fresher-content-261037

2 Source: https://www.statista.com/topics/779/mobile-internet/

3 Source: https://econsultancy.com/blog/10936-site-speed-case-studies-tips-and-tools-for-improving-your-conversion-rate/