We’ve been hearing that Google is going to a mobile-first index for some time now, and most people I talk to are wondering what that means. Well, what it means is that your mobile site is soon going to be your most important site. It will be the basis for everything you do online, just like your desktop site was your home base ten years ago. One concern Google has with mobile first is faulty redirects. Their concern is that a user on a mobile device might hit a page on a desktop site by accident and then be redirected to a completely irrelevant page on your mobile site.
If you have separate desktop and mobile sites, this is one of the main problems you can have. It’s caused by not having exactly identical sites, or by having different navigation structures. The best solution to this problem is to have one responsive site that works across both desktop and mobile devices.
So what does ‘mobile first’ mean to you? Basically, it means readying the things you already know. Check your speed and the simplicity of your site, remove the pop-ups from your homepage and any other page readers are likely to find from a search, and make sure it’s simple and user-friendly. Do you have a hamburger menu? Place the word “menu” on it so people know what it is. Simple, yes, but that’s what Google likes.
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One more thing that’s going to change is PageSpeed Insights. Go on their site to find out things you have to fix, like large images and render blocking scripts above the fold. Fix these, and then check your site on mobile. Ensure your mobile site is fast to give yourself a boost once the switch happens.
This article originally published on stewartmedia.com.au
Jim Stewart is a leading expert in search engine optimisation. His business StewArt Media has worked with clients including Mars, M2 and the City of Melbourne.