Google launched an algorithm update last week. As per usual, the search engine Masters haven’t announced the update, nor have their digital marketing mouthpieces (SEL, SEM, Moz).
But I know. I know from experience.
Whenever Google launch an algorithm update, my site stats spike for a day, then drop about 40 visitors for three or four days, then return to pre-spike levels. Then in about a week they hit the spike levels.
So, I suspect the wobble was due to the launch of the mobile-first index (MFI). Google said the MFI would be launched in the new year. I estimated it would be end of January-beginning of February time so the cards are stacking up.
In this post, you will learn how to prepare your website for the mobile-first index. We will also look at how consumers will interact with websites in the not-too-distant future. I will also make some suggestions how you can prepare for the inevitable.
The first step of optimising your website for the mobile-first index is to make sure your content is readable on mobile devices. How can you make content digestible and understandable.
I covered how to create content for mobile devices in an earlier post which you can read here. In this article, we will look some of the technical aspects you can employ to make your website mobile friendly.
I hate to mention responsive website – again – because this point has been hammered home by digital marketers trillions of times before. But it is important so needs a mention for clarity’s sake
To be honest, I doubt any business owner has a website that is not responsive. But just to check your website is mobile-friendly, run it through Google’s Mobile-Friendly page checker.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP):
AMP is a Google initiative to speed up load times on mobile devices. They created an open source library of stripped down codes which removes unnecessary CSS, JS and HTML codes.
As a subsequence of AMP, your website loses some of the graphic design that promotes your brand and communicates to your audience. AMP codes enable you to include HTML5 features that retains the pizzaz in your website.
Mobile apps are not for every business. But if you can use apps to serve a practical purpose – such as paying for goods using a mobile wallet – build an app.
We are effectively living in a mobile-first world, and just about every consumer has a mobile phone. When governments decide to make their country a cashless society – as they did in India of all places – consumers will need a device to carry their mobile wallet.
Mobile apps can also be used for ‘personal advertising’. Get your mobile marketing right without being too intrusive and annoying, and you can use mobile apps to strengthen bonds with customers and nurture loyalty.
Mobile apps can be indexed in search engines. Link the app to relevant pages on your website using Google Firebase App indexing and the page will appear in the mobile-first index. You can learn how to set up Firebase App indexing here.
Google has been experimenting with app streaming since 2015. It enables mobile users to stream an app from their device without having to download on to their phone.
Whereas this idea is to give mobile users the option of trialling an app before they download it, online businesses can take advantage of the feature for mobile shoppers.
The technology for mobile assistants has improved considerably over the last few years. The use of search engine algorithms will also improve the functionality of virtual assistants by enabling mobile users to conduct voice search.
Voice search is another subject I have covered in more detail in an earlier article. In that article I explain how voice search will impact your web content.
The next hurdle to navigate will be wearables. With devices getting smaller, online businesses have to create innovative ways of connecting with customers.
I don’t really see wearables as a practical platform for marketing, but some businesses will be able to use the data that people use wearables for to their advantage.
For example, digital watches that record heart rate, blood sugar levels and other health related issues can be used by healthy food companies to ensure their customers are receiving the right proteins, carbs and vitamins.
Virtual reality headgear could give marketers the opportunity to take advertising to another level. However, this will be expensive and out of reach for most small businesses so let’s put that one to bed for the time being.
What should small business focus on?
Even though we are switching to a mobile-first index, the focus of your digital marketing strategy shouldn’t change a great deal. The only difference will be how you present content. The key focus points are:
- Website optimisation
The important aspects are how to engage mobile users with your content. So think of how you like to use your phone, and publish content that is practical for smaller screens.
Graphic design and video will become more important. And although long form content is still required to provide users with in-depth information, how you structure pages is important.
Essentially, you should be incorporating design driven content. When publishing content, consider how readers will interact with it on mobile devices.
If you suspect your content will too cumbersome for mobile users, break the content up into manageable parts. This will also improve user-engagement metrics and help reduce bounce rate.
Remember: Google will be ranking your website in accordance with how mobile users interact with your website. Although you can still expect to get plenty of visitors using desktops, how they interact with your website does not impact your ranking – only your metrics.
It remains to be seen how far Google will take the mobile-first index, but the inclination is it will eventually replace the desktop index. When you think about it, the idea of a mobile-only internet is nonsense. But the masters that control the game can do whatever they fricking like.
If your struggling to rank in the mobile-first index and need to freshen up your website with design drive content, get in touch with MasterMind Content. We’re here to help.