With Google’s recent mobile algorithm update, businesses of all sizes are clamoring to remain relevant in Google mobile search. In fact, Google claims it has seen a 4.7 percent increase in mobile sites in the two months since its announcement regarding the mobile search update. That’s a huge increase when you consider the number of websites in Google’s index.
That also means there are a lot of websites that have not yet made the transition to mobile. If your website falls into this category, the Mobile Search Survival Guide will not only help you survive the mobilepocalypse, but dominate it. For those that made a hasty transition in reaction to Google’s announcement, mobile-friendly does not necessarily equate to user-friendly, and the Mobile Search Survival Guide is a good resource for you as well.
Step 1: Determine If Your Website Is Mobile-Friendly
First, test your website using Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. Note that this test is performed at the page-level, and not sitewide, which is also the case for Google’s mobile algorithm. So, test your homepage URL. In most cases, if your homepage isn’t mobile-friendly, the rest of your website probably isn’t, either. If the results come back that your site is not mobile-friendly, then it’s time to choose the right mobile-friendly solution. If your site is mobile-friendly, then skip to step three.
Step 2: Choose the Right Mobile-Friendly Solution
When it comes to mobile search, responsive Web design (RWD) is the optimal solution, and is also the solution recommended by Google. Try to avoid dedicated mobile websites as a solution, because you end up not only having to manage multiple websites (desktop and mobile), but you increase the chance for errors, such as faulty redirects between a desktop URL and its equivalent mobile URL. There is nothing worse than searching for something on a mobile device, tapping on the most relevant search result, only to be redirected to a mobile page that is completely irrelevant because the indexed content lives on a separate desktop site. Since RWD serves the same content to users regardless of device, faulty redirects are never an issue.
Step 3: Create High-Quality, User-Centric Content
Google uses more than 200 signals to determine the best search results. Mobile-friendliness is just one of them. High-quality content is still a crucial component of ranking well in mobile search, and more importantly, providing your visitors with a great user-experience. Without high-quality, user-centric content, Google does not care if your site is mobile-friendly. A well-designed, mobile-friendly website combined with high-quality user-centric content is a combination that will give your site premium placement in the mobile search results.
Step 4: Review Your Mobile Search Engagement and Conversion Data
Next, review the site’s mobile search engagement and conversion data, because even if your site passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s user-friendly. Note that Google’s mobile algorithm is specific to smartphones, and does not include tablets. So, when reviewing your traffic data for mobile, be sure to isolate for smartphone users. If your engagement and conversion metrics look good, then your site is both mobile-friendly and user-friendly. However, if the metrics are not as good as they should be, your site may have mobile user-experience issues.
Step 5: Diagnose and Correct Mobile User-Experience Issues
If you have a mobile-friendly site with poor engagement and conversion metrics from mobile search, it could be because you have a dedicated mobile site that’s failing to provide users with the content they’re searching for, or you may have a responsive website that loads too slow on mobile devices. Regardless of the exact reason(s), it’s likely a user-experience issue or a combination of issues. In addition to reviewing your traffic data, utilize Google’s Page Speed Insights tool to help diagnose the issue. This tool helps you determine if your site has page load speed issues on mobile devices and why. It also lets you know if the site contains mobile usability issues, and how to correct them.
Step 6: Resubmit to Google’s Index
Once your site is mobile-friendly, is filled with high-quality content, and mobile usability issues are resolved, resubmit the site to Google’s index by asking the search engine to crawl your site’s URLs via the Fetch as Google and Submit to Index tool within Google Webmaster Tools. Although Google will eventually crawl the new pages automatically, this tool can help expedite the process.
Step 7: Measure and Improve
At this point, you have a responsive website that passes Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, and receives high marks with Google’s Page Speed Insights. Furthermore, the website is loaded with high-quality content that your visitors actually want to read. The next step is to measure your mobile traffic engagement and conversion data over time to ensure that the website meets user expectations, and be prepared to make improvements as needed.
In conclusion, follow the steps outlined in the Mobile Search Survival Guide, and you will not only survive the mobilepocalypse, you’ll dominate it.