Best Practices – Preparing for Mobile-first Indexing
With Google announcing the mobile-first indexing for all sites from March 2021, website owners have this question on their
mind – How to prepare for mobile-first indexing? Chances are that Google is already indexing your site with a smartphone searchbot. It is interesting to note that a website can still be considered for mobile-first indexing, even if it is not mobile-friendly. So, it is necessary to prepare your website for mobile-first indexing. Our web experts team from Perth help you answer this question and more.
Is Your Website Already on Mobile-first Indexing?
Before you prepare for mobile-first indexing, you can check how your site is being indexed in Google Search Console. The Indexing Crawler and the date of switchover can be viewed under Property Settings. The various reports also show the user agent being used against the Primary Crawler. The charts help you to understand how your site has been affected by the switchover to mobile-first indexing. This will help you better prepare for mobile-first indexing.
Your site will see an increased crawl rate when it switches to mobile-first indexing. Your mobile site must have enough capacity to handle this increase in crawl rate.
Best Practices for Preparing for Mobile-first Indexing
Avoid Two Versions of Your Website
Google suggests that you avoid two different versions for desktop and mobiles. This can cause confusion for searchbots and users alike. And now with mobile-first indexing, two different versions of your website is not relevant anymore.
Google Should be Able to See Your Content
Make sure you are not blocking content from Googlebot. Some points to be noted –
Incorrect implementation of lazy loading can hide content from Google. For example, content that needs user interactions like swiping or clicking to load, will not be loaded by Google. Avoid lazy-loading primary content on user interaction.
Ensure Google is able to see relevant content, by lazy-loading content whenever it is visible in the viewport.
Use paginated loading if you want to implement infinite scrolling experience. This allows to link to a specific section of content and makes it easier for the user to share your content.
Meta Robots Tags
Ensure that you have not used noindex or nofollow for the meta robots tags on your website.
Are You Blocking Something?
- Using images improves user experience. But it is necessary to ensure that the images are relevant and enhance context. Otherwise, it’s just taking up valuable space. As much as possible place the images near the relevant text.
- Ensure that images are of high quality, right size and have the right resolution for the mobile website. Avoid using small thumbnails to fit all your images in the mobile screen – these will be considered as low quality by Google due to the small size and low resolution.
- Avoid embedding text elements like headings or menu items in the image as it may not be accessible by all users.
- Use the right image format and dimensions, and use the correct level of compression.
- Use meaningful alt attributes for the images.
- Avoid using animated GIFs. If you need to use them, try using videos for faster load times.
- Googles should be able to crawl videos from your mobile site for it to be displayed in the results page. Ensure that the video is in a supported format.
- Ensure that the video is not blocked by noindex, robots.txt, paywall-protection or login.
- Ensure that your video page does not need complex user actions or specific URL segments to load.
- While Google can create a thumbnail for your video if it is in a crawlable format, it is advisable to provide a high-quality thumbnail.
- Ensure that the video host page and server have the bandwidth to be crawled.
Crawling – It is the name given to the process by which Google searchbots visit and analyse the content on a page. In simpler terms, crawling = visiting a site.
Lazy Loading – A technique where only the required sections of a webpage are loaded, instead of loading the entire page in one bulk.
Paginated Loading – It is the process of breaking large content into smaller chunks or pages. The content is served as pages with sequential numbering at the bottom of a page. Example – Google SERP.
Meta Robots Tag – A piece of tag that tells search engines on how to crawl a web page content and what to follow or not.
Paywall-Protection – A method of restricting access to online content through a paid subscription. Users need to subscribe or make a payment to read the entire content.