What You Need to Know About Googles Mobile-First Index

For a long time now Google has shown a preference to mobile devices over desktop and in November that became even more clear when Google announced plans to introduce “mobile-first” indexing on their Webmasters Blog. What is a Mobile-First Index? This is a big update and is going to be rolled out gradually, so knowing precisely the exact details are hard to do at this stage, but we can so far say this: Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) will be based on content found on your mobile website. Your choice of Mobile Technology does not matter – No matter if you have brand new AMP pages (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for your website, a responsive design or an old school standalone mobile version; they are all treated as the mobile version for indexing. Will I Be Affected? So the question is what does this really mean? Well if you find the following describes you then you might be in for a reduction in both mobile and desktop traffic… I have no mobile version of my website and my desktop version is not responsive to mobile devices (you can tell this if your website fails Googles mobile friendly test. (have link) Although Google has stated that they will still crawl your desktop version of the website in the absence of a mobile version, the trend towards mobile suggests you’re not going to be better off, if not in the short term certainly in the longer. My mobile website has compared to the desktop version: Fewer pages available for index Reduced content Different internal linking / structure   What Should Your Digital...
Mobile Friendly Websites Part 1: Recent developments and trends

Mobile Friendly Websites Part 1: Recent developments and trends

Remember Mobilegeddon? If you own or operate a website, Google’s website update of April 2015, will not have passed you by. You may remember it was headline news, with even SKY News and the BBC carrying the story of so-called Mobilegeddon and mobile friendly websites.  We were told it was going to be the biggest update in a very long time and anyone without a mobile friendly website, could expect to see a significant (negative) impact on the organic traffic they received from mobile devices. You may also remember the immediate aftermath did not quite live up to the hype. Yes non mobile sites were penalised in [mobile] search results, but the world did not quite end for them. What did happen for sure, was that many business owners did sit up and listen and invest resources in making ‘mobile friendly websites’. This was all for the greater good. Mobile use continues to grow, now with more people accessing the internet on a smart phone rather than a desktop. So regardless of Google, websites that work well on  mobile will continue to out-perform  those that are not. This post summarises current mobile usage and search trends in Ireland. It underlines the significant change in how people are accessing the internet and searching for information online and what this might mean for a business with a website. Mobile Internet Usage In Ireland According to a report by StatCounter people in Ireland use the internet on their mobile phone, more than any other country in the Western World.  Phone internet usage has eclipsed the UK and the USA being a quarter and 10% higher respectively.  Around one third...

Are you ready for April 21st and the Mobile Friendly ranking algorithm?

We are barely a month away from Google’s Mobile Friendly ranking algorithm. Are you prepared? If your site is not mobile friendly by this time, all of the current organic traffic you get from mobile devices is at risk. How quick do you need to act? Well, the first question you need to ask yourself is, do you currently get significant traffic from mobile devices? The answer to this can be found by logging into your Google Analytics account and following these steps: Set a time period of the last 30 days. Deselect “All Sessions” Select “Organic Traffic” In the left hand navigation under Audiences, select Mobile” and “Overview” You will then be presented with a table something similar to the below   Here you can see how much traffic you get from different devices (desktop, mobile and tablet) along with a number of other important metrics, namely: Bounce rate Average session duration Conversions Conversion rate It is seen for this account, that mobile sessions are on average shorter, with a higher bounce rate & convert less with a lower frequency. These metrics alone might indicate, that improvements are needed with the existing mobile usability experience. In this example, mobile organic traffic only accounts for 13.77% of visitor sessions, however for other websites mobile visitors are significantly higher (well over 30%). So what would the impact be to you as a small business if the tap that is mobile traffic suddenly ran dry? Maybe you are not currently getting much mobile traffic anyway and see an investment in making your website mobile friendly too prohibitive. However when you consider...

The Mobile Friendly algorithm is coming, what you need to know & two tools to help you.

So Google’s much discussed Mobile Friendly algorithm is apparently just around the corner. It’s actual impact is yet to be known, but we are getting little titbits of information out of Google and we are beginning to understand more of what the likely repercussions might or might not be. The first point to note is a website’s desktop performance, rather than its mobile performance will impact how a site is ranked for mobile search queries. In other words, for now at least, a fast or slow mobile site should not effect your mobile rankings, but a fast or slow desktop site will effect them. As mobile devices are becoming the device of choice in Internet search, it is more than likely that performance of a website on a mobile is going to become a major factor on how well a website ranks in the future.  Perhaps down the line a little further it will be the combination of how websites perform and how good the user experience is preserved across all devices, that will dictate how these factors impact overall all-device rankings. For now however, we are told desktop signals are what Google will continue to use.  So we must keep that in mind, whilst we consider carefully about future proofing websites for what is coming down the pipe.  A top tip here, use your common sense.  A website that looks great and performs great on a mobile is likely to have an advantage on ranking on mobile searches compared to one that doesn’t, perhaps not now, but almost certainly in the future.  Always consider the human not the search engine....