It’s not a new thing that Google is throwing at us. Mobile-first indexing is something that they’ve been working on and telling marketers to prepare for over the past several years. If you were following the developments, you’d know that Google had planned to enable mobile-first indexing for all websites in September.

The search engine giant is sensitive enough to know when to ease back, and the global pandemic is buying those who aren’t ready a little more time. Google recently announced that they will postpone mobile-first indexing until March of 2021. You’ve got more time to prepare, but what should you focus on?

 

You decide what Google sees

Many people think that Google knows all and sees all. It sure seems that way. But, let’s remember that it’s technology, not magic. In the case of mobile-first indexing, Google search bots will only extract information from the mobile versionof your website.

  • It’s crucial to use the same robots meta tags on your mobile version as you do for your desktop version. Google won’t see or recommend deeper content you may have on your desktop site if it’s not aware of it based on what it extracted from your mobile site.
  • Follow best practices for lazy loading images and videos – especially when it comes to primary content based on user interactions. Here’s an example: Your mobile version features only one image for fast loading, but there are five more they can see by tapping on the “more” button. Google won’t index the additional images because the search bots don’t trigger user interactions. That’s a loss of options to be found for you. Remember that in the near future, Google will no longer search your desktop site.
  • You may use different URLs for your mobile version. It’s important to make sure your robots.txt files reflect this information.

 

Primary content: the same for both

Often, the desktop version of a website features less content than a desktop version. It’s all about convenience, speed, and accessibility – so this is a good thing. But it will be a bad thing if the primary content for which you want to be ranked is not on your mobile version. We’ve already said it, but we’ll repeat it here again because it’s crucial to understand: only the content of your mobile version will be used by Google for indexing and ranking when mobile-first indexing is fully instituted next spring.

There’s no way around the loss of traffic when Google moves to mobile-first indexing and your slimmer and leaner mobile site is what’s considered. But keep in mind that all websites face the same challenge.

  • One way you can compensate is to use the same clear and meaningful headings on both versions of your website.
  • Also, don’t overlook the importance of image and video alt attributes. Meaningful and descriptive alt text is picked up by Google search bots and used to determine relevance and ranking.
  • Position images and videos on your mobile version so it’s not necessary for viewers to scroll to see it. Otherwise, Google’s algorithms may decide your content is not helpful and diminish the ranking.

 

Beyond mobile-first

Google’s upcoming mobile-first indexing isn’t the only way to change how you connect with people online. Best practices can make you more visible in Google searches, but it won’t make those who search more visible to you.

For that, you’ll have to move past outdated methods of lead generation and catch up to the evolution that’s transforming the buyer’s journey. If there’s one word to describe this evolution, it’s anonymity. More people than ever before are searching for your product or service, but it’s never been more difficult to identify them. They’re not filling out forms. They’re not using your CTAs or specific phone numbers that you’ve put in place to help determine the efficiency of your advertising. And advertising platforms such as Google or social media channels are giving you even less access to direct contact information. Find out how we can help you leapfrog over these inefficient methods with technology enabling you to market only to prospects instead of an entire market.