Are You Ready for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing?

After first announcing its plans to change to a Mobile First index back in 2016, Google has officially started to change the way it crawls websites, now putting the mobile version as the primary reference on relevance and authority.

In this article, we have listed some thoughts and tips as we start to prepare for this new era of Mobile First SEO.

Monitor your Crawl Activity

It’s important to monitor crawl activity from Google (through Search Console/Webmaster Tools) so that you can see how search engine bots find your website, and what they see when they arrive. This will determine if there are more people accessing your site from their smartphones than from their desktops. You will want to be paying attention as Google calibrates the performance of your website – expect some fluctuation but try not to get too concerned right away.

Google will be testing every website in isolation, which will allow you to find and fix any issues that currently exist. For example, if you notice that the internal linking of your desktop version and mobile version varies widely, then you will need to tackle this task to ensure that your website is completely prepared.

This service will come to your site, so it’s a matter of being prepared and being ready for it when it does. You will need to address the responsiveness of your web design, dynamic serving, separate URLs, and if you have an AMP and non-AMP version of your website, as Google prefers non-AMP URL when they index. They will offer best practices for users to follow to ensure that their websites are set up and ready to go.

Better Understand the Mobile User

While everyone knows that they have to do whatever they can not only to capture but also to keep the attention of their visitors, it’s important to be aware that mobile users have even shorter attention spans than those who are accessing your site on a desktop. This means that you need to really understand what a micro-moment is and how to capitalize on it.

As the time on site for new visitors is often short, its important the content you office provides some value or education relating to the query being searched. Devise an SEO strategy in Thailand that is data-driven so you can move beyond generic keywords and poorly written ‘SEO Content’ and make sure that you are developing content that is personalized to suit your visitors.

Of course, content will appear different on a mobile site than it will on one created for the desktop. You have to make sure that your website is correctly responsive for mobile screens so the user experience is not diminished on mobile devices. Additionally, since mobile devices allow users to share more data, this will open up new opportunities to partner with others and optimize the user’s experience. One service that this may include is a voice search strategy that will allow you to hone in on micro-moments.

Make sure that you use all of this data to map out the journey of the mobile user so you can include plenty of personalized content that will keep them coming back.

Tailor Your Content Specifically for the Mobile User

Unfortunately, many people believe that if they use a mobile-first index, they don’t need to prepare for mobile users as long as their site is responsive. However, this only works if your site already caters specifically to a mobile visitor.

If your content doesn’t cater to mobile vs. desktop users, then you will probably see problems with your rankings. Studies have shown that most keywords result in varying results depending on if they were used on a mobile or desktop. This means that the different users want different content and expect the website to give it to them.

Most major brands understand that this is an opportunity for them to provide a more personalized experience for their visitors. Not only will this mean that you are likely to have repeat visitors, but also that your organic rankings should improve. If you neglect to tailor your content to your specific visitors and how they are searching for you, then your rankings could suffer.

It’s a good idea to consider the customer journey map to make sure that you are aware of when mobile usage is most important. When you take this information and combine it by analyzing the performance of your site across all devices, you will be able to tailor your content quickly and easily to appeal to mobile users.

Users searching on mobile devices want their information in a hurry, and you have to give it to them. Make sure that you know how to provide them with a fast experience that gives them the information that they are searching for without much hassle on their part.

Understand the Basics

Developing quality content is no longer enough if you are not meeting the technical basics. Make sure that you are prepared for an influx of mobile users by structuring your data, verifying your mobile site to ensure it will be crawled, fixing your tags to point to your mobile version, optimizing your metadata for higher click-through rate, making sure that your site loads quickly and easily, and checking to see if there are areas on your site that can be accelerated.

Set up a measurement framework

Good content will take users from the initial research and awareness phase to a conversion and ultimately a paying customer.

By using techniques such as first click attribution, you will be able to track where conversions first came from, and what search query and content first caught their attention.

By better understanding the stages of each conversion you can begin to optimize your website and content to capitalize on each micro-moment and increase your chances of converting visitors.

About the Author

Gigi Sung-hong is a Digital Content writer for Phoenix Media, a Digital Marketing Agency in Bangkok, Thailand. Fluent in English and Thai language she has been writing content around the growth and development of Digital Marketing in Thailand for the past three years.

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