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Prepare Your WordPress Website for Google Mobile-First Index

Google Mobile-First Index

Mobile-First Index, What Does It’s Mean?

Google are changing their policies, algorithms and features almost constantly. Whenever a new feature or rule emerges – we have to alter the way we work. That’s why we always have to keep ourselves updated!

The newest Google roll out is Mobile-first indexing. These plans are known for a while and have been tested for more than a year now. Mobile-first index implementation should alter the way how desktop and mobile web pages are ranked. Google announced that the biggest change when it comes to Mobile-first indexing is that the mobile version of a web page will be used for crawling and ranking, while aiming to help the user experience of mobile users.

Why Is It Important?

The Mobile-First Index scenario will impact everybody who neglects the mobile version of their web pages. Your Google Search ranking will suffer if you’ve still not optimized your website towards mobile users. If you’re a professional SEO specialist and you’ve already done your job towards the best mobile experience possible – there is nothing to worry about!

If not – this article will be a gold mine for you! We’ve prepared a list of things you need to consider and not avoid when preparing your WordPress website for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing. Follow our advice, improve whatever you can and you will be ready for the new “era” in Google ranking!

What Should I Change?

Use a Mobile-Friendly Theme

We can’t stress enough how important is this step. We’ve been talking about the importance of a mobile-friendly theme for your WordPress website for years and still…some people haven’t done anything yet. If your one of them – now is the final chance to act!

Using a responsive design has been important for the last couple of years but with the Mobile First Index, it is now vital in order to survive. There are tons of good mobile-friendly themes that offer smooth responsive features and will be pleasant for your mobile visitors to use. Just choose one and make your website mobile-friendly!

Make Sure Your Website’s Mobile Version has all Your Key elements

If you don’t use a responsive design but rather use different versions of your website for mobile and desktop users you need to be sure that they contain the same information. With the Mobile-first index mechanism, Google will only rank the mobile site.

This basically means that if you’ve left behind some important content only on the desktop page – it will not be visible to Google’s bot and won’t end up in the index. This is going to be an enormous problem for people that are using two different versions so you need to look very deeply into this matter and fix any inconsistencies.

Add the Same Metadata to All Versions of Your Website

This aspect is a sequel to the previous one. A WordPress website that is using separate mobile and desktop versions must have the exact same metadata. The same applies if you have more than two versions – all metadata must be the same. If your mobile version does not have metadata at all – it will not be crawled.

Something useful from the official guidelines is that Google recommends having “equivalent” metadata – it is not a must to have “identical” metadata on all versions. This gives us a bit of freedom while optimizing the metadata in search for shorter words.

Improve Your Website Speed

Website speed is an important topic for both desktop and mobile users. However, imagine if you’re on the go and need to check some information really fast – this is where your services fall behind if your web pages do not load fast enough.

Many studies through the years showed that load time is crucial for preventing high bounce rates. Improving your website speed can be accomplished by using asynchronous CSS and JavaScript loading, minimizing HTTP requests, prevent JavaScript files to be loaded until other important content elements are loaded. Another thing you can try is to enable browser caching or compress your files as much as possible.

Implement Google AMP

Google AMP is now a lot more stable than it was in the beginning so now with the roll out of mobile-first indexing it may be the best time to integrate AMP into your WordPress website. Using “Accelerated Mobile Pages” should improve the page load speed – as the topic we mentioned above.

Google AMP will automatically use some of the suggested web performance procedures and optimize your images. One of the goals of the AMP project is to provide efficient advertisement monetization over the web using an approach focusing on mobile users. We need to mention that AMP is not a ranking factor but will probably be included soon.

Smooth Navigation

When we are talking about an awesome user experience, having smooth navigation is a must. This has always been important and is valid for both mobile and desktop WordPress websites. If a customer gets lost between your pages and menus most probably he will never visit your website. Preventing this issue is possible through a couple of approaches like using a table of contents or mega menus that are perfect for some types of blogs.

If you are searching for something more ‘catchy’ you might want to try incorporating a vertical sliding navigation, a top story carousel or a sticky navigation bar. It all depends on your taste and website style.

Use Link Building

We all want to reach that 1st page of Google’s Search Engine and stay there as much as possible. Nowadays this is a task that requires many SEO actions and high-quality backlinks are a very important part of the whole process – they actually account for 30% of the overall Google ranking score. If you are linked with spammy sites that offer low quality – you are doomed.

You can easily check who has backlinked to your website by using the SEMRush tool. You should remove any bad links that do harm and alter your marketing strategy in accordance with the link building strategy.

Conclusion:

Let’s finish with the concept that the Mobile First Index is here to stay and we need to optimize and adapt our WordPress websites for the new rules. If you’ve been following the best practices over the years you’re probably almost ready to face the new ranking challenge. If you haven’t optimized your website in a while you’ll need to do some work before it’s too late.

If you want to prepare your WordPress Website for Mobile-First indexing it is best to follow our advice and check what you’ve done and what not. Let our Dedicated WordPress Developers Help you for the same. We’ve simplified all the important topics so you just need to act before it’s too late!

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