A Definitive Guide To Mobile SEO In 2022. Mobile-first indexing is real and going to be the next big thing in the world of SEO. In the year 2020, Google made it clear that it will take a mobile-first indexing approach for all websites. Well, this isn’t the first major mobile update that Google rolled out.
Previously there were many algorithm updates that pinpointed the importance of mobile SEO.
In 2015, we had Mobilegeddon which focused on the importance of the mobile-friendliness of a website. We also had a speed update in 2018 which stated that mobile speed is now a ranking factor for all search queries.
The above updates by Google indicate the fact that mobile SEO is essential. One cannot ignore this practice in the world of SEO and think of ranking a website higher on search engine results pages.
So, in this blog post, I’ll take you through the world of mobile SEO. Here, you will find topics on mobile-first indexing, things to check now, how mobile-first indexing works and impacts the ranking and a lot more.
It is going to be a detailed blog post, so take a cup of tea or coffee and get ready for a holy ride of mobile SEO.
When did mobile-first indexing start?
In 2020, Google announced its mobile-first indexing approach for all websites. This means Google will use the mobile version of the content for ranking and indexing on the search engine results page.
The reason why Google is focusing more on mobile is that they have realized that mobile internet users are increasing at a high rate. And to give the best experience to mobile users, Google has come up with its mobile-first indexing algorithm.
This algorithm update doesn’t require any changes to be done from your end. However, there are some practices that you can follow to make your website mobile-friendly in nature.
What is mobile-first indexing?
As mentioned above, mobile-first indexing means Google will use the mobile version of your website for indexing, crawling and ranking on the search engine result page.
Prior to this update, Google used the desktop version of a website for crawling and indexing purposes. Since Google has realized that the majority of its users are searching via cell phone, mobile-first indexing came into the picture.
To be honest, you don’t need to worry about mobile-first indexing at all. You don’t need to be skeptical about whether your website will be mobile-first indexed or not. It’s very likely that it already is.
If not, then Google will automatically index your website on a mobile-first indexing basis. Also, Google will highlight its critical errors within its Search Console tool. By looking at those errors, you can take corrective measures and make your website mobile-friendly.
What is the difference between a mobile-friendly website and one that isn’t?
If you have a responsive website, you don’t to worry at all. Google will automatically crawl and, later, index your content. The important point to note over here is that your website should be responsive on mobile as well as desktop.
If you have two separate websites for mobile and desktop versions, then Google will give preference to the mobile version for crawling and indexing purposes. This also means that the mobile version of your site will have a preference for ranking on the search engine results pages.
What is mobile SEO?
Now that you know about mobile-first indexing and its application. Let’s understand what mobile SEO is and its best practices.
Mobile SEO is a type of search engine optimization activity done to make a website mobile responsive so that Google can better crawl and index it. The reason why mobile SEO is important is due to Google’s new algorithm update which gives preferences to mobile indexing and crawling.
If your website is fully mobile responsive, it will have a better chance to rank on the top position of Google. Today, on the web, you’ll hardly find any not-mobile-friendly website.
Mobile optimization analyzes the website layout, Website design, page speed, and many other aspects to assure that the mobile visitors browse your website for a longer time.
Best practices for mobile SEO
Now that you know what mobile SEO is, let’s discuss some of the best praises for mobile SEO in 2021.
Make sure that Google’s bot can access and render your content
First things first, you need to ensure that Google can easily crawl and index the mobile web pages or content of your site. For this, you can use the same meta tags for both versions of your website.
If you are using a follow tag for a desktop website and a no-follow or no-index tag for a mobile website, Google won’t crawl and index the mobile version of your site. So, make sure that you use these tags for both versions of your website.
Also, try to avoid using static elements for your mobile version of the site. Google won’t crawl and index the static elements like intrusive popups, buttons and so on.
On top of that, these elements will only make your website slower.
Make sure that content is the same on desktop and mobile
Mark this as the most important tip, as it can either make or break your mobile SEO game. You need to make sure that you have the same amount of content on your mobile as well as the desktop version of your website.
If you posted 10 blog posts of 2000 words each on your desktop site, make sure that the same content is visible on the mobile sites as well. If you ignore this, you might lose some amount of traffic due to mobile-first indexing by Google.
Also, your rankings will be negatively impacted.
So, make sure that you use the same content as well as tags and HTML on both mobile and desktop websites.
Responsive website design
Next in this list of mobile SEO is responsive website design. Mobile and smartphones are changing the world and Google knows it. In fact, in many countries, the number of cell phone users has surpassed the number of desktop users. Additionally, more and more people are using mobile phones to browse the web.
With that in mind, Google has made it clear that responsive web design is now a ranking factor.
Therefore, your website must be responsive on all devices including mobile phones, desktops and tablets. For this you need to use the same HTML codes and content on both versions of your site.
You can use the meta name=”viewport” tag in the source code of all the web pages on your site. This will give instructions to the browser on how to control the page width, length and dimensions.
Following are some other benefits associated with responsive web page design.
- Google can quickly index and crawl your website.
- Sharing content from a single URL becomes easy.
- It helps avoid common SEO mistakes.
- Google’s bot will use less resources for crawling and indexing your site.
Take advantage of dynamic serving
Another mobile SEO tip is to enable dynamic serving to take your mobile SEO game to the next level. It will assure that servers respond with various CSS and HTML code on the same URL depending on which device the user is using.
Dynamic serving can be quite intimidating for newbie SEO professionals with non-technical backgrounds. Hence, I would advise them to enable this technique under the supervision of an expert SEO professional with at least 5+ years of experience.
Have separate URLs for your mobile site
The name says it all, having separate URLs for mobile and desktop versions of the site will ensure that all your content and web pages are easily displayed on its mobile version.
Make sure that each URL is set up with different HTML codes for different screen sizes.
Don’t block CSS and java files
The best practice is to keep all those unblocked and visible for the search engines to crawl and index them.
Apart from this, you should also:
- Use the fetch feature of the Google Search Console tool so that Google can crawl and index your CSS and Java files.
- Check Robots.txt and ensure that you are not hiding any important files from indexing.
- Ensure that all your redirect URLs are working properly and effectively.
It’s nice to see the web grow from being focused on desktop sites to being mobile-friendly after the mobile-first index announcement.
If you have doubts or questions about the Google mobile-first index update or any other topic related to mobile SEO.
Let us know in the comments section below!