Today’s episode is all about responding to the mobile first index.  We’ve (SEO People) been talking about getting your website ready for the “mobile 1st” index initiative the Google has.   If you’re lost, then the short version is that Google wants to look at sites as if every viewer is on a phone 1st before it considers “desktop” sites.   

What can you do to be ready for Google’s Mobile First Index?

We cover some basic things you can do and luckily there are plugins for most of these things if you’re using wordpress.

1.  Make Sure Your Site Is Responsive

Most WordPress themes are responsive if they were made in the last year or so.   Having a responsive site is preferable over having a separate mobile version.

2.  Speed Is Most Important

Google has been talking about speed for some time now.  There are several ways to test your speed but before you click away to them, be sure not to be too “legalistic” with it.   Yes, you want to improve your speed score, but don’t obsess over small numbers.

Check Your Speed

With WordPress you have a few options to help increase your speed.  Overall, the basics are this.  Reduce your file size, particularly images.  You can “minify” your css and js files (by removing spaces).

Here’s a few plugins we like for speed that do this stuff for you, most were mentioned in our 7 Must Have Plugins For WordPress.

Excerpt:

Short Pixel or Imagify

Most small business owners with new sites have not thought about the load the image puts on a page, fortunately there’s two easy plugins that can help resize and compress these. Speed is important.

Speed Booster Pack – There’s a bunch of speed boosting plugins, but this is the one that routinely stays activated and doesn’t cause any problems on my installations. The others ones that I’d recommend (but with the caveat that you have to turn them off and on to figure out what works for you) are Autooptimize, WP Performance Score Booster and Lazy Load. That last one lets your site load the text up first so it’s faster to google – useful if you use video.4rd Marketing

Also, you can speed up your site by using a CDN (Content Delivery Network) like Cloudflare.  Cloudflare is free.

3. Reduce Bounce Rates

When a visitor comes to your website and leaves quickly, that’s called a “bounce.”  Google ranks sites better with lower bounce rates.   This is true for the mobile first index as much as it is for the regular index.   You can decrease your bounce rate by doing longer form content.  Think of “stickiness” with more screen shots.  I know our blog isn’t a great example of this but that’s best practice.

4.  Think “Mobile” User First

This is more than just “thinking” about mobile users.  You need to examine your current website and see if you’re doing things that might make the mobile experience not a good one or vice versa.  Normally, it’s bad SEO practice to “hide” content.  However, with mobile hiding content (with an accordion for example – see below) might be worthwhile.

Example: Accordion

Star Wars Spoiler
Darth Vader Is Luke’s Dad
Infinity War Spoiler
Thanos Wins
Batman Spoiler
Ben Affleck

5.  Go Amp ?

There are plugins for this.  AMP mode really speeds up your mobile version for Google because it takes all the images and css away.  It’s basically a text version on the site.  Personally, we haven’t don this with our clients because the experience is so poor.  However, I do know some businesses that might want to go all out and AMP would be going for that A++ today vs just getting an A.

When it comes to SEO, there are some common SEO questions, but ultimately all of these techniques come down to this “all things being equal” thought.  That is, all things being equal, this strategy will be effective if your competition isn’t using it.   So don’t stress out about Google changes.  Continue to make excellent content and you’ll get traffic.

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