We all do it, don’t we? We use our mobile devices like smartphones and tablets to satisfy our immediate need to search, find and engage with websites.
We are in that instant mobile-first world where we demand instant gratification with accurate search results delivering just what we’re searching for.
Statistically, it’s acknowledged that our increased use of mobile devices means mobile search now far exceeds the use of search on desktop/laptop devices. More importantly, it’s how your clients are searching.
And search engines are well aware of this seed-change in search behaviour and they are evolving to meet our needs.
Google search results will become mobile first on July 1st, 2019 with “mobile-first indexing”. It’s the latest Google development to make the web more mobile-friendly.
But what does this mean for us, the business owners?
- Do we have to change anything?
- Or everything?
- If our site is mobile-friendly, will that be good enough?
Whatever your question – you need to check your site NOW!
So, what exactly is “mobile-first indexing”?
There’s a multitude of mobile-first explanations on technical blogs and social posts with jargon and acronyms only those working in digital marketing understanding.
In plain English, mobile-first means:
- Before July 1st, Google indexed the content from the desktop version of your website first.
- From July 1st, Google will index the content from your mobile version of your website first.
Mobile first is NOT a new Google index. It is the new way your content will be added to the existing index.
It’s all down to whether your resort website is responsive or not.
By responsive we simply mean that different versions of your website will display content based on the type of device it’s being viewed on? If your clients are searching on their mobiles, do they get a mobile-friendly version of the site? Or do they get the same website they would see on a desktop screen they may have to manoeuvre about?
If you have a resort website that is not responsive, the lack of mobile-friendly user experience may have a negative impact on your site’s search rankings. If not now, it is more likely in the future to be the case.
There are other factors that you need to consider with mobile-first indexing including:
- Designing content for viewing on mobile devices first, desktop second.
- Having a site that loads quickly (page load speeds).
- Optimizing images and video for mobile viewing.
- Making click-through links and calls-to-action more prominent and clickable on a mobile screen.
- Adapting search optimization techniques for mobile-first
Does your website need TLC? Technical – Links – Content
To succeed in Google mobile-first search, you need to make sure your website and content are built on solid foundations and all your technical bases are covered. This includes page speed, structure, language, and design optimization. And don’t forget about Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
Make sure your site has a security certificate (Secure Socket Layer or SSL) changing the domain name URL from HTTP to HTTPs (e.g. https://www.evcmarketing.com). A non-secure site will simply deliver a “not secure” statement and any visitor will click back and leave.
Remember, you need to deliver a great user experience at the right time, with the right content, on the right device.
Links still play a major role in search engine optimization (SEO) so check your sitemap links, privacy policies and click links on your mobile pages
Make sure your mobile site has high-quality, valuable content with Metadata, titles, and optimized images.
And the changes to search don’t stop there. Another recent Google algorithm update introduced the hungry techie to the principle of E-A-T: Expertise – Authority – Trust.
Your website, content, message, tone of voice, where and how often you post or publish and who it is aimed at for likes, shares, mentions and comment all help you to establish your expertise and authority.
The higher the quality of content, the easier it will be to establish authority and trust. No content for content sake. You need a mobile-first content marketing strategy.
What if your site is already mobile-friendly or responsive?
Where your website is already responsive, the mobile version should already match the desktop version. However, you will need to ensure that the mobile experience is optimized from a user perspective (e.g. page speed, load time, navigation, and so on).
Good news if your site was built in WordPress. Most WordPress sites already have a responsive design – both mobile and desktop content will be compatible.
What do you need to do now?
When Google indexes your mobile site version, you will receive a notice in your Google Search Console (you’ll need to consult your techie team).
In the meantime:
- Undertake a mobile-friendly site performance test.
- Test your page load speed.
- Check the mobile parity between mobile and desktop versions.
- Review your site design on mobile screens.
- Review your content user experience on mobile screens.
- Create a mobile first content strategy.
- Create mobile friendly content (shorter sentences, compact paragraphs, large and clear fonts, larger tap buttons).
- Techie-check Google Analytics/Google Search Console to see where your traffic is coming from.
This change to Google search is also a good time to add to your brand’s digital marketing strategy. Take the time to:
- Review your keywords – ever heard of Latent Semantic Indexing? It’s all about content relevance.
- Establish your brand reputation (reputation management) and use the mobile-first update within your reputation marketing.
- Review the current site links you have.
- Review your video content and images.
- Review your calls-to-action and how you respond to mobile clicks and inquiries.
John Heffernan has been a renowned keynote presenter, digital marketer and trainer at the forefront of digital marketing since 1997. A long-standing advocate of integrated marketing to deliver high investment return, John has worked on multi-channel strategies in numerous business sectors focusing on: Search – Social – Video – Content Marketing – Email – Web project design, Reputation Management & Digital Strategy development – Training. He is the director at RedLive.media and a key member of the EVC Marketing team. EVC Marketing has over 25 years’ experience in the timeshare resort sector and delivers marketing consultancy, social media management, content copywriting and digital marketing support.