In 2018, Google officially announced that it will be moving to “mobile-first indexing”. Google uses indexing for search ranking.
Historically, Google has used websites’ desktop version to index and rank. However, given the shift towards mobile in recent years, the search-engine giant decided to give priority to websites’ mobile version.
In other words, if the mobile version of your website isn’t up to the mark, it will affect your search-engine ranking.
Mobile-First Isn’t The Same as Mobile-Responsive
While the two use the same principles, mobile-first and mobile-responsive differ by way of approaches. The latter is a design approach where you first design a website according to desktop screens.
It is then tweaked to display correctly on different devices and resolutions.
Mobile-first, on the other hand, prioritises mobile devices when designing a website. Instead of designing a website that works well on desktops and then getting it to work on mobile screens, websites are designed to work seamlessly on smartphones and tablets.
The second approach makes more sense, given there are more than 5 billion mobile users, worldwide, and more than 50% of the searches on Google start on a mobile device.
How Mobile-First Design Affects Your Business
Ever since Google shifted to mobile-first indexing, adopting a mobile-first design approach directly ups your chances of getting high ranking on the search engine.
In fact, a good SEO expert agency will always advise you to shift to a mobile-first approach from a mobile-responsive one. But there’s more to it:
It Improves Your Local Search Visibility
When people are looking for a store nearby, it is more likely they are doing so on their smartphone. To deliver impeccable customer experience, Google prioritises mobile-friendly results.
Thus, adopting a mobile-first design approach can boost your local search visibility, thereby increasing the footfalls you get.
Better Customer Experience
Since most searches now begin on a mobile device, your mobile website is, very often, the first point of contact between you and a potential consumer. Designing a website with a mobile-first approach makes sure your content is optimised for small screens.
When designed right, it ensures a great customer experience, which can boost your chances of improving conversion rates.
Strategies for Taking Advantage of Mobile-First
Since mobile-first is now the norm than an exception, it is important to optimise your mobile-first website. Designing metadata for mobile devices is one SEO strategy that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Very often, when metadata is designed according to desktop screens, it can lead to incomplete sentences and missing information, which can erode trust-value in your business.
Secondly, it is important to keep your mobile website short, concise, and simple. Endless scrolling on small screens is usually not a good idea.
Plus, Google takes into account your website’s bounce rate to decipher if people like your content. High bounce-rate means lower ranking.
Keeping it simple and direct for small screens is, more often than not, a winning strategy.