“How to get your website mobile optimized in 2021: 6 things to do”

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices are never the same, never work the same and never work in the same realms. The year 2020 was an unprecedented year with multiple lockdowns as a cause of the global pandemic and the year saw the maximum businesses coming online. So, will SEO not work? No, SEO has always worked, still does and always will as long as we are in the digital age. The only thing is that the old SEO practices will no longer work this year.

mobile first indexing

Everyone has a different experience in everything. Even people with common interests rarely share common experiences. Correspondingly, there is no single best practice for anything. But yes, there are some sets of common rules that need to be considered which befit for most site owners. Therefore, before the dusk of 2021, I am here to give you the best practice that can help your business stand out of the crowd this year.

If you are reading this post, then you already know how the ubiquity of advanced technology, smartphones, tabs and their integration with tele networks has brought oscillations in the digital world. Well, it’s not just the oscillations, but also the acceleration with added advantages of ease and convenience. As of today, fifth-generation internet connections are available and cheap tele networking plans have helped most of the pockets to have a smartphone with internet connectivity. This means, most internet users are browsing using mobile devices. Google is Smart! It anticipated this change beforehand when it announced mobile-first indexing as the default for web crawling in July 2019.

Before going further, let me clarify what mobile-first indexing is. Earlier, Google used to evaluate the content’s desktop version when it returned results to any user’s query and that’s how it used to rank any website in Search Engine Page Results (SERPs). With the shift of browsing devices to mobiles and the like, Google also shifted its approach of indexing and now uses mobile versions of websites to index their content and rank their website. This approach is known as Mobile-first indexing.

But not all people took this as an advantage at that time but the newcomers who realized this change took it as an opportunity and got their mobile version designed and now have better ranks than their competitors with only desktop versions.

If you really want to stay ahead this year, then SEO practice is incomplete and incompetent without getting your website mobile optimized. You know why? Because Google has announced to remove all desktop-only sites, their content, images, videos and other assets from its index by the end of March 2021. It is going to retrieve, crawl and index for ranking the content from mobile versions only.

Here’s how you can get it done to lead this year with the top things you should do now when it matters the most:

#1. Go for Mobile-responsive or Mobile Friendly:

If you have an existing website, one of the first things on the priority list to get its mobile-responsive version. The content on both the desktop and mobile sites is the same, it only adjusts according to the screen size. When a desktop site was made responsive for mobile devices, some markup was reduced and the site was made adaptive. Earlier desktop versions had heavy structural markup which resulted in the reduction of a few features when the site is browsed on a mobile device. This reduced the speed of browsing. If your users are using both versions, then a friendly version will add flexibility and also get your website optimized.

As a solution came up the mobile-friendly sites. These sites are first designed in mobile format and then made responsive for desktops. They have higher speed and hence when speed is the ranking factor and also has an impact on call to action, you definitely may not want it to be a limiting factor. So, if you don’t even have a site so far, you should start with a mobile-friendly site.

#2. Ensure Google bot is accessing your mobile website:

Google bot, not a new term for you, isn’t it? For those who are not familiar, Googlebot is the official name of the Google’s software that crawls websites for ranking. Therefore, it is crucial that your website and its content are being accessed and rendered by it. Keep the URLs for mobile and desktop sites different but you will need to keep similar meta robot tags, especially the ‘noindex’ or ‘nofollow’ tags. Dissimilar meta robots can result in Googlebot’s failure to crawl and index your site’s content.

Also, check if any URL is being blocked. Let Google reach your resources. Since some URLs may vary, they may not allow Google to crawl your website’s resource. To avoid this, check it with disallow directive.

Avoid using ‘lazy loading’ or ‘asynchronous loading’ for primary content. Such content will not be crawled where any user interaction like typing or clicking or swiping is needed for loading. Google does recognize the lady loaded content.

#3. Keep your website identical across different platforms:

You never know which device is the user going to use for browsing your site. You know the trend that mobile devices are being used more often. This gives you a hunch as to what you need to make your site prepared for, but there can be other users who are using some other forms of browsing and even the same user using different modes for browsing at different times. So, keep the content identical across multiple platforms, including metadata (descriptive titles and meta tags). If your existing site has different contents, it’s time to update in 2021. While the content should remain identical, the looks of both versions should be aesthetically pleasing if you want the user to stay for longer and even have a lead conversion.

The structural language of both versions may vary and should vary for the speed factor, but make sure the content delivered is the same. Cross-check each heading and sub-heading twice. Remember, the difference between the layout and Document Object Model (DOM) may appear different to the Googlebot. After all, it’s software and you have to make it understand in the language it is designed to understand.

The Uniform user experience of any website across different versions also includes the page load speed beside the design and structure. So, keep close monitoring into that aspect as well.

#4. Structured Data analysis:

Since the URLs may vary, so if there is any structured data in your desktop version, ensure that the mobile version URLs are also updated with them. What else you’ll need to analyze are the extraction errors in case you are using a data highlighter. Then, you will have to do some homework and train your mobile website for the same.

#5. Check the placement of Ads:

Most of the people never knew and I am pretty sure that still many are not aware that the placement of advertisements can affect a website’s ranking. Either check out for the criteria for standard ad placement using ‘Better Ads Standard’ when viewing ads on a mobile device or we are just a call away.

#6. Things you need to know for visual content:

All images, videos and other visual content should be in the supported format, of high-quality and high resolution. Else, the images can get pixelated when viewed on the bigger screen resulting in the user to drop your website.

Another thing to be given due advantage is that keep the URL structure the same when the page is loading the image. If the URL changes, the Googlebot will not index the images. For videos, you will need relevant tags and ensure them being in supported formats.

If this seems easy, you can always Do It Yourself. Elsewise, you can always reach out for any help to the SEO Pros team: truly SEO professionals.