Why is mobile optimisation important?
From a user point of view, there have been many stats and predictions made over the last decade about the trend of mobile internet usage, so much so rather than regurgitate them again, this article goes into all the finer detail you need to know.
To summarise, where once website usage was heavily weighted towards desktop, the split between desktop, mobile and tablet is now much more evenly split. Therefore, you need to provide your website’s visitors with a more than satisfactory experience across all devices, in particular those accessing on a 3G connection.
If you site doesn’t satisfy in terms of UX and speed, users will leave.
Google knows this, which is why over the course of 2018 they have made a shift to mobile first indexing.
What is mobile first indexing?
Until now, the desktop version of a site was used as the benchmark for its organic performance in terms of crawling, indexing and ranking.
This meant that a below par mobile site experience did not affect how well your site performed in search.
That though has now changed, and the mobile version of a site is the one which will determine how well your site ranks across all platforms and searches.
If your mobile experience is not up to scratch, it will affect how well your site ranks on desktop, even if the majority of your search traffic also comes via desktop.
What considerations should be made for mobile optimisation?
There are a number of factors you must consider when optimising for mobile first, including:
- A responsive design versus a separate mobile and desktop template. The former is ideal for a number of reasons, but if you have separate templates or content served on different URLs, you must ensure that the page content and meta data on the mobile is the same as the desktop. Responsive means you only have one version of the site template to maintain, but may also mean you have to invest in a redesign of your site to get up to speed
- Regardless of which approach you take, the site design and template should be considered mobile friendly with no mobile usability issues such as text or key visual elements being too small, or too close together
- Structured data is present on both versions of the site
- Pop ups on mobile which are not considered intrusive
- Site speed – as well as being a ranking factor of it’s own, mobile site speed is imperative for users trying to access your website on slower connections. To this end, Google have developed AMP
What is AMP?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages which are stripped back templates designed for faster download speeds. They are not applicable to every site at the moment, but could become a key part of all search results further down the line.
At the moment, you may have accessed AMP when news articles and carousels are displayed within your search results. As these results are given prominence over standard organic search results, it has become imperative for content publishers to develop AMP templates for their content in order to maintain and enhance search traffic levels.
How Can Organic Digital Help?
The audit process will identify if your site has issues that would affect mobile users and in turn the mobile performance of the site and advise on how to fix these - most commonly these are site speed or design, layout and coding issues - and via plugins and working with your developers, will put in place what is required to resolve existing issues.
I will also identify if your site content has scope for implenting AMP and recommend the best approach for setting this up on your platform, as well as ensuring your AMP templates are coded correctly and compliment the rest of your site in terms of best practice coding.
Useful Site Speed Optimisation Resources
If you want to find out more about mobile optimisation the following are worth a read, alternatively, if you want any assistance with mobile first indexing, fill in the contact form below:
- Google: Mobile-friendly websites
- AMP Project: What is AMP?
- Google: About AMP on Google Search
- Google: Mobile-Friendly Test