Why Google’s Mobile First Update is Crucial for Small Businesses

Using Google on Phone

Can’t keep up with Google’s changing algorithm? While many of the twists and turns can be missed without much consequence, there’s been a pretty big update that might need your attention – the Google Mobile-First Indexing update, to be precise.

If techy jargon isn’t your thing, it basically means Google will be prioritising rankings for websites that perform best on mobile devices. So how does your website stack up to the competition? Do you have a responsive design, and is your SEO up to scratch?

You’re probably too busy concentrating on getting the sales through the door to worry about how your website looks on smartphones. But what if we told you it would help boost sales? This definitely warrants a rethink in how customers view your business. Before taking the leap into mobile-first design, let’s have a closer look at what we’re dealing with and how your small business can benefit.

What is Google’s mobile-first indexing?

If you haven’t heard of Google’s mobile-first update, then now’s the time to swat up. It’s actually not a new concept. It dates back to 2015, when Google started adapting ranking factors to bring more accuracy on mobile device search results.

Fast forward a few years, the Speed Update was introduced. Then, spring in 2021 saw the Page Experience Update. All of these factors together produce rankings that take everything into consideration for mobile-first indexing.

Mobile-first indexing means Google will be predominately using the mobile version of your website for ranking. So, how will it fare?

Are you ready for mobile-first indexing?

The easiest way to see whether your website is ready for this update is simply by looking at it on mobile. What does it look like? Can you easily navigate the site? If the answer is no, then there’s work to do.

You might think that big businesses only need to worry about this update. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. All companies, especially small organisations, need to stay ahead of the curve.

If your site doesn’t perform after this update, that’s sales lost and brand awareness slipping down the drain. In most cases, you’ll have as much right to be on that lucrative first page as your big brand counterparts, so it’s time to invest in mobile-first design.

How do you optimise mobile-first web design?

There are a lot of things to consider when optimising for mobile-first indexing. Google actually provides recommendations themselves, so here’s a quick summary…

Making your content Googlebot friendly

Google needs access to crawl the content on your site. In most cases, your web designer will have set this up, so the same meta tags are used for both versions of your site. If you’re unsure, we can help check it out.

Create the same content for desktop and mobile

Mobile websites were a separate entity back in the day, but that is not the case anymore. Your website should have the same content on both desktop and mobile unless you want to lose traffic. Google also advises using the same headers on both sites.

Check structured data

If structured data is present on your site, then this should be the same on mobile. If you have no idea what structured data is, we can help.

Check out Google’s additional recommendations

Google recognises that people need some assistance to get the most out of search results, so they provide it to some degree.

Consistency is key across both desktop and mobile devices. Plus, if you have adverts and videos on-site, there are some best practice guidelines to think about.

Identify and correct mobile errors

Much like monitoring your desktop website on Google Search Console, the same can be completed for mobile. Check for errors and fix them as soon as possible.

The benefits of a mobile-first web design

Every business benefits from mobile-first design, and there are a few main reasons why…

Most people use mobile to search the web

A statistic for any business to digest is that over 50% of people use mobile to purchase online. This number isn’t set to decrease anytime soon. Want to get in front of these people? You need a mobile-friendly website!

More chance of ranking better in search results

Want to pip your competitors to the top spot? A mobile-friendly website is a must. As discussed above, mobile-first indexing will reign supreme over the coming years. So if you’re site underperforms on mobile, you’re already on the back foot.

These are just a few of the benefits. You can read through more in our recent blog post: 5 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile-Friendly Website.

Need to make some changes to your website for mobile-first indexing?

There’s no getting away from Google’s updates, and we’re sure there’ll be more to come in the future. The good news is, if you need to make some changes to your website, it’s never too late.

That’s where Rapport Digital can help. Our web designers are clued up on Google’s updates, so you don’t have to be. Not only are we well versed in mobile-friendly website design, but we’re also a top SEO agency in the UK. Combining both these services optimises your site at the front and back end so you can concentrate on everything else.

Mobile design will continue to be at the forefront of web design going forward. With this in mind, it’s essential to know your web agency is on the same page.

We work with accountants and accounting firms, helping them take the next step to improve website performance. Contact the team, and we’ll guide you through the process.

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