The smartphone is taking over the digital world, with an increasing number of people using mobile devices to access the internet. Around 77% of searches are conducted on mobile devices. The Mobile First Index was created as a result of this. Because Google will crawl all pages with the smartphone bot starting in March 2021, things will become serious for websites that are not optimized for mobile devices. This means that the rating solely takes into account the mobile version. It is therefore critical to optimize websites for mobile devices and adapt their numerous components to the individual device attributes in order to achieve a decent Google ranking. The following blog post discusses which ranking variables are most significant for mobile websites, as well as how to optimize a website for Mobile First. Additionally, I will go over how mobile websites affect rankings and detail about the new “Mobile First” scheme.
What exactly is “Mobile First”?
Until now, the desktop version of a website has served as the inspiration for the design. The site was then primarily geared for mobile use in the sense of traditional responsive design. On the other hand, with the mobile-first principle, the mobile version is the conceptual starting point, i.e. when creating presentation and usability, the mobile-first approach is initially based on mobile usability. The mobile-optimized website is built first, and then the desktop version is tweaked.
Mobile First as a web design concept is thus a paradigm shift from the desktop to the mobile website, and it differs from responsive design primarily in its approach: both aim for mobile optimization, but take different techniques to achieving it.
What is the Mobile First Index, and how does it work? How do Mobile Websites Affect Rankings?
The Google crawler has always evaluated the desktop version of the website when ranking and indexing it. The Mobile First Index was launched by Google in April 2018, but things will pick up in March.
Google will only use the Mobile First Index to analyze content and information made available on the mobile version of the website starting in March 2021. As a result, the mobile version has the most impact on your Google ranking.
The Google Mobile First Index is an existing Google index, not a new or unique one. Google’s smartphone bot has been browsing all unindexed websites since July 2019. If a website has previously been indexed but is not mobile-friendly, Google still utilizes the desktop bot and gives a grace period.
What is the definition of a mobile website?
A mobile website is one that has been designed specifically for use on mobile devices. In theory, web development was previously limited to the creation of webpages for stationary desktop computers. As a result, all functionalities and visual design aspects were created with huge screens in mind and a high-speed data connection in mind.
Because the majority of consumers access the internet via mobile devices, a website’s mobile optimization is essential for a high ranking. During this process, steps are made to ensure that web content is shown optimally on smartphones, tablets, and netbooks. Different screen sizes, limited internet speed, and navigation clarity must all be considered during implementation.
The various kinds of mobile websites
There are three main ways to make a website mobile-friendly:
With the help of adaptable grids, HTML5 and CSS3 media queries, the website adjusts dynamically to the relevant source medium. The most popular method for mobile optimization is responsive design, however it can lead to mistakes on more sophisticated sites.
Adaptive Design: Depending on the query device, two or more versions of the website are kept and shown. The identification of the end device, on the other hand, is prone to inaccuracies.
Separate website: For large websites, a separate website for mobile devices is preferable, and it is recommended if the mobile and desktop versions are to follow different aims.
The website is constantly modified to multiple display sizes with responsive design, while the web content remains the same. HTML5 and CSS3 media queries, on the other hand, dynamically adjust the structure and design to the various screen sizes.
The end device’s browser (smartphone, tablet, or netbook) determines the design parameters (CSS styles) so that the website’s content may be shown optimally on the device.
There is no need for a second version of the website; the content should only be entered once and then updated. It is a cost-effective option.
The layout is adaptable. Cropped photos, high download times, and frequent zooming of the material improved the user experience, however certain websites’ “endless mode” is an issue.
In the end, poor mobile usability is caused by endless scrolling, reduced sentences, and concealed images (suitability for mobile use). The “Mobile First” principle, which focuses on a user-friendly display on mobile devices from the start, is the solution to the problem.
It’s worth noting that Google favors responsive design. An separate mobile website, on the other hand, perfectly exemplifies the mobile-first strategy because its elements are developed specifically for mobile devices. On a subdomain such as “m.facebook.com,” a second mobile website is built.
The mobile device’s screen is the first place where the layout appears. From the outset, the site content is designed to work well on tablets and smartphones. At this point, the mobile-first approach differs from traditional responsive design, which starts with the desktop version.
If a responsive design isn’t possible, a separate mobile version must be developed. If the desktop and mobile versions have completely distinct aims, a mobile website is also useful.
Better loading speeds, lower bounce rates, and more sales are all benefits of a sleek design; content and design changes may be adjusted exactly without affecting the desktop page.
Content must be entered twice and two web versions must be updated.
Why should you use the mobile-first philosophy to optimize your website?
Why is it important to focus on mobile first? Although the Google Mobile Index will be fully implemented in 2021, mobile usability (suitability for mobile devices) has been a topic of discussion since 2018. Back in 2015, Google released the mobile-friendly update, which made mobile compatibility a ranking consideration.
Given the growing number of mobile users over the years, and the fact that mobile devices now account for about 77 percent of all search inquiries, it was evident where the development should head in 2015.
In this article I hope you found How Mobile Websites Affect Rankings. Learn how Fitzgerald Tech Solutions helps you transform your website into a mobile-first powerhouse that will be ranked in Google!
Matt is the founder and CEO of Fitzgerald Tech Solutions. He is well versed in web design, system administration, and all things tech.