7 points to check for a well-indexed Mobile First site

7 points to check for a well-indexed Mobile First site: SEO Guide

7 points to check for a well-indexed Mobile First site: SEO Guide

The global epidemic that is hitting us will have produced at least this good thing: Google has decided to postpone the transition of its index to “mobile-first” for a few months. If developers know what steps to take, Google has recently added a few.

We are therefore going to go through all of this again to see what you need to check so that your site is correctly indexed.

The difference between Mobile Friendly and Mobile First

Mobile-first SEO

Since 2015, Google has favored websites that adapt to the screen format used by the Internet user. These sites, with responsive design, are considered “Mobile Friendly”.

However, this does not mean that navigation is comfortable or that the user experience is pleasant. It very often happens that the display is difficult to read or that the download time is exceptionally long. This is explained by the fact that a “Mobile Friendly” site is very often designed AFTER the desktop version. However, there is a big difference between the navigation and usage standards between these two versions.

“Mobile First”, on the contrary, prioritizes the creation of the mobile site before the desktop version. The design of a “Mobile First” site aims to offer mobile users an unforgettable experience. Companies can then adapt the latter to the desktop version or choose to offer a specific model for each medium.

Why create a Mobile First index?

If, until now, it was enough for your site to display perfectly on all screens to satisfy the search engine, today, Google is much more demanding!

Since the rise of the mobile Internet, several developers have strived to offer different content and formats depending on the medium used by Internet users. After all, mobile users aren’t looking for the same experience as desktop users.

Google therefore wants to reward companies that make the effort to promote the user experience on mobile. This is why the “Mobile Friendly” index gives way to “Mobile First”. Companies that want to maintain their SEO visibility on the search engine will therefore have to make some changes for a well-indexed Mobile First site…

Points to check for a well-referenced mobile site

Mobile-first SEO

Test structured data

Structured data is useful to help this dear GoogleBot better understand the content of your pages. In addition, they allow you to highlight your pages in a sophisticated way in search results, most often in position zero, thanks to “  rich snippets  ”.

If you use structured data on the “desktop” versions of your pages, you must have the same on the mobile versions, because with mobile first indexing, Google will only use the mobile version of your page for the indexing.

Testing your pages in this regard can be tricky. We suggest testing structured data in general and then comparing it to the mobile version of the page. For the mobile version, check the source code when simulating a mobile device or use the HTML code generated with the mobile-friendly testing tool. Note that a page does not need to be mobile-friendly to be taken into account for mobile-first indexing.

Check “noindex – nofollow” tags

You must use the same directives in your robots.txt on both versions of your site. If you use “noindex” (or “nofollow”) on mobile, Google may not be able to index (or follow) the links on your page when your site is indexed mobile-first.

Beware of “Lazy loading”

In the same way that you must make sure not to block any resources, and you must also be careful about what you place in “noindex – nofollow”, you must allow Google to read what you gradually load on your page.

Lazy loading is very common on mobile. However, avoid placing your main content behind this practice, by requesting user interaction (swipe, or click), because Googlebot will not trigger these interactions.

Your content will not be indexed, your images will no longer be displayed in Google Images. Lazy loading should automatically load content when it should be visible on the screen.

Do not block useful resources on mobile

Some resources have different URLs on the mobile version: they are sometimes served on different hosts. If you want Google to crawl your URLs, make sure you don’t prohibit crawling with your robots.txt file.

For example, blocking URLs for .css files will prevent Googlebot from rendering your pages correctly, which can hurt your pages’ search rankings. Likewise, blocking image URLs will (temporarily) disappear these images from Google Images. Speaking of pictures…

Assign the same URLs to your images on desktop and mobile

If your images do not have the same URL on the Desktop and Mobile versions, consider assigning them the same address, so as not to be deindexed, even temporarily.

Besides, why don’t they have the same URL? You wouldn’t use smaller images to fit on a smaller screen by chance? If this is the case, this is a very bad practice: these low resolution thumbnails may be considered “poor quality” by Google which will consider them too small to be presented in Google Images. Speaking of Google Images…

Optimize your alt text for Google Images

The value of “alt” attributes on images is a great way to describe images to visually impaired users using “screen readers”, and to search engine crawlers. Without the “alt” attribute on your images, it’s much harder for Google Images to understand the images you’re using on your pages.

Check the “img” tags in the source code of the mobile version of important pages on your website and verify that they have the appropriate “alt” attributes for the images you want to appear in Google Images.

Tag your videos

If your desktop version uses “VideoObject” structured data to describe your videos, congratulations! Just make sure the mobile version includes the same markup, with similar information.

Finally, make sure to place your videos in an accessible location on the mobile version of your pages. Poorly tagged or poorly placed videos could harm the user experience, and therefore your “web core vitals” score, which could lead Google to poorly index your videos.

Placing mobile at the heart of the design of their website is now the new priority for companies. This means that the ergonomics of the site must be designed FIRSTLY for mobile navigation and then adapted for the desktop. The operation must also allow the site to be efficient: rapid download speed, clickable buttons of adequate size, etc.

And if you need help developing a mobile-friendly site, our freelance developers are here to help.  Post your ad quickly on C2M!

Read More: SEO Audit: How to Analyze My Website?

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