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Is Your Website Prepared For Google Mobile First?

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These days we expect fast and efficient service from any website that we visit. We want quick answers to our questions, easy access to important information, an efficient checkout process if we are purchasing online and to be able to pay our bills online without a long load time.

Well, Google has listened to these requests, and as of July 2018, Google Mobile First will come into effect. They will now be using your mobile page speed as a ranking factor for search results. So, if your mobile site does not load quickly enough for Google’s liking, it will hurt your chances of making it to page 1 of the search results, in both mobile and desktop Google searches!

Is Your Website Prepared For Google Mobile First?

What ‘Mobile First’ means for your business and what you can do to prepare for it.

Load speed has always been a factor in Google’s search engine rankings. However, until now the focus has been on desktop searches, as mobile searches were considered secondary. Come July 2018, this will all change. Why? you ask. Because mobile usage is now surpassing desktop usage and is expected to keep rising.

Google will now be treating your mobile website as the primary version to index, instead of the desktop version. Meaning they will be using your mobile page load speed as one of the major ranking factors for Google's search ranking results. They really are putting mobile first and dubbing this change the ‘Speed Update’.

Studies have shown that users consider speed as a major factor when they visit a website. No one wants to hang around waiting for something to load, instead, they expect the information almost instantly.

The average mobile landing page takes around 15 seconds to load. That might not seem like a long time, but users that visit those sites are giving up and navigating away after 3 seconds (see our partner Clickthrough's blog on Google's Mobile Speed Update here). Even though mobile page speeds are increasing, they need to get faster still, five times faster if research is anything to go by.

Google’s Speed Update will have the biggest effect on pages that are very slow to load, even if those pages have been ranking well previously, their low mobile load speed will now significantly penalise them.

Google makes between 500 and 600 tweaks to their algorithm in a year so updates are not uncommon. However, this will be one of the biggest changes in a while and could disrupt the SEO that you have worked so hard on.

What can you do about it?

Well, all hope is not lost. There are some things that you can do to prepare for the Speed Update.

1: Test Your Site

It is important to know what your website looks like to Google. How will it be indexed, how quickly does it load, is it optimised, and how will it rank in searches. There is a handy tool you can use to do a mobile speed test. Test your site here: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com

2: Ensure Your Site Is fully Mobile Optimised

There is a difference between your site being mobile friendly and mobile optimised. Mobile friendly simply means that your site can be viewed on a mobile device, often as a shrunken or truncated version of your desktop site. But mobile optimised means that the site has been specifically designed to be mobile responsive and optimised accordingly, i.e. it works well on mobile devices, functionality is designed to be used at a mobile size, the website loads fast and isn't loading unnecessary code for desktops etc.

3: Create Mobile-Friendly Content

We know that more and more users are electing to browse on their mobile, so boost your SEO by creating mobile-friendly content. Use short sentences and paragraphs to make your content easier to read on mobile devices (don’t forget to work your keywords into the text). Optimise your images by ensuring they are files that are sized correctly, and your video files load seamlessly (and are optimised for your user's mobile connection). Most importantly, produce quality content that people want to read and can engage with easily on a mobile device.

How Did Your Website Do?

How did your website perform on the mobile test above, is it truly mobile optimised?

If the results were not what you had hoped, then it might be time for a website refresh. As you probably already knew, ranking well with search engines is one of the best ways to get quality leads to your business. You certainly don't want to jeopardise your chances by having a mobile site that is slow to load and not optimised.

If you feel your business could be compromised by these new changes, and you feel it's time for a website refresh, then get in touch with us here at Fuel, all of our websites are designed with a ‘Mobile First’ mentality to give your business to best chance of being found online. They are built on extremely fast cloud-based platforms (with Google Certified and are specifically designed to have excellent mobile speeds (most of our sites get a speed rating in the 90/100+ range).

Want to know more about SEO basics, read our blog here on an introduction to search engine optimisation.

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Fuel Design provided exceptional value for money when designing our company's new website. I found the team extremely professional, personable and helpful, relieving any intimidating concerns that normally go with website builds. This was truly a smooth and satisfying process. I can not recommend Fuel Design highly enough and will definitely be using their services for future projects.

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