Preparing your Park website for Google’s Mobile First Index
17 July 2018
As more and more searches take place on a smartphone, Google wants to ensure that its index and results represent the majority of their users. More than ever, mobile technology is driving changes in the way Google delivers search engine results.
Over the last year, Google has started to use the mobile version of the web as their primary search engine index. This is a big departure from what it has done in the past.
Google’s aim is to launch this index worldwide, in a move that will see the search giant access the mobile version of a website to index and rank content. Even if a consumer searches on a desktop device, Google will query its index of mobile content to find the most authoritative, relevant response. The mobile version of your site will become the primary version once the index switches over.
If your park website doesn’t have a mobile version Google suggest that there is no need to worry. Although Google wants you to have a mobile site, it will crawl your desktop version instead.
However, if you have a mobile site, then you need to make sure the content and links on the mobile site are similar enough to the desktop version so that Google can consume the proper content and rank your site as well as it did by crawling your desktop site.
Google will send a notification via your Search Console when your site has been switched over to the mobile-first index. This is welcome news for site owners as it gives clear indication of how well your website is being received by Google and if it passes the main mobile indexing test.
Preparing for a Mobile first index
Watch any person browse the Internet on their smartphone and you will soon see that it is a very different experience to when they use a desktop. There are subtle differences in the way they consume and share information – which is why it is so important to understand the user journey.
Attention spans among audiences are much shorter on mobile devices than they are on a desktop, so it is vital to understand the concept of the micro-moment (see The Basics of Micro Moments).
During these short windows of opportunity, parks can engage customers just as they express their desire to know something, go somewhere, or even be inspired by content.
Mobile users also create and share more data than when they are on desktop devices, which creates new opportunities for content to be shared across multiple channels and even explore innovative mobile experiences e.g. voice search.
On mobile devices, content needs to help users achieve their goal quickly. This means developing a mobile content strategy to provide the fastest experience possible – but that can only happen if the user journey is fully understood – and specific content is delivered at mobile-heavy stages of the journey.
There are several best practice techniques that will help you prepare for the mobile-first index:-
- Test your site for speed. Use Google’s mobile site speed test to identify any areas of your site you can accelerate. Your aim should be to make your site as fast as possible.
- Structured data. This markup helps search engines understand and retrieve your content, making it one of the cornerstones of a successful SEO strategy this year.
- User experience. Analyse your data to see where the bottlenecks are within your site journey. These tend to occur when users have to wait a long time for a site to load, when content is simply too long to read on a smartphone or when they have to pinch and zoom to read text.