Your 3-Minute Checklist to a Mobile Friendly Website

Recently, Google took what a lot of digital marketers perceive as the next big step in search – the integration of Mobile-First Indexing (MFI).

After hinting at widescale implementation back in November 2016, the search engine giant announced this week they’re going to start migrating sites that have met their best practices for MFI.

Why?

Simple. Now more than ever, people are using their phones to find answers to their needs.

Per Google, they will use Google Search Console to notify site owners whose web properties are selected for migration:

Image Source: Google Webmaster Blog

With Google shifting its focus from desktop to mobile, what are the adjustments you can make to be relevant for mobile searches?

Well, we’ve prepared a snappy checklist of site elements you should pay attention to:

  • Mobile content – The content on your site’s mobile version should answer all the queries your desktop version addresses. Emphasis must be placed on quality and conciseness, as mobile searchers are often on the go.

  • Metadata – The mobile version should have equivalent titles and meta descriptions as its desktop counterpart.
  • Structured data / schema markup – The structured data of your mobile version’s web pages should feature the corresponding mobile URLs. Same goes with your desktop version. Limit the use of structured data to those that are relevant to the page.

    Verify the equivalence of your schema markup on both versions of your site by running their respective URLs in the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the results.

  • Robots.txt – Ensure the directives in your robots.txt files work as intended. This allows site owners to control which pages or sections of a website should be crawled. To check if the mobile version is accessible to Googlebot, use the robots.txt testing tool.

  • Hreflang links – If your website has an English and an Arabic version, make sure you use rel=hreflang link elements correctly. The hreflang for mobile URLs should point to their corresponding mobile URLs, same for the desktop versions.

Other things you should do:

  • Verify both versions in Google Search Console – This way, you know that you’ll have access to data and notifications for both versions. Once your site has been migrated, you’ll likely see your crawl rate from Smartphone Googlebot spike up.
  • Check your rel=alternate and rel=canonical link elements – Make sure that both your desktop and mobile versions have the correct elements in place.
  • Reduce load time – Google recommends a load time of no more than 5 seconds, on mobile devices on 3G connection. Google’s own Speed Scorecard can help you compare your site’s speed against your competitors.

  • Optimise average request count – There should be fewer than 50 pieces of content needed to display an entire page on your site.
  • Shrink page size – A mobile page’s size should be 500 kb or less.

  • Prepare your servers – The m­­­­­­igration will cause an increase in crawl rate of your site’s mobile version, and your servers should be prepped to manage that.

And that’s 3 minutes! Take care to do all the above, and you should be in a pretty good position for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing update!

Have ideas you want to share? Let us know on the comments section!

Want to get your website ready for MFI? Call us at 04 4426518 or email us at [email protected].