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Optimising your website for Google’s mobile-first index


Earlier this month Google announced that they were testing their mobile-friendly index, which would favour mobile-friendly sites across both desktop and mobile searches.

Ensuring your site is mobile-friendly/easily accessible on mobile is the obvious first-step but how can you help ensure your site can compete with other mobile-friendly websites in Google search results.  Below we’ve noted a few essentials to boost your site’s chances with Google.

Speed – make your site the Usain Bolt of websites

You can check how fast Google thinks your site is by using their own site speed test.  Popping your website’s URL into this tool will mark your site out of 100 and give you a run-down of areas for improvement.  Here are a few go-to areas for improving the speed of your site:

  • Optimise your images – large images can hugely impact the speed of your site
  • Reduce the number of redirects – redirects cause the site to reload which slows the whole thing down
  • Minify the website code – this involves the removal of unnecessary characters from your website code without changing its functionality
  • Leverage browser caching – this stores web page resource on the visitor’s computer enabling it to quickly reload when they next visit

Mobile Design – your site should be more than just a pretty face

Visitors use mobile websites differently to desktop sites and a positive user experience goes a long way with Google as it reduces bounce rates and return to search percentages. You can help improve your mobile user experience in several ways including:

  • Remove any Flash elements – Flash can’t be viewed on mobile so it shouldn’t be on any version of your site. Full stop.
  • Remove pop ups – pop ups make navigation on mobile very difficult if not impossible
  • Make your site finger friendly – make sure your visitors can scroll and click without risk of accidental finger clicks

Ensure your site has been, or will be, built with the above in mind to enable you to compete in your chosen market, whatever that may be.  Give JAW a call if you need a little guidance, we’re happy to help.