Mobile First Indexing Is Not a Choice It Is a Must
You may ask yourself what Mobile First Indexing (MFI), means. In simple terms, Google will rank websites that are mobile friendly first, over non-mobile friendly sites. This step has been announced back in 2016. Websites started to migrate to MFI back in December 2017, and work has been going on since then. Starting July 1st, 2019, all websites will be working according to MFI standards. The method used before was the desktop version used to relate the website to the queries of internet users. Pretty straight forward. Here are some questions I get when discussing Mobile friendly sites:
Why is this happening now?
What is indexing?
Why is it important?
How will this affect my business?
I’ll be explaining the risk of not making a website more mobile-friendly and finally I will highlight some solutions to avoid any possible inconvenience.
Why is this happening now?
The truth is, It all began when statistics, in the USA and EU, began showing a shift in the average time a person spends on his/her mobile device. It rose from less than one hour, then 2 hours and half hours on the more sophisticated smartphones, and now mobile users always connected to the internet one way or another. Hence, it became crystal clear that the majority of internet usage came from mobile devices. Today, in 2019 has more than double than on desktop. And the average time users use their phones has steadily increase year after year. Yet, until recently website designers have not seen that coming when they started website designing long time before the evolution of smartphone. As a result, websites may look when displayed on a smartphone from what they look like being displayed on a regular desktop computer or laptop. This may be frustrating for people surfing the net when they have to keep zooming in and out, and swiping left and right to read all the content.
What is Indexing?
Search engine indexing, sometimes called web indexing, is the method used by a search engine to gather data from your website and making the text searchable; otherwise, no one would be able to find your website if it is not indexed. This would be called Sandboxed.
Why is it important?
If your website is not up to date, you run the risk of losing your rank in Search Engine Results Page (SERP). And will slowly rank down to the point no one will find your site. July 1st 2019 is when Google announced when the MFI will go in full force.
How will this affect my business?
The website will display only what can be displayed on a mobile phone first. So if any other feature can be seen while checking the website on a desktop PC or a laptop, but not on the mobile, these features will not simply be displayed. This will surely affect the number of those accessing the website. Frankly, non mobile friendly websites are not going to keep the same ranking on search engine results pages, SERP. Without the least doubt this will make it difficult for regular and new customers, or clients, to find such websites, and of course the product or services offered by those websites. I know that my readers have concluded what I am about to say. Sadly and inevitably those websites, not designed or updated according to MFI requirements, will lose regular and potential customer, or clients, and of course lose the current share of the market resulting in financial loss.
Mobile First Indexing Solutions
To avoid the problems mentioned above, you have some solutions.
Firstly, if you have enough time, and know-how, you can redesign your website yourself. Most website building software are already equipped with Mobile Friendly attributes as a standard now. WordPress is the most SEO friendly and has a HUGE library of themes to use from free to paid.
Another option is to have a friend or family member that knows web design, that can help you.
And lastly, hire a web designer or agency that can fix it for you.
WaveRIM offers free strategy sessions on how to improve your website and google rankings, on top of web designing, SEO, and web hosting services. During this free session we would figure out what part of the website or marketing needs the most attention. We’ve spent years keeping up to date on what google likes and doesn’t like when it comes to ranking. We help you personalize your web page so that customers, or clients, feel that they are tailored from them. To conclude, MFI is to dominate all internet search queries over non mobile friendly websites. Updating websites to become more mobile friendly is not an option any more, it is a must. If you have to go through all that, it is highly sensible to let a professional work for you.
Google My Business, otherwise known as GMB, is a free tool that assists businesses in managing online presence in Google search and Google maps. If you searched a business, you would likely see their GMB knowledge panel which contains information relevant to what their customers are looking for. An optimized GMB helps Google to understand more about your business giving you an upper hand when your customers search for the services you offer. Below are 12 steps that one could use to customize their GMB to provide better appeal and effect to their customers.
12 steps in optimizing your Google My Business (GMB) listing to help rank into the Google Map Pack
1: Create or Claim your free Google My Business listing –
(If your business is listed but not claimed, you will see a small link that asks, “Own this business?”, click on that and follow the directions.)
Go to the link above and sign in to the free GMB account where you can start adding information about your business. After agreeing with the terms and conditions, you will enter your preferred email address. You will then be directed to a screen where you can fill out personalized details about the business such as location and contacts. If your business does not appear in the drop-down, do not worry, just proceed and click continue. However, you will be asked to authorize your business information, and a Google+ page will be created for your business.
2: Verify GMB listing
There are a couple of ways to verify your GMB
Verify by email
Some businesses are easily verified via email. If your business is ‘eligible’, ensure your email ID is correct, and then start the process. In your email inbox, open mail from GMB then click the verification button in the mail.
Verify by phone
Once you have confirmed your phone number, a code will be sent to your phone via text message. Enter the code to verify and start managing your business information.
Verify by postcard
This verification is done via mail where the code is sent as a postcard that takes approximately 12 days to arrive. Fill the code to your GMB account and your GMB is verified.
3: Download GMB app on Android or Apple phone.
(It’s not a MUST HAVE, but it is helpful for on-the-go data checker.)
You now have the GMB set up for your business. The next step is to download the GMB app from Google Play. Simply click the download app option and install the app. This application will allow you to customize your GMB and give you easy access from your mobile device.
4: Fill out the “Info” section completely
Either on the computer or on the GMB app, you can update your business information. To edit this information, tap the menu then business info. Here you can modify your business name, address and business hours. To update the location on the map, click the edit icon on the embedded map.
5: Gather relative pictures to your business
Good pictures to have would be:
3x City you’re in
3x of what you do
About 12 to 15 pictures is a good number for potential customers to look at as a visual stimulation to make a decision if they want your service/product.
According to Google, businesses with pictures get 42% more requests for directions and 35% more clicks through their websites compared to the ones which do not have pictures is. Once you are done renaming the images, geotag them using this link https://www.geoimgr.com/
6: Upload “Geotagged” pictures in GMB
Once you have renamed and tagged the photos, choose the ones to upload, preferably in a timely fashion. Go to the GMB app and upload the Geotagged images. They should be placed aesthetically to appear attractive to the customers.
7: Get an Interior Virtual Tour (Optional and if applicable to your business) –
An interior virtual tour of your GMB allows you to view your business from the perspective of the customer. This step will enable you to modify business information to become more accessible and straightforward for anyone seeing the GMB for the first time. Using the link above, you can hire a trusted pro that will enhance your GMB and make it more visible to the traffic related to your business.
8: Reply to all Google Reviews professionally and respectfully
Reviews on your GMB can determine a lot whether a customer will want you to offer them your services. It has been proven that customers mind the opinions of other customers who have used your product or service. Responding to reviews should be done politely and professionally to avoid unnecessary confrontations that could jeopardize the business.
9: Enable googles new feature Messenger (Optional)
This new Google feature allows you to have direct messaging with your customers. Some businesses require prompt communication between you and the customer. This feature will enable you to get instant messages that alert you about your customers’ needs. Additionally, it gives you the ease to direct new clients through your business information if not to where you offer your services.
10: Check your “insights” and Search Queries for analysis regularly.
(app is useful to check data on-the-go)
This regular interaction with GMB gives you the upper hand when it comes to managing the traffic of your consumers. With the knowledge you gain from the analysis and insights, you can optimize your GMB to fit the preferred traffic channel, therefore, making your GMB more visible and more active. You can use posts in blogs and other social sites to promote events in your business. Many customers view several GMBs before choosing their preferred service provider. With timely updating and relevant posting on the google maps, your business will stand out to any potential client.
11: Confirm review websites, and up to 3 Social Media have connected to GMB
It is essential to create other marketing links to your GMB. Review websites are known for massive traffic of customers who are always keen on what other professionals think about particular products or services. With proper traffic from a review website, your GMB will have increased activity, which will translate to more business. Social media is also a powerful marketing tool. Ensure you have at least three different social media platforms all dedicated to marketing the business. These platforms can share customer experience, images of the services and the general tone of interaction between the clients and you, the service provider.
12: Ask for honest reviews from your clients/customers
After providing your services, it is crucial to get an honest opinion on your work to know what to improve and what to remove to suit your service to the market better. Reviews can be word of mouth or even as comments on your GMB. Comments on your GMB make the account livelier and are more likely to attract potential customers who can see what others think of your business. Additionally, reviews help you add more products and services since customers will always advise on what more they would have enjoyed.
In this age of technology, there is not really a high need to apply old marketing techniques to better your business since most of them have become obsolete. GMB allows customers to access your business information from anywhere around the world. With a highly rated business and an effectively customized GMB, this tool makes it easy to grow your business to unimaginable proportions.
Google is such a prominent and dominant force on the web that it’s become a dictionary entry, a verb. When we are asked a question and we have no idea of what the answer is, we say ‘just Google it’. In some cases where we know the answer, due to not having enough time or patience we still reply with the same phrase, ‘just Google it’.
Everyone knows what Google is. And all webmasters want more than anything for their sites to rank high on Google. They know they stand to gain a lot from the search giant’s popularity. Even from the very beginning, Google did search engine right.
Where every other search engine at the time was focused on becoming a portal, a one-stop-shop on the Internet, Google was solely a search engine. People got much better results when people searched for stuff on Google than other search engines.
This largely led to Google’s success. To date, no other search engine comes close, not even Bing, the world’s second largest search engine.
“Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Over the years, Google has continuously improved and developed their services to make it in line with their vision. Back in the day, people could fool Google by implementing some tools that made their not great sites rank high on Google. Go ahead and ask any so-called black hat SEOs out there, fooling Google nowadays is insanely hard work.
Nowadays, in a bid to have your site rank high on Google, you’re going to have to play their game. You’re going to have to follow their rules. Otherwise, you risk getting your site forever stuck in the 100th or 1000th page. We all know no one will bother going that far. What this means is that your site will be practically invisible to people who may be interested in your content. It is assumed that if you have great content and a good website, you should be top of the rankings list.
What Google Wants, Google Gets
You should always remember those words. Whenever Google releases an algorithm update, webmasters struggle to make sure their site adheres to whatever information, clues, or guidelines Google has released.
But why should you care what Google wants? How would your brand or business benefit from it?
Before we answer that question, its best we first understand the context. Google is the number one website and search engine in the world. With over 3 billion queries handled on a daily basis, Google has the lion’s share of most searches on the Internet. That means billions of people use Google to look up information on all sorts of topics!
Now, imagine that number of people heading on over to your website simply because you appeared on the top spot on Google.
I am pretty sure there is a very large grin on your face having knowing this.
Your site will probably crash under all that traffic,and you’d need to upgrade your hosting to probably the most expensive option! Unless of course, your site is hosted on some cheap hosting plan. But, that’s a good problem to have, you know.
A massive volume of high-quality traffic is a great opportunity for your business. That traffic will surely translate directly to more leads and definitely more sales for your business. To crown it all up, you do not have to spend a penny towards making your website appear on those top spots on Google search pages!
Are you now convinced on why you should care about what Google wants? I honestly hope you clearly get the picture! If you don’t, seeing yourself on Google pages top spot is going to be like a dream that’s never going to become reality. Your page will be buried so deep and no one will be visiting your site from Google searches.
The only other option would be to spend your cash making payments to Google to have your site appear on the first page. This would be courtesy of Google Adwords which, in all honesty is an expensive venture. Other alternatives include paying for a spot on other search engines like Bing or paying for ads on social media. These options might get you traffic but definitely not from Google searches.
The question you should ask yourself is “which is better?” Would you rather pay for ads than get free highly targeted traffic? Of course, you’d choose the latter. There’s absolutely no point in paying for ads when you can conveniently get better quality traffic for free, right?
This is basically the reason why many webmasters and business owners do their best to make sure their site is compliant with Google requirements.
So, when Google demands for your site to be faster, it should be faster. If you do as Google says, your site will ultimately be rewarded by higher rankings on its search pages.
The Best Tools To Help You Configure Your Site To Make It Run Faster
Before you go off trying to make your site run faster, you need to first establish a baseline for your site’s speed. To achieve this, you need to make use of some tools. Below I have stated some of the top free tools which will give you plenty of actionable tips to help you configure your site and make it speedy:
This Google’s free tool will allow you to check out your website’s real performance for both desktop and mobile devices. All you need to do is enter your website URL, click on the blue ‘Analyze’ button, and wait for Google’s suggestions on how your site could be improved.
As shown on the screenshot, there are two tabs: Mobile and Desktop. Each tab will have its own professional set of suggestions on how you can improve your site’s performance on either platform.
You get a score for Page Speed and Optimization. Ideally, you want a perfect score. It is hard to achieve but not impossible. You just follow the suggestions Google gives you, so you get a perfect mark!
PageSpeed Insight’s give you both the good and the bad. When you scroll down the page, you’ll see a section for Optimization Suggestions and another section for Optimizations Already Present. Here’s what it looks like:
What you need to do is go through the Optimization Suggestions section, click on ‘Show how to fix’ and do the necessary changes.
If you want to know the good stuff, click on ‘Show details’ in the Optimizations Already Present section. It’s always a good idea to know you’re doing something right with your website. It motivates you to go and do the things that need to be done!
To use GTMetrix, all you need to do is enter the URL you want to analyze and you’ll have your site’s performance report in under a minute. GTMetrix is free to use, and you can gather lots of information on how you can improve your site’s speed.
The only pitfall is you can’t use a test server region closest to your location. Instead, the default region used will be Vancouver, Canada.
Here’s what the report looks like:
As shown in the image, you’ll get a summary of your ‘Performance scores’ and your ‘Page details.’ You can click on the different tabs to get an idea of the things you need to improve on.
For free users though you can only see data for PageSpeed, YSlow and Waterfall Analysis. If you want to view data in the Timings, Video and History tabs, then you need to either register an account or sign up for a premium plan.
Pingdom is another great tool that you can use to check up on improvements you need to make on your website’s loading times. This tool is loved by many because it shows you a lot more information than Google’s PageSpeed Insight does.
All you need to do is type in your website’s URL, select the location you want to test from (currently, you can choose from 4 different locations), then hit the ‘Start Test’ button.
You’ll then be presented with the results. First up is a Summary section which gives your site a ‘Performance Grade.’ It also shows your site’s load time, page size, number of requests, and more (see screenshot below). Further down, you’ll have a list of things to improve on in the section ‘Performance Insights.’
If you want to see which of your website files are contributing to your site’s load, then you can check the ‘Content size by content type.’
What’s really cool about Pingdom’s tool is that they include a waterfall analysis of your site. This type of analysis will help you easily look up which factors affect your site’s performance.
Google is making efforts towards making the internet a better place for everyone. If you are serious in wanting to make your business a success, you’ll need to ensure your site loads fast too. If not, you will continuously lose potential customers to your competitors.
Have you ever had to wait for forever for a web page to load? And by forever, I’m implying 5 seconds or more. (In the real-world, however, 5 seconds isn’t so bad. In fact, 5 seconds is considered fast).
How much time does it take you to get from your house to your office? Or how long do you spend brushing your teeth? I know for certain that you do not complete either of those activities in 5 seconds.
You’d wonder, why bother if a website takes 5 seconds or more to load? Or why we get fustrated over sites like these? (Admit it, you actually do not like waiting and staring at your computer or mobile phone screen while a web page loads super slowly).
The Internet and Instant Gratification
It is basically about the need for people to get instant satisfaction. We live in a fast paced world and our number one desire is to get things done how and when we want it. However, in several situations, getting that instant satisfaction no matter how hard we try, turns out to be an impossible task.In the online world, however, we have several options to choose from. The availability of super fast internet at home, at our work places and even on the go.
As we make use of several search engines, we expect to get answers as fast as pressing the “Enter” button. We desire to have the information in the blink of an eye.
Most times when we follow a link and it takes up a bit of time to load, we instantly hit the back button with so much impatience as if that will help in loading the site. We go back and try to access another website. We do this until we find one that loads instantly.
What A Slow Website Means For Your Business
Owning a slow website translates to you losing a sizeable amount of high quality traffic. This further means lost sales, lost leads and lost income for your business.
By saying high-quality traffic, I mean the people who intentionally searched for information that would have probably led them to your product or service. That is the reason the search engine brought up your website. That suggests your content is useful as regards what the user is searching for.
When people leave your site even before they get to see what you are offering, the fault is all yours. You have a truck load of competitors. There is absolutely no reason they should waste their time waiting for your site to load when there are better and faster sites to check out.
You can be getting all the traffic, but because of your slow website, their attention is stolen by your competitors faster websites. They get to sell their products and services and also build up on their mailing list while you watch from the sides lines trying to figure out why you are getting little to no traffic.
If your website had been optimized, your competitors would be looking for other ways to get an advantage over you. And then you will be able to concentrate on other aspects of your site to improve on ranking.
So, what to do? At this point, the thought of giving up shouldn’t cross your mind especially if your site’s already ranking on Google. A considerable amount of time has also been spent creating and setting up your website, making sure it looks good, developing amazing content you know people would love.
All you have to do now is work on optimizing your website’s speed and having it run as fast and as efficiently as possible. Tweaking a few things in your website at this stage is a must.
The Benefits of Having A Fast-Loading Website
If you haven’t already guessed, there are lots of benefits that come with having a speedy website. As we’ve shown in earlier examples, these benefits are not that far out of reach and will help you get closer to ranking on google.
Here are some of the top benefits:
1. You retain your website visitors
A fast loading website will help you retain your website visitors. They won’t feel the need to go back to go check out your competitors. Instead, they’ll stay on your website and get a pretty good idea of what you have to offer.
But here’s the honest truth – if you truly want your visitors to not hit that dreaded back button and keep on coming back for more – then you need to have outstanding content on your site. It doesn’t matter how fast your website is, if you’re content is not keeping your users engaged or keeping them attracted to keep reading more, then website speed is the least of your worries!
(Think of it this way. A website is one big puzzle, there are so many pieces to make your website the best it can be, Speed and Content just being 2 of many.)
The important thing you should note is that you’ve got to think about your site visitors. The reason they are on your site and If you provide them with what they want, then they’ll keep coming back for more. However, if you give them content that doesn’t provide any value, then your fast-loading website will just be that – a fast loading website.
2. Positive user experience
Your brand or business will be judged by your new site visitors by how fast your website loads. If you have a slow site, you are basically losing the one opportunity to gain their trust. Your website will come off as unprofessional; something that’s unworthy of their time, so they’ll leave and continue their search to find website that will value their precious time.
Fast websites; however has a greater chance of getting their audience’s trust. When a page loads quickly, it makes the user feel valued and they feel like you are not wasting their time. They believe that you’re going to make it worth their while to spend a little more time on your site.
You also add to the positive user experience if you’ve got great content on your site. People will be more willing to sign up to your mailing list, they will genuinely be happy to purchase your products or your services, and they won’t hesitate to recommend your website to their friends on social media!
This, in the long run, leads to more visitors to your site which further increases the chances of your website going ‘viral’ and get you plenty more new visitors in the process!
3. Better conversion rates
All webmasters ideally want to have a perfect conversion rate for their websites. In real life, this rarely happens. Depending on the industry and the offer, many online businesses are happy with a 10% (or thereabouts) conversion rate. In many cases, that’s even considered an above average number.
Having a speedy website makes people stay on your website and check out your products and your services. If you have a well-designed website and you follow the best practices for maximizing conversions, then chances are you’ll have good conversion rates, too.
However, if you don’t follow the best strategies and techniques for improving conversion rates, then your speedy website is not going to help improve your bottom line at all. So, make sure you’re up to date on what’s working in your industry so you can put your fast-loading site to good use!
4. Better rankings on Google and other search engines
Search engines work hard to make sure they provide the best experience possible to their users. This is the main reason they have algorithms and metrics to rank websites for various keywords. There are billions of websites on the Internet. Search engines have to figure out a unique way to make sure the top spots go to the best websites.
No one person knows exactly what all the ranking factors are (it will be very easy to cheat the system if everyone knows what the ranking factors are), but website/page speed is definitely one of those factors. The faster a web page loads, the higher the chances that it’s going to rank high on Google and other search engines.
This simply means that if you’ve got a fast-loading and high-quality website which offers valuable content to users, search engines will definitely love you. Your reward will be high rankings on their search pages.
This is the sole reason as to why optimizing your site for SEO (search engine optimization) is important. If you succeed, rest assured you’ll get highly-targeted, free traffic for as long as your site is on top of search pages!
Utmost priority should be given to website speed optimization. Having your pages load faster on computer and mobile devices should be the goal of all webmasters.
A slow website is going to hurt your business in the long run. If you want your business to stand the test of time, then make sure you optimize your website for speed.