The last few years brought us the rise of mobile-friendly marketing and now the next few years is about to usher in the era of mobile first marketing.
The differences are subtle but real, and businesses that fail to grasp it run the risk of dropping in the Search Engine Results Pages, or SERPs.
In November 2016, Google announced their plans to switch to a mobile-first index and over the last year have been carefully preparing to that end.
But what does the mobile-first index mean to you as a marketer or business owner?
What Is the Mobile-First Index?
The mobile-first index is going to change the way Google ranks your website by prioritizing your mobile content over your desktop content.
Traditionally Google has always used desktop content to rank your website on both desktop and mobile, but with mobile browsing having long overtaken desktop browsing, search engines are deciding it makes more sense to base rankings off mobile content.
We can only agree.
How to Optimize for a Mobile First World
First of all, it is important to note that websites that are fully responsive are unlikely to witness any seismic shifts under the new system. One of the benefits of having a fully responsive website that looks good on any screen is that the content is the same for desktop and mobile.
However, if you do have a separate m. site for your mobile traffic you may have chosen to exclude certain content pieces in order to provide a better user experience. If that is the case and some of the content you chose to exclude has strong SEO benefits on desktop, you may want to take the time to figure out how to bridge the gap in order to avoid losing those SEO benefits in a mobile-first world.
Personalize Your Marketing Tactics
According to the Boston Consulting Group, companies that have incorporated personalization into their messaging have seen their revenue grow 2 to 3 times faster than companies that have stuck with the one-size-fits-all approach.
If you didn’t already know, the days of one-size-fits-all content are over and personalization is in. Customers expect personalized service from those they do business with mobile is the perfect channel through which you can deliver this.
Something as simple as remembering a birthday, or offering suggestions based on previous searches could garner you the sort of customer loyalty you could previously only dream of.
Optimize for Voice Search
Optimizing for mobile should not only end with responsiveness, increasing load speed, and providing a great UX. All these are necessary, but relying only on them is a shortsighted approach.
Look to the future!
Voice search is the future of search. 40% of adults and 50% of teens already use voice search every day, and this trend is set to continue growing, as AI improves and becomes increasingly mainstream.
A simple way to optimize for voice search is to focus on long-tail keywords, full questions and complete phrases. For example, instead of optimizing for “restaurants New York”, you should try “What are the best restaurants in New York?” which is what people are likely to search for when using voice search.
Focus on User Experience
As mobile browsing comes to the fore, so too will the mobile experience we deliver become increasingly important.
Traditionally, web designers have always finished up design on desktop and then adapted it for mobile; but with people more likely to access your site from mobile, this approach makes less and less sense as time goes by.
It’s time to flip the script and adopt a mobile first attitude just like Google has so that we know that no matter which device our website is being accessed from we will be putting our best foot forward.
What Should You Do Next?
You can start implementing the steps above to ensure you don’t get left behind as the changes start rolling in. Make the effort to offer the best experience you can for your mobile browsers and you should find yourself on good footing when Google decides to switch to a mobile-first index.
We would love to chat if you have any questions!