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Best practices for the Mobile-First update

We are almost at the point we have been preparing for since March 2018! Exactly three years on (give or take a few days), Google will finally have finished rolling out the mobile-first index across every website on the internet. If your website is not designed and built to be mobile-first, you could now start to see a decline in your site’s search engine rankings and traffic.

There are many elements to look out for to ensure your website complies with a mobile-first design, however, our team have compiled six key ranking factors that the search engines will be measuring your site against.

Font Size

When showing content on smaller screen sizes, it is critical to make sure it is still readable. “Text too small to read” is one of the main issues that flag up when Google is crawling websites for mobile usability. Our team recommends that your font is at least 16pt for mobile webpages. 

Imagery 

Your website should contain high quality, rich imagery, whilst ensuring that it is optimised so as not to increase page size and loading times. We would recommend JPGs being 80-100kb in size for both mobile and desktop to avoid slow-loading imagery, with PNGs being as close to 100kb as they can be, without losing quality.

Buttons

Buttons should also be adequately spaced out from one another, so that website users don’t unintentionally press the wrong button whilst browsing your mobile site. If a user lands on a page accidentally, they may close the tab, causing a higher exit rate, which in turn can affect your search engine rankings. It is also important for your buttons to be static, and not animate - it may look great on a desktop if an arrow changes shape or direction, however on mobile it can affect your CLS (cumulative layout shift), which is one of the major factors in Google's Page Experience algorithm. 

Consistent Content

It's important not to strip any content out of the mobile version of your website due to less space. Using the same content across your desktop and your mobile version of the website will ensure that it is just as useful for visitors, as well as including those all-important keywords for the search engines to use when ranking your webpages. 

Video Content

Video content is a great way to engage with users whilst they are on your website. However, because many people browse the web on the go, you must set your video content to not auto-play, as this could eat up a user’s mobile data, and stop them from wanting to visit your website again in the future.

Site Speed

We all know how crucial site speed is when it comes to great SEO. Make sure that your site is running quickly on mobile devices by minifying and compressing your JavaScript and CSS, utilising image compression, and using a CDN (content delivery network).

 

A great website on all devices can make the difference between ranking on page one for your search terms, or not appearing at all, and as the search engine crawlers are becoming more human-like, each improvement we make for the crawlers will be appreciated by our users. With the continuous algorithm updates (hundreds per year), it can become overwhelming and you may need to seek the help of an expert SEO agency. If you are interested in learning more about how our SEO team can improve your website, and your search engine rankings - get in touch