Having a website that works on all devices is hugely important. Using a mobile phone is now more popular than a desktop computer, meaning that websites need to change. For the most part, sites online are responsive and work on mobile, desktop and tablets. However, there are a few things to know about mobile first.
At Get Your Mobi our blog this month looks into mobile first indexing and what you need to know about Google’s ranking change.
About Mobile First
Since late on in 2016, Google have been openly experimenting with a new approach to indexing websites. Instead of prioritising how a website looks on a desktop, the search engine decided to analyse a site’s performance on a mobile device. As more than 60% of all online searches come from a smartphone, it makes sense that the search engine would want to change their approach.
At the end of May, Google said:
“Starting July 1, 2019, mobile-first indexing is enabled by default for all new websites (new to the web or previously unknown to Google Search). For older or existing websites, we continue to monitor and evaluate pages based on the best practices.
“We notify site owners through Search Console once they’re seen as being ready. Since the default state for new sites is mobile-first indexing, there’s no need to send a notification to new sites.”
What Does This Mean?
In simple terms, the switch to mobile first indexing means that a website needs to look good and work well on a smaller screen. Most of us have a phone or tablet and are used to surfing the web for answers, advice or to shop. In fact, it is estimated that 94% of adults in the UK own a mobile phone. This figure is up a huge 12% from 2005.
On average, around 2 and a half hours a day are spent on a phone. Having a website that works on this device is crucial as it’s the most likely place a person will go to in order to find what they need.
Devices vs. Usage
Research has recently been carried out by Statcounter into the devices being used most and the speeds of mobile data. This is great because it gives us a vital insight into what people are using and how websites can be optimised to meet a person’s screen size and needs.
Overall, Apple has the largest share of the smartphone market in the UK with 48.77% owning one. Competitor Samsung holds a 28.89% share, Huawei 8.04%, Motorola 1.98%, Sony 1.55%, and OnePlus 1.27%.
Those using Google to search on their phones makes up over 96% of all enquiries. On top of this, 46.52% of mobile users in the UK use Safari to search the internet. Chrome follows behind at 40.77% and Samsung Internet at 10.42%.
As expected, the speed of 3G is not as fast as 4G. Below is a breakdown of each network and its approximate internet speeds:
- Three: 7.92 Mbps on 3G vs. 18.78 Mbps on 4G
- EE: 7.17 Mbps on 3G vs. 28.9 Mbps on 4G
- O2: 4.58 Mbps on 3G vs. 14.61 Mbps on 4G
- Vodafone: 4.58 Mbps on 3G vs 21.92 Mbps on 4G
Does It Impact Rankings?
If a site does not perform well on mobile, then it will have an impact on rankings. Google has given some indications on areas for you to improve and check, helping you to make the most of the changes. Some key things to look into include your page load speeds, images, SEO, AMP (accelerated mobile pages), keywords, quality of content, and UX.
UX (User Experience) is a broad term for all things that impact how your user experiences time on a website. If a page is slow to load, hard to navigate and they are unable to follow your message, then you’ll likely lose a potential customer. Some design elements that can improve a website on a smartphone include easy to click elements, hyperlinks, simple and short navigation, and clear CTAs (Call to Actions).
The Future is Mobile
It is clear that over the next few months and years mobile use will continue to grow. If you would like guidance on mobile first design or any other services, please feel free to get in contact with us.