How to Enhance your Site’s Attributes for the Google Mobile Search Algorithm
How well do your web pages work on smaller devices? Google continues to refine and prioritize its mobile-first search algorithm, which increases the importance of having a mobile-friendly website.
If your site has become a dinosaur when it comes to a mobile experience, Google will favor other sites. It may drop it by ranking it lower within Google mobile search results pages (SERPs). You can avoid that by enhancing site attributes to better connect with mobile device users. To give publishers even more of an incentive to offer mobile-friendly pages, Google announced in May of this year, as promised, Google Search favors mobile page more than before, and sites prepared for the mobile-first world typically saw improved ranking changes.
These reward publishers that are producing content for Google News, and sites that have an AMP version for its news-worthy web pages. By providing fast-loading content on AMP pages, users are generally able to process the information they want faster.
Whether you are updating your website or creating a new one, today, building and designing fully accessible user interfaces means paying close attention to updates in the Google mobile search algorithm. This article will help you move toward becoming an expert in the area that matters the most to users: making it fast to find easy-to-read and easy to navigate on a site with relevant content that matches the search query. If you want to increase your site’s rankings in SERPs, it is vital to start from the perspective of what will improve the user experience. Mobilegeddon and what it means seems to clearly be more about focusing on the mobile user.
The Time is Now for Mobile Enhanced Sites
Since the mobile search algorithm functions on a page-by-page format, it is easy to take converting to a mobile site in bite-size chunks. AMP is different for other site enhancements in this way. Consider one by one whether or not a web page is sufficiently mobile-friendly and customer-centric or not. If you have been actively progressive in keeping your site current in search trends, your groundwork most likely was already laid during the first mobile update.
According to Holly Miller from Searchmetrics*, “Let’s get a few things straight: Google is trying to improve its mobile algorithm. They formally announced a mobile update in March (which spun into optimization pandemonium dubbed “Mobilegeddon”) and now that the second Mobile-friendly update has been completed, it’s likely there were only minor issues left. As a result, the data of the domains affected by mobile issues did not show the impact like we’ve seen when the Mobile Update rolled out one year ago.”
On May 12th of this year, John Mueller tweeted, “FYI The mobile changes mentioned here are now fully rolled out.” And Google continues to confirm it future plans to add new Google AdWords features for targeting mobile audiences.
There are significant benefits to using mobile app demographics to optimize your ads to reach mobile app users. Google states, “This targeting feature uses an advertising identifier linked to a customer’s mobile device to remember which apps the person has used. We might associate the identifier with a demographic category based on web browsing and app activities on a mobile device. Keep in mind that we aren’t able to gather or infer demographic information from everyone using the web or mobile apps.” Increasing numbers of medical searches are being conducted on mobile devices; if you are in the healthcare niche, we can help you enchance your site now.
Google Mobile Search Algorithm Updates Prompt Rises and Falls in Rankings
Today’s ranking signals for Google mobile search rankings will no longer be largely based on your desktop web pages, as users have pushed the shift to mobile web pages. In the past a really fast desktop web page, while having a slow mobile version didn’t hurt your mobile rankings. But as Google updates its mobile-friendly algorithm, mobile-specific page speed is becoming a significant factor in competing in search.
Dave Besbris from the newly launched AMP, stated at the SMX Google Dance Conference 2016: “Every day, 3.4 million people turn on a smartphone. That is more than the population of Chicago. And that is every single day. This has really transformed the way people use the Internet. Our missions are the same, but now it takes place in a different way.”
Enhance your site’s media content to give viewers a compelling reason to stay on your site and engage your business. Quality content is the number one driver of the average site’s search engine rankings. (For adding advanced forms of media content, we recommend calling Crash + Sues at 612.338.7947)
Meet the New AMP Validator Web UI
Johannes Henkel, a Software Engineer at Google, announced June 21, 2016, the release of the Search Giant’s AMP Validator Chrome Extension. It gives webmasters and SEO’s an additional tool to validate AMP pages: validator.ampproject.org hosts a straightforward web UI for the AMP Validator.
Paid search marketers, who noted mobile as a ranking signal from comments that Google made last year, have found that a mobile-ready site is necessary to order to compete for mobile users who want a better search experience. Thankfully, most publishers have heeded the call to comply with Google algorithm updates and now provide fairly decent mobile pages. Enter a URL to load the AMP HTML source code for testing, or simply copy and paste your source code to see what the editor displays for your validation messages. Read and fix any error and warning messages; your edits will trigger the opportunity for re-validation. This immediate interactive feedback means you can get your AMP pages coded correctly before publishing. It is clearly going to be a bit of a scary journey for some business owners to convert to Mobile search ready pages. As Eric Engie states, “This is where people live and move.”
What’s the Value of Having AMP pages strong
Google posted***** about the value of AMP pages to help sites rank higher in mobile searches. “Google started this effort back in 2014 by simply marking sites with a badge that it considers mobile-friendly. A few months later, it started using this as a ranking signal, too. Speed has long been one of Google’s obsessions, and over the course of the last few months, the company also introduced AMP, which makes sites load even faster on mobile. While it doesn’t use AMP as a ranking signal today, it does prominently feature AMP pages,” stated Frederic Lardinois, a writer at TechCrunch.
Google provides several tools that are key to determining whether your site is up-to-date when it considers your mobile-friendliness. Google Search Console Tools offer a section that highlights “mobile usability errors” that is key to seeing How Google views and crawls your site
Gary Illyes Tweets About Google Mobile Search Algorithm
Google’s mobile speed algorithm update in June 2018 will only influence mobile search results; desktop results won’t be influenced by it at all. At the same time plan that page speed will give your site an advantage; among other factors, to be mobile-dependent and not desktop-dependent seems to fit Google’s future plans.
On June 1, 2016, Gary Illyes, Standup Trends Analyst at Google, answered the following question tweeted by Jennifer Slegg: “With page speed being an upcoming factor in mobile-friendliness, is there a certain page speed test metric people should aim for?” You can view his answer in the image of his tweet provided here.
Internet users will be increasingly more on their smartphones. They shouldn’t need to save your URL, pull it up later, and need to view it on a larger screen. Everyone has a phone on some kind in their pockets or somewhere nearby. Oddly, even while we all may notice when someone else’s site displays poorly on mobile, too often business owners don’t stop and check their own site on their mobile phone. If your webmaster is using the Google Page Speed Insights Tool, it may actually be too granular if your site is loading reasonably fast; it is better to cover all aspects of converting to mobile readiness than spending too much time on speed alone. Retail AMP pages now have ad features that mobile advertisers rely on most.
Having a reasonably fast loading site be sufficient from a search perspective, but doing what users what when it comes to speed may make the difference to them. So do whatever you can for the mobile user experience. The tool is meant to make it easier for the technical team to see what needs to change. Mobile Science & Technology is evolving quickly and merits time and tweaking to see improvements and offer advantages when marketing to mobile shoppers.
“Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” – Doantam Phan, Google Product Manager
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Google Mobile Search Adoption
You may be asking yourself, “does being mobile-friendly really matter that much”? We think it does. Businesses that have been quick to adapt to user search trends have often left their competitors in the dust. Today, the giant e-commerce company eBay has begun using the Google-led open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology for displaying web pages on end-users’ mobile devices faster. Altogether, eBay now has approximately 8 million AMP pages are now live.
Users find that AMP-powered product pages typically look more simple and consumable than non-AMP webpages. But the real advantage for users is that they load up faster. Use the Google Search Console Index Coverage Report to get indexed faster. Start with your cornerstone evergreen web pages that drive sales.
“Pinterest, which is increasingly focused on e-commerce, has experimented with AMP pages in its app. But the technology has more commonly been implemented to serve up news articles. (You can say the same thing about Facebook’s proprietary Instant Articles technology.) Google News, Google search, the Google app, and the Google Play Newsstand app all rely on AMP now,” stated VentureBeat in a 6.30.2016 post titled eBay adopts Google’s AMP to speed up its mobile site.”
“The most recent nationally representative surveys of the Pew Internet Project show how immersed teens and young adults are in the tech environment and how tied they are to the mobile and social sides of it. Some 95% of teens ages 12-17 are online, 76% use social networking sites, and 77% have cell phones. Moreover, 96% of those ages 18-29 are internet users, 84% use social networking sites, and 97% have cell phones. Well over half of those in that age cohort have smartphones and 23% own tablet computers like iPads.” – Pew Research Center
So perhaps this will give you more incentive to move forward.
Enhance your Site Attributes with Readable Text for Smaller Mobile Screens
A test of web pages on desktop monitors and may get away with having tight text and small line-heights, however, a problem occurs when users view that same text on a smaller screen. Sometimes that same text is now nearly impossible to read without zooming. And a mobile user shouldn’t have to make that adjustment. Not only is the type of font you choose for mobile readiness important, but another aspect of a readable font is providing sufficient amounts of space between your lines of text. In CSS this is called “line-height”. Google suggests using at least the browser default line-height of 1.2 which makes the space between the lines on your web pages at least 1.2 times the size of the text itself.
Improving your site’s mobile-friendly score and aligning with searcher intent better, means focusing on the thought behind every search query as a primary signal. When your page has high-quality web content, even if it is not mobile-friendly, John Mueller has assured us that it could still possibly rank well. When consumer choices show clear preferences or indicate key user questions when it comes to media consumption, note them and adjust accordingly.
The buyer’s choice of mobile devices and channels continues to expand, likewise, individuals consume digital content in different formats without much thought about which devices or channels they are using. They just use what is easy and natural, but our smartphones are always with us.
Ask yourself; are my pages friendly to offer service to mobile viewers? Is my content of value? Are my facts sourced and easier to find with schema, and trusted? Test and see site results to make improvements.
Instant Mobile Apps and App Streaming for a Everything Mobile World
In the Virtual Keynote: Everything Mobile with Google’s John Mueller and Mariya Moeva* hosted by Eric Enge today it was clear that businesses should first start with a mobile site.
* John Mueller first addressed where to start to enhance site attributes for mobile: AMP! “It makes sense to start with a mobile site first. All the mocks, all the new features are done on mobile. They are essentially built for the mobile device from the start. Every network needs to recognize that there is content there. It is not so much an SEO thing; it is more of a technical network developer thing. Basically, AMP is a simplified version of HTML. You can link between the standard HTML version and your mobile page version. Within AMP it loads almost instantly. Almost within less than a second, you can get there. It is open-source; anyone can work on it to support functionality. It is a chance to rethink what we created for the web to gain more features snippets and show of for local searches from the local maps packs. With AMP you essentially simplify things completely and kinda start with something lightweight.” commented John Mueller.
* Later he added that “forms are coming” on AMP. For static content, it is really well suited. “The other things are coming step by step. It is different from Google Search in that it is open and you can see where things are going.”
* When asked about using iframes, his response was, “From a search point of view, for valid AMP there are limitations on the size of iframe. If it is primary content, you may want to keep it in the cached part of the page. One thing that I recommend in general, this is a technology that is not going away soon, so it is worth taking the time to do it.”
* When asked about HTTPS, his response was, “HTTPS is not going to go away. It is something that needs to be by default a part of the web. You need to have AMP to have an offline version of your website to work on your phone. The earlier that you can move to HTTPS, especially if you are setting up a new site, just do it from the start. It is also something coming from multiple sides. If you have a blog, for example, and you are attempting to post from an airport, without a secure connection you are essentially sending your username and password around”.
* Maria Moeva’s comment about HTTPS as a ranking factor: “If you are doing it for the rankings, you are doing it for the wrong reasons. The trust that you get from the users is more important.
* When asked about getting in the Google News Carousel, Mueller responded, “What is kinda different is that newsworthy content is local news. We need to make sure that there is enough content to show there within AMP now. We show either the carousel or the individual links. It is not like we need 10 of those to show up. It is not limited to Google News. In the news section, the type of content matters not the type of site. Whatever helps your mobile site will help your desktop site. Definitely, if you make your mobile site work, it will be trickling out and keep the desktop version still there.”
* When asked about Google voice search, Moeva said, “We’ve got a huge increase in voice queries. Because as people use their phones more, a more natural way to interact with it is by speaking what they need. We are seeing that around 20% of the queries, um, on the Google App on phones are now voice queries. As well as out of the voice queries as a tool thing, we get about 30x more action queries by voice then by typing. There is definitely a shift happening.
* When asked about what to expect in mobile search a year from now Mariya Moeva commented, “I would really hope that a year from now will actually have a mobile-friendly version. The lag we see with adoption within the community is definitely significant. We see a lot of people missing out on this whole thing. Consider progressive enhancement and graceful desegregation for slower speeds and older devices.”
SUMMARY: “At some point most people will go to a mobile site, when it comes there, we need to make sure we can crawl a mobile site. These are things where you are looking at long-term development and where is the web-world headed in the next five to ten years. Those discussions are not easy; no-one has a crystal ball”, added Mueller.
Gain New App Users with Mobile-Ready Pages
One benefit of mobile-ready pages for business owners is that you may gain SERP visibility in Google Now Cards and get new users. Having your mobile strategy smart is a great thing. AMP is important in terms of getting the information accessible and fast to the end-user. The easiest thing right now for businesses with mobile apps is to use your API. Many times the delay in getting tasks done is simply that, people have to talk to each other. The web team and the app team still have to interact to get this done, but it is currently the fastest way. Then make sure that your app supports HTTPS so that Google can go to town indexing and rendering your web content to mobile users and get into image-rich product carousels. Find and fix your technical SEO issues so that they do not impede you from enjoying mobile clicks and conversions.
Maria Moeva offered that additional benefit of how API also helps with showing engagement and that these metrics can be used to try to show up higher in SERPs. A suggestion for good practice to ensure your text is large enough for mobile buyers to use when searching – at lease use 16px for your font size.
Why Google Cares About Site’s Being Mobile Friendly?
Coming from personal experience, attending many hangouts with Google staff, and peer SEM/SEO conversations, it seems to fair to assume that one of the reasons Google makes its mobile update plans so public is that they feel if publishers are more motivated to update their mobile websites, users would engage them more.
A reputable Morgan Stanley mobile report infers that mobile web traffic is growing 2x the rate of traffic to apps, which offers a pure traffic perspective. Next, consider the data from the duration of time spent perspective; big data from one comScore mobile user report states that 80% of time on mobile devices is spent engaging an app. According to the August 21, 2014, The U.S. Mobile App Report, then from an additional report they state that approximately 44% of all digital media time (including time spent on desktops) is consumed in apps. This may reveal Google is a proven player in the app market niche with 5 out of the top 10 installed apps; this trend from the mobile web world to apps may lack some luster for the giant search company .
Taken from that point of view, Google may wish to incentivize businesses to improve the mobile web experience they offer site visitors. Anticipate future opportunity for your business in the area of mobile.
Additionally, Mary Meeker’s Annual 2016 Spring Internet Trends Report offers an updated view on mobile and talks about consumer adoption of technology platforms; see the latest KPCB mobile technology trends. She discloses that the US is now well past the tipping point into users preferring mobile. Mobile digital media time in our nation is now significantly higher at 51% compared to a desktop which is at 42%.
Google keeps the exact process of its mobile search algorithm updates close to their chest. SEO experts believe that Google’s quality updates must use data collected over a significant time period. They are careful to have the levels they need and tested positive results before the algorithm update is pushed out. Search Engine Lands’ theory is that “it uses the data that Google has collected and processed up to that point (or some point in the past). So even if Google collects more data beyond that date, it’s not until the algorithm rolls out again and uses the latest data that websites can see changes.”
If the mobile algorithm is now real-time, then it may potentially continually use fresh and current data when making decisions about just which site’s URLs should rank tops. This is a patient process that it pays to stay on top of.
5 Steps to Comply with latest Google Mobile Search Algorithm
We’ll lay out an easy way to enhance site attributes, so you can feel confident your site is ready for mobile advertising.
1.If your website was templated by using or theme from a third-party website source, enlist help to customize your website to suit mobile users. This typically saves time when recognizing that mobile search demands mean trying to quickly become more mobile-friendly.
2. Be sure to hire a web developer or designer who is up-to-date with AMP requirements. Steps that may have been previously taken toward mobile-responsive web pages are a solid progression is the right direction, but there is more that you can and should do.
3. Making leaps during mobile website implementation process involve being familiar with Google’s Mobile SEO Guide.
4. Cover Web Fundamentals and Principles of Site Design that include plans for voice and image searches.
5. Read through documents on the Think with Google for the Mobile Platform, and be inspired by Google’s Multi-Screen Success Stories.
Whatever template web design you opt for, or create from scratch, choose to advance to a mobile-friendly site!
Digital Measure of Mobile Searches
Since the mobile search algorithm functions on a page-by-page format, it is easy to make converting to a mobile site in bite-size chunks. AMP is different for other site enhancements in this way. Consider one by one whether or not a webpage is sufficiently mobile-friendly or not. If you have been actively progressive in keeping your site current in search trends, your groundwork most likely was already laid during the first mobile update.
According to Holly Miller from Searchmetrics, “Let’s get a few things straight: Google is trying to improve its mobile algorithm. They formally announced a mobile update in March (which spun into optimization pandemonium dubbed “Mobilegeddon”) and now that the second Mobile-friendly update has been completed, it’s likely there were only minor issues left. As a result, the data of the domains affected by mobile issues did not show the impact like we’ve seen when the Mobile Update rolled out one year ago.”
Given the extensive proliferation of mobile devices, consumer behavior and the customer journey to purchase has evolved drastically; measuring mobile has, therefore, become a momentous task for marketers. While mobile search has added complexity to digital measurement, we can help you with viable solutions to gain a holistic view of mobile performance.
Mobile Friendly eBay SEO
If you sell on eBay, use the eBay: Mobile-Friendly Test******
To make your listing mobile-friendly, you will need to take care of two main tasks:
1. Make sure your viewport is set correctly.
2. Check that your content fits the mobile screen.
The eBay mobile team advises that their mobile-friendly test tool is a basic tool and is only capable of testing one product item at a time. Once all of your eBay listings are mobile-friendly, study up on all eBay features that are designed to create effective listings. Find the section that addresses optimizing listings for viewing on mobile devices when active content is used in the listing description.
Enhance Site Attributes for Content Relevance and Mobile-Friendliness
What does it mean to be mobile friendly?
A mobile-friendly site is essentially when your desktop website shrinks down sufficiently small enough to display on a mobile device in a manner that is easy to read. It looks like a smaller version of your website while displaying and functioning well. Avoid the need for mobile users to do a lot of zooming, pinching and scrolling.
Mobile algorithm updates only affect mobile searches, not desktop. This relates to cell phones only, it doesn’t include tablets. Most business websites that were already ranked great for high-value keywords were already evaluated as being mobile-friendly. It takes time for search bots to recrawl sites and note changes; only then will they be re-index, and categorized.
Google says: “The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high-quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank high if it has great content for the query.” This means that we can conclude that content relevance remains more important than load speed. It’s about mobile content that serves user’s needs.
Google gives priority indexing to sites that it trusts have high quality, original, and useful content. It does not base everything on just the fact that the architecture of your site is mobile responsive and easy for people on mobile devices to use. This seems to be particularly true for long-tail searches.
Now on to some tools you can use.
Google Tools to Test for Mobile-Friendliness
Image Google: How Mobile is Changing the World
1. Google’s updated mobile-friendly test
2. AMP test in the Google Search Console
3. Fetch as Google for Mobile Apps****
One of the best tests may be to ask others to try your site and to do so on your own mobile device. If takes a second+ to load, ask yourself, “Are mobile users willing to wait an extra 2 to 3 seconds for your web page to load?”
“In other words, businesses must give thought to all of the following; mobile content marketing strategy; mobile design, mobile search marketing and advertising, mobile e-commerce and mobile payment, mobile CRM (customer relationship management), mobile coupons, and integrating mobile, local and social.” – Jeff Bullas
“Remember, the intent of the search query is still a very strong signal — so even if a page with high quality content is not mobile-friendly, it could still rank well if it has great, relevant content.” – Klemen Kloboves**, Google Software Engineer
“As the communities become more comfortable with using knowledge stores, such as WikiData and Wikia’s linked data platform, we should see a further explosion in the amount of structured information available on the web in general. The real future, then, relies not only in the efforts of communities to curate their information, but in the ability to use the principles of the Semantic Web and Linked Data to infer connections based on distributed information.” – Gregg Kellogg, JSON-LD Expert
Hill Web Creations focuses on helping businesses improve their website performance across all platforms and for all user devices. Learn how to improve your website’s mobile performance in Minneapolis Local Search for Mobile Users.