Enhance Site Attributes for Google Mobile Search Algorithm



How to Enhance your Site's Attributes for the Google Mobile Search Algorithm 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 and drop it by ranking it lower on within Google mobile search results pages (SERPs). To give publishers even more of an incentive to offer mobile-friendly pages, Google announced in May of this year, as promised, Google Search favored mobile page more than before, and sites prepared for the mobile-first world typically saw improved ranking changes. This rewards publishers producing content for Google News, and sites that have an AMP version for its news-worthy web pages. By providing fast-loading content, 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 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.”

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.”

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 completing 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 smart phone. 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 simple copy and paste your source code to see what the editor displays for your validation messages. Read and fix any error and warming 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 (https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/#why) 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

https://www.hillwebcreations.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Gary-Illyes-tweets-about-google-mobile-search-algorithm.jpg

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 that spending too much time on speed alone.

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.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): Google Mobile Search AdoptionJohn Mueller urges mobile  search adoption and eBay goes AMP

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.

“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 title “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 webpages on a 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 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 mobile friendly score 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 possible rank well. When consumer choices show clear preferences when it comes to media consumption, note them and adjust accordingly. Buyer 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? Test and see site results to make improvements.

Instant Mobile Apps and App Streaming for a Everything Mobile WorldInstant 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. 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 off-line 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 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 a long-term development and where is the web 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 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 simple 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. Maria Moeva offered that additional benefit of how API also helps with showing engagement and that these metrics can be used to try show up higher in SERPs. A suggestion for good practice to ensure your text is large enough for mobile searches is to 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 reason Google makes its mobile update plans so public is that they feel if publishers are more motivate 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. 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 update 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 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 needs 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

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 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 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 have 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.

Google Tools to Test for Mobile-Friendliness
What mobile-friendly sites look like on different devices.
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

4. Google Page Speed Insights Tool

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 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.

  • Show Comments

  • Soumya Roy

    Absolutely brilliant post on AMP and mobile responsiveness. Being an SEO trainer and professional, I personally always train and pracitse the best techniques to make a site more user friendly. But as you know, this is always not in our hand, a designer or developer has to have some critical understandings about how people interact on a website using different devices and they need to plan and design the layout and UX accordingly.

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