I’m not sure if you remember, but in 2014 (or so), Google made a significant statement regarding the evolution of mobile devices. They basically forced everyone to create mobile-friendly websites or risk losing page rank. Of course, as avid smartphone users, we appreciated this move. Our Channel Partners however – not so much. Back then many were just figuring out the do’s and don’ts of web pages and basic SEO. So, the idea of mobile-readiness, was added to the bottom of an already long list. Of course, about a year later, in late 2015, mobile devices officially replaced desktops/laptops as the preferred route to the Internet and mobile-first indexing was born.
Mobile-first indexing means Google will be categorizing and ranking websites based on mobile versions and delivering search results accordingly. Although many of today’s Partners have mobile friendly websites (which is good), with mobile-first indexing due to roll out “sometime in 2018,” here’s what Channel Partners should know to ensure they don’t lose their hard-earned search traffic:
5 things Google wants your Partners to fix:
Go Mobile or Go Away:
If Partners don’t have a mobile friendly website or worse they have two versions; desktop and mobile, tell them it’s time to move to a single mobile friendly website or they risk losing page rank.
Page Load Times Matter:
Page load times are a significant factor on mobile. As users we have zero patience. When a page fails to load in a few seconds or less, we’re on to other result in our search. Help Partners use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP Open Source software) to strip unnecessary code from their pages to speed load times. Also, remind them to pay close attention to image sizes – the bigger the image the longer it takes to load.
Partners must ensure Google is currently indexing their website. To check, have them search Google for ‘site:theirURL.com,’ (for example site:channelmavenconsulting.com). If no search results are returned, it’s time to develop a mobile site map. Here’s more information from Microsys on where and how to do this.
Perform Mobile Audits:
User experiences dictate who lingers and who bounces – both of which impact search rankings and results. Have Partners perform a mobile audit and look critically at their website on a mobile device, especially from their target audience’s point of view. Do the pages load fast? Is the Navigation menu long and cumbersome? How intuitive is the navigation and do they see what a prospect wants to see?
If you’re a Vendor and need help with Partner websites and mobile user experience audits, contact us – we’re happy to walk you through it.
Analyze Page Metrics:
User engagement is a big factor in SEO. Even if your Partner’s content is relevant, if it’s not consumed, it will result in low engagement signals that demote their search rankings. Have Partners look at their page performance metrics to understand where and what visitors are consuming the most. And remember, Partners should promote their content across social media, including reposting on platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium.
Expected impact of mobile first indexing and the evolution of mobile:
In the short term, as mobile-first indexing becomes the new norm for SEO, so long as your Partners have mobile responsive websites, they’ll be fine in 2018. However, the evolution of mobile isn’t slowing down. Industry leaders, cell phone manufacturers, and cloud service providers are all preparing for the day when mobile devices are our only devices. Therefore, decision-making, with a mobile-first, mobile-user point of view, is the best way forward for Partners to ensure their choices today, remain valid into the future.