The Ericsson Mobility Report Appendix shows that 97% of US households have a mobile phone and 64% of people use the Internet everywhere—indoors, outdoors, and in vehicles. And according to Business Insider there are a little over half a billion websites in existence. How does your Web presence compete with all of that?
Search engine optimization and the mobile-first approach have been two of the hottest topics in the technology world in the past few years as new digital tools and best practices are emerging. What is even more fascinating is the organic interdependence of these two. On April 21, 2015, Google’s algorithm updated to directly reward mobile-friendly sites. This happens in real-time and on a page-by-page basis, meaning it will take effect almost immediately after the search bots crawl your pages and each page is viewed as a separate entity by these bots.
Leveraging key best practices in the mobile-first paradigm will directly impact a site’s success search rankings. Starting with the obvious, simply having mobile availability will invite more visits and engagements to the site, significantly boosting the overall SEO status.
The mobile-first approach requires heavy prioritizing of content as it relates to limited space, therefore maximizing key words and relevant information, which organic search traffic loves. In addition, by keeping content relevant and to the point it lowers the bounce rate for that page, which indicates the information is what users are actually seeking.
“Less is more” is an anthem of the mobile-first philosophy. Through heavy de-cluttering and consistently returning to the question of “Is this absolutely necessary to the user?” a site’s content will naturally become more straight-forward and relevant to the user’s needs. Too often a user will search for content, click through to a site that seems promising only to find that the site does not contain the relevant information: the user will leave almost immediately. This is the “bounce rate”—instances in which a user visits a site and navigates away after only viewing one page.
Creating a simple, clean architecture for a site to accommodate better usability within the mobile environment creates a smoother SEO indexing experience. By having a clean, straight-forward site structure, Google will automatically award sitelinks which are a listing format that appears in the search results, showing the site’s main page along with internal links. Sitelinks naturally increase click-through rates, help improve user trust, and spread brand awareness.
The argument for a mobile-first approach is now stronger than ever. To get started, Google offers excellent information here on best practices as well as tools to help assess the mobile health of current sites.