The mobile phone and device revolution of the past 10 years has led to a shift in the way content on the Internet is consumed. It has caused an upsurge in the number of people accessing content online from their Smartphones, tablet computers, phablets, watches and more.

The size of the screens and functionality of the devices has meant re-thinking website design so that a site will look good on any size of screen.

Google, the #1 search engine in the world, has notices this trend, and proposed a Mobile First approach.

What is mobile first?

Mobile-first proposes that website designers consider the smaller screens first when designing any new website. It should look good on a small screen and be easy to navigate. For example, traditional blue hyperlinks stacked one on top of the others can be almost impossible to tap accurately with a finger, compared to a button. Scrolling up and down a long page can be tedious on a small screen, so content pages are getting shorter, for less scrolling.

Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

Google has noted the shift in content consumption from desktop to mobile devices. Yet most of their results are based on the best results overall, even though not all of the sites are mobile-friendly. This can lead to frustration on the part of mobile device users who need answers but can’t always access the content Google is offering.

Google has therefore proposed a mobile-first index, in which the top results will be from sites that are mobile friendly.

If your site or blog is mobile friendly or uses responsive design, which sizes the page according to the size of the screen, you should have nothing to worry about regarding your search engine rankings. If you have an old HTML-based website, you have at least until 2018 to start making the move to mobile.

Role of Mobile Friendly design

Studies have shown that around 25% of Internet user are now mobile-only, that is, they rarely use a desktop computer to access web content. This being the case, they will only ever see a mobile-version of your site—IF one is available. While this may not sound like much at this point, the truth is mobile is here to stay, and is growing.

Mobile First

This being the case, it is important to start thinking what your site can and can’t do on the small screen. Your first step is to see if your home page is mobile-friendly. Use the free mobile-friendly checker.

Check to see if your page passes or fails. Also see if there are any alerts, which usually indicates that one or more elements of the page failed to load. These might be things like large images, or old Flash and JavaScript, once popular for traditional websites, but not mobile-friendly.

Mobile-friendly design as your starting point can mean narrowing down your content on each HTML page to the bare minimum. A handier approach might be to modernize your site with the help of Bootstrap. It is mobile-friendly and allows for rapid web development for a mobile-friendly site sure to impress.

Sources:

  • https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html
  • http://searchengineland.com/googles-mobile-first-index-likely-not-coming-2018-earliest-277074
  • Mobile Friendly Checker: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly