Optimize Your eCommerce Store for the Mobile-First Indexing

Mobile-first indexing is a method of search engine ranking that makes use of the mobile version of websites to organize SERP items. With mobile-first indexing you can move up your mobile sites ranks instead of Desktop version. To achieve this your websites must be responsive and suitable for use on mobile, or mobile versions must have the same comprehensive content as the desktop.

According to google, the move to mobile first indexing is gradual. It will not happen without notification in the Search Console. If they find your site ready for the move over to mobile-first indexing, you will receive a notification like the following:

Mobile-first indexing notification

Mobile-First Indexing for SEO

Major eCommerce sites are now ‘mobile-friendly’. That means they are accessible on a mobile device without the need to pinch and zoom. If you have a fully responsive eCommerce website, the impact of the mobile-first index will not be a big issue for you. Actually, the responsive version of your site that Google find on mobile is exactly the same as desktop version.

Sometimes, designers and developers like to adjust the content that is seen on mobile in order to deliver a better UX.

If there is a big disparity between the content on your desktop and your mobile version, then you can find yourself dropping in the rankings when the new index kicks in.

If you have a dedicated mobile site and already optimized for mobile devices, you will be affected by these latest changes. But this doesn’t mean that there is no such elements to improve.

Keep this in mind, let’s take a look at how you can prepare for the move to the mobile-first index with some actionable tips.

SEO actions for the mobile-first indexing

There are five key areas in preparing your site for the mobile-first index:

  • Page Speed
  • Simplify Conversion Rate
  • Site Search
  • Gestures and Keyboards
  • Accessibility

1. Page Speed

One of the main reasons for moving to the mobile-first index is to speed up the mobile web. So improving site and page speed for mobile is to improve your rankings in the new mobile-first world. Reducing load times of your site is a straightforward way to make a big impact on UX for your customers. And this is particularly important for eCommerce websites.

According to the report of Statista, in 2018, 52.2 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones, which is 1.9% more than in 2017. It is going to be crucial to get more people switching over to mobile version in order to carry out those all-important conversions rather than switching back to desktop version at the purchase stage.

There are a few ways to keep users engage on site. You can use some tools like, Google’s Page Speed InsightsWeb Page Test and GT Metrix, to  identify page speed issues and address them.

Some of the common issues found on sites include:

  • Large image:

    Avoid large image always to keep the speed of website. You can use tools like Tiny Jpeg or Image Optimiser to optimize your images before you add them to your site.

  • Slow server responsive time: 

    Though your web pages are optimized, but if you have a slow server response time your pages will always take time to load.

  • Browser cache:

    Always leverage browser caching that will allow your content, particularly static content to load quickly.

  • Remove Unnecessary data:

    By removing unnecessary or redundant data you can speed up your pages. You can remove all on your HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

  • AMP:

    AMP is a open source library that provides a way to create simple web pages that will load faster than regular HTML.

  • Progressive Web Apps (PWAs):

    PWAs are web apps that load like regular websites but offer additional functionality, such as the ability to work offline and the look and feel of an app.

  • PWAMP:

    A hybrid form of a PWA with an Accelerated Mobile Page is also known as PWAMP.

2. Simplify Conversion Rate

For eCommerce sites, there is typically one goal and it is sale. From a UX perspective, conversion of people on a mobile device is a great signal to google.

There are a lot of things to improve conversions on mobile, simplifying the checkout process is the major one. Some of the tactics are as under:

  • Ensure that the process of conversion from any page of your eCommerce site is no more than 3 clicks.
  • Cut down the extra information that you request on check out process.
  • Remove unnecessary popups to visit from one page to another page. Also in the check out page.
  • Provide an option for people to create a wish list, so that they can complete the transaction when they wish.

Checkout process

3. Site search

Good site search is essential for every eCommerce website for great mobile UX. The main aim of a site search is to getting people where they can find their desired products easily.

The main function of site search is not only the user can find what they are looking for quickly and efficiently, but  also gather data about the things that people search for, allowing you to refine your navigation panel, product descriptions and even the product offers.

Site search

You can consider the following things for your internal site search:

  • Make sure that your site search must be accessible at all times without scrolling back to the top of the page. It must be big enough to type into and the keyboard that appears is appropriate.
  • Ensure that people can easily refine their search query if their initial search doesn’t deliver what they were looking for.
  • Allow users to refine those search results that entered earlier for further use.
  • Make sure that it will saves time and helps visitors find the closest product to what they want without the frustration of missing the right word.
  • Offer auto correct for misspellings to avoid user frustration.
  • Ensure that search supports the filtering options and gives users the option to ‘Sort by’ or ‘Order by’ just what Amazon does.

Amazon Site search

4. Gestures and Keyboards

For eCommerce sites, the way that users interact with your site can make a huge difference to their overall experience.

Gestures

Pinching and zooming is often considered a bad thing. But many people still pinch and zoom on eCommerce sites when they want to get aver close look of a product.

A small image with poor resolution and no option to pinch and zoom creates a negative impressions and is unlikely to lead to a transaction.

On screen Keyboards

Another area that is easy to overlook is the onscreen keyboard while doing shopping online. Make sure that it fulfill the purpose.

At the credit card details step at checkout process, you need to have numerical keyboard. Likewise, in the email field, give them the option ‘@’ sign and some common email ending such as ‘gmail.com’ or ‘hotmail.com’.

5. Accessibility

It is very crucial to ease of reading the content on your site. Making your content accessible is a key factor to Google.

Text Size

Make sure that the end users can read your content without zooming and pinching. Use 16px as your base font size to scale within the view port for the best possible experience.

Tap target

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to click on a correct button on a website. Because the buttons are too close and have to zoom in order to hit the button.

Both of these are negative user experience but can be easily solved by following two easy steps:

  • Make tap target minimum 48px wide.
  • Space tap targets minimum 32px apart

Tap target

Scaling

This is something eCommerce sites need to focus on for mobile-first indexing. When you are designing new pages, you should always design mobile first and then think about how this will scale to landscape version, then to tablet and finally to desktop version.

Make sure you use every inch of real estate on whatever screen size you are designing for.

Are you ready for the mobile-first index of your eCommerce store?

These five tips will be very useful for you to prepare your online store for the mobile-first index. Hopefully, by doing those changes, your eCommerce site will be in a much more stronger position once the update is rolled out across websites worldwide.

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