Mobile Indexing

Increase of Mobile Search Volume Compared to Desktop Search

Over the years, the demographics of mobile device users grew dramatically at a rapid pace. As early as October 2015, Google’s Search Chief Amit Singhal announced that searches on mobile devices exceeded the numbers of searches done on desktop computers, in ten (10) countries, including Japan and the United States. In 2016, Google announced that mobile searches account for more than 50 percent of search queries globally.

Further, a study conducted by ComScore across nine (9) global markets revealed that more digital minutes are spent on mobile devices than personal computers (PCs).

Mobile Users vs Deskop Users

Photo Credit: Smart Insights

A recent study also showed that 80 percent of Internet users resort to smart phones, while 47 percent use tablets for online searches.

As mobile devices become the go-to source for online searches, Google has decided to adapt to the changing needs of Internet users. It thus began to place more premium on a website’s mobile performance. While Google releases algorithm updates every so often, in 2018, it unveiled its mobile-first indexing initiative.


Understanding Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

So what is Google’s mobile-first indexing? Ordinarily, Google’s indexing, crawling and ranking technologies use the desktop version of website. With the mobile-first indexing feature, Google now looks at the mobile version of a website first, before it looks at the desktop version.

A website’s mobile version thus becomes the starting point for Google’s indexation, and serves as a baseline for determination of site rankings. Expectedly, crawlbot traffic in mobile websites may increase, specifically Smartphone Googlebot.

To put it simply, Google is crawling and indexing website pages based on how these are rendered on mobile devices, as opposed to how these look on PCs. This feature also helps mobile-oriented content become more visible to searchers on mobile devices.

While it is true that a website that has no mobile version can still be indexed by Google through its desktop version, the lack of a mobile-friendly website can negatively impact rankings. This is because having a mobile website potentially boosts rankings even for searchers using the desktop.

mobile vs desktop indexing

Photo Credit: Moz

Google’s mobile-first indexing feature thus signals the need for your business to adjust its strategies accordingly. Building a mobile-friendly website is now a necessity. A results-oriented mobile SEO strategy is all the more imperative.

Ideal Mobile SEO Practices to Increase Site Rankings

What exactly are the best practices for Google’s mobile-first indexing?

Listed below are ideal mobile SEO practices that can improve your site’s rankings:

  1. Accelerate your page speed.

    The term page speed may describe two things: first, it can mean the time needed to fully display a specific page’s content, often referred to as the page load time or second, the time needed for the web browser to obtain the first byte of information from the server, which is referred to as the time to first byte.

    Either way, Google’s algorithm evaluates a website based on its page speed. Slower page speed translates to longer load times. This tends to negatively affect user engagement, user conversions and help increase bounce rates. Search bots also crawl fewer pages with slow page speed, and this can be detrimental to your website’s indexation.

    Research shows that page speed affects outcomes:

    • revealed that for every second it took for its website to load, it loses 10% of users.
    • found that 47% of people expect a site to load in less than 2 seconds.
    • A study showed that if a shopping transaction is way too slow, 20% of the users simply abandon their cart
    •  Google confirmed that 53% of website visits get abandoned if a website takes more than 3 seconds to load.
    google mobile page speed stat

    Photo Credit: Optin Monster

    Acceleration of page speed can be achieved through the following:

    • Compress or get rid of large files. Keep your website lightweight. File compressors like Gzip, can reduce Javascript, CSS and HTML files which are bigger than 150 bytes.
    • Keep images optimised. Ensure that your images have the right file format. For instance, JPEGs are more suitable for photographs. On the other hand, PNGs are ideal for graphics with less than 16 colours.
    • Minimize redirects. According to Neil Patel, redirects can slow down your site’s load time. In redirects, the process takes up too much time as the server has to find the page which contains the document sought, which is otherwise available at hand when clicking on a normal mobile link.
  2. Setup structured data.

    Structured data refers to the embedded data or on-page markup which helps search engines better understand the information on your website. This way, it becomes easier for the bots to pick up and index website information.Google, along with other search engines, incentivizes implementing structured data correctly by providing benefits to mobile websites. Among these benefits include search result enhancements. Data collected presented by Google become more visible to searchers. This may be in the form of highlighted search results, rich search results, or knowledge graphs which give your mobile website a change to stand out from competition and potentially acquire higher click-through rate.

  3. Valuable content is still key to better rankings.

    The rule remains the same. Both desktop and mobile version of your website should contain valuable, high quality content that is original, informative and meaningful to Google users.Google directs its users to websites with highly engaging content. When searchers find the information they need on your website, they are like to return. This can boost your site traffic and user retention rates and ultimately increase your site rankings.

  4. Integrate social haring into your mobile website.

    Research suggests a strong correlation between social media and site rankings.

    Social Signals Influence SEO

    Photo Credit: Optin Monster

    When users discover something useful or meaningful, chances are they’ll likely share this to their group of friends. Since this sparks curiosity among other users, the latter will likely visit the website.

    This not only generates more potential customers for a brand, it also increases the number of inbound links to a website and improves credibility. The popularity of a mobile website’s content thus sends a positive signal to Google and creates better rankings.


 Implement a Mobile SEO Strategy for your Mobile Site

Because mobile usage is on the verge of overtaking desktop usage in the coming years, it becomes more crucial for businesses to develop a mobile-friendly website that is optimized to cater to the search behavior of mobile device users. If you want know if your website is mobile-friendly and compliant with Google’s mobile-first indexing, get in touch with us.

user satisfaction

user satisfaction

Today, searcher satisfaction is the hallmark of a good SEO strategy. The key to obtaining organic high page rankings entails a deeper understanding of audience niches. Content-based SEO thrives best, when it is attuned to searcher behavior.

SEO Trends: Searcher Behavior that Affect Relevancy Signals and Searcher Satisfaction

In this regard, Google determines the relevancy and usefulness of certain web pages based on “clicks and post-click” behavior among searchers. Here are four possible scenarios that happen when searchers do a research on a specific query:

  1. The searcher clicks on a website displayed on the search results but quickly returns to Google’s results page and clicks on the next few links. This implies that the searcher is dissatisfied with the information on the website he visited. Google sees this as a negative relevancy signal for a certain website, as it relates to that specific query entered by the searcher.
  2. The searcher clicks on a website and stays longer on the web page. He returns to Google’s results pages and further proceeds to click on the next link. This tells Google that the searcher found meaningful content on the website he landed on regarding his topic of interest and is simply looking for added information on his query.
  3. The searcher clicks on a website and quickly returns to Google’s results pages. He refines his query by modifying the keywords or entering more specific keywords. This usually means that it was the searcher who made a mistake in inputting his query, and will most likely not affect the relevancy signals sent to Google.
  4. The searcher clicks on a website, sticks around after sometime, returns to Google search and proceeds to input a new query. This relays a positive relevancy test to Google as the searcher has found what he has been looking for and has most likely proceeded to completing another task.

Factors that Affect Searcher Satisfaction

As can be deduced from the scenarios mentioned above, Google may use three signals to judge the presence of searcher satisfaction:

  1. Bounce rate 

    Higher bounce rate spells bad news. Bounce happens when a searcher clicks on your website and immediately leaves without initiating anymore interaction with your website. The bounce rate, as it is called, details the percentage of website visitors who have ‘bounced off” from your website.

    A high bounce rate does not necessarily directly impact site rankings, but it can be reflective of bad page quality. Google thus uses bounce rates as a reliable gauge of searcher satisfaction.

  2. Time spent on a web page 

    The time spent by searchers on a website is a favored metric among site owners and eMarketers, and is intimately correlated to bounce rates. If a searcher visits a website and spends more time reading through the pages, it simply signals that he has found valuable information that he is looking for. If a user leaves instantly, then it implies that the content offered is of little or no use to him at all..

    Site organization and better content are requisites of an extended on-site stay. The longer the minutes spent by searchers on a particular site, the higher the opportunities to engage potential audiences – that is, there is likelihood that the users will sign up, purchase or share the valuable content found with other searchers who belong to their circle of friends.

  3. Increase in search queries

    When a searcher leaves the initial site source, returns to Google’s SERP and performs a series of searches relating to the same query, it means that he is looking for more information. This implies that the sites he landed on has not given him full information that he needs, or that he simply is looking for means to augment his original findings.

Searcher Empathy is key to Searcher Satisfaction

Considering that the average Google Search session takes less than a minute, website owners have a little more than a few seconds to make a good impression on their potential customers. The one minute mark is considered the average time it takes a for a searcher to complete his search, from the input of initial query and loading of the search results pages down to the selection of which websites to click on.

While the typical orientation in SEO is to quantify success and profitability based on numerical figures such as site traffic and ranking, one of the crucial components of better search rankings is interestingly deemed to be a subjective one: searcher satisfaction.

Thus, in creating content which induces searcher satisfaction, site owners and SEO practitioners must then use a practical approach, that is, to put themselves in the shoes of the searcher himself.

Sample Scenario: Hannah Searches Places to Visit in Singapore

To illustrate, suppose an online user named Hannah is interested to know more about the best places to visit in Singapore. Hannah enters the keyword “best places to visit in Singapore” or alternatively, “tourist destinations in Singapore” and gets a list of websites on Google’s SERP.

If you’re a website owner engaged in the travel industry, the goal is to get Hannah’s attention, hopefully stand out from competition, and present to her valuable content that responds to her query. To do this successfully, searcher empathy is necessary. After all, it starts with the basic question, “what does Hannah really want to know and what is she looking for?”

How to Induce Searcher Satisfaction

Here are some ideal practices to induce search fulfillment on what you offer on your website:

  1. Craft meaningful, valuable content that is relevant to the query made.

To better respond to Hanna’s search query, craft your content based on the questions you think Hannah would want to pose. Invest in in-depth, accurate research and present the information to Hannah comprehensively and authoritatively. The information must be organized and easy to understand. Valuable content that is well-written and well-researched is already a step in the right direction. It guarantees that Hannah will come back to your website in the event she researches on the same query again in the near future or recommends your website to her social circles.

  1. Generate a pleasurable user experience.

Good content is just the starting point. Next thing you want to focus on is your responsive, interactive design. Meaningful content is king with SEO, but a pleasurable user experience, which ranges from fast page speed, easy-to-use navigation schemes to interactive user interface, can likewise pave the way for a better overall user engagement.

  1. Assist the searcher by providing helpful tools and resource links.

Be proactive and anticipate the next steps of the searcher. After Hannah reads content about the best places to visit in Singapore or the best tourist spots to visit in Singapore, then chances are, she will spend a few days in the City State. This means she will have to book hotels, create a vacation schedule and explore available modes of transportation. To further help Hannah in her online search, you can develop new content on these topics of interest or provide Hannah with helpful resource links and tools. You can suggest a list of hotels with brief reviews on them, suggest an itinerary for three days, and feature the modes of transportation available within the City to and fro the tourist spots earlier described.

The Advantage of Searcher Satisfaction on Rankings

Once Google acknowledges the signals, based on Hannah’s lengthy on-site stay, that your website is giving higher searcher satisfaction, there is a better chance of getting higher site rankings. This is because you appear more credible to Google. When Google acknowledges the relevancy of your site pages in respect to a certain query, it sees you as a credible resource website and gradually puts you on top of the SERPs the next time the same query is posed. Conversely, competitor sites with higher bounce rates and lower searcher satisfaction will likely get pushed down in the SERPS, while your site climbs atop.

To earn that top spot in Google’s site rankings, the trick is simple: understand your searchers better, as well as their searching behavior. Your site content and design must answer all the questions inside the searcher’s mind and enable him to complete tasks with ease.

Let us help you understand your audience better. Talk to us, so we can strategize how to induce searcher satisfaction that positively impacts your site rankings.

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