Google’s ‘mobile-first’ strategy is a sure thing, confirmed by the search giant itself and implemented in 2019. It means that Google will consider mobile-friendly websites first when deciding how to rank content.

The effect this has had in search so far, is that the best-performing websites on mobile tend to rank ahead of those that don’t perform well.   We say tend to, because the truth is, Google’s mobile first strategy isn’t perfect yet – but it is getting more consistent.

The reason behind Google’s strategy is simple: more than 50 percent of search queries globally now come on mobile devices. A recent report from Hitwise (registration required) says the number could be as high as 58 percent.

Big numbers, to say the least.

Which means now is the time to get serious about getting your website performing at its very best on mobile. Google has deemed it no longer good enough to serve up your content in a format that’s suitable for desktops only.

And importantly, your own customers are probably using their smartphone more than a computer. If they land on your website on their phone and it’s rubbish, you can bet they won’t buy from it or make an enquiry. They’ll just leave!

Bad times — but only if you get caught out.

Here’s some pointers so you can stay ahead in 2019:

Go responsive

A responsive website will automatically scale itself to the size of the display it is being viewed on. This is not a revolutionary concept – responsive design has been around for about a decade now. It used to be the norm that businesses would have two versions of a site (a desktop and mobile version) but this is no longer best practice. It’s best to have one website that delivers a consistent user experience.

Make it snappy

Page speed was made a ranking factor for mobile in 2018. Faster websites rank higher because they offer a better user experience. If you can deliver content to your audience in less than a second, that’s the Holy Grail.

Page speed is determined by a lot of factors. You need a fast web host, optimised code, caching, minification, HTTP/2 push, and possibly a CDN. The steps are site specific. You can use PageSpeed Insights and GMetrix for a heads up.

Help Google out

With a responsive website that’s liquid fast, you’ll have a great base from which to dominate search in your industry. However, on their own these factors aren’t enough. You also need to optimise your website for search.

The essentials include setting up structured data in your content, enabling AMP, claiming your Google My Business listing, and optimising your website for keyword terms – including all page titles, meta descriptions and your media and text. These steps are about giving your website relevancy and giving Google clarity.