A Sudden Google Update Means a Huge Shift for Mobile SEO

October 27, 2021

Why It’s Time to Adjust Your Mobile SEO Strategy 

If you haven’t heard, Google introduced a major change to their mobile search engine results pages (SERPs). Instead of providing results across multiple pages, their mobile version now uses continuous scrolling. Instead of page-one or page-two results, users instead can scroll through an endless stream of links relevant to their search terms. 

Today, we’re going to discuss this major shift for mobile search engine optimization and how it can affect your own agency’s SEO strategies going forward. First, though, let’s cover some essential information: 

Mobile Search’s Continuous Scrolling: What You Need to Know 

Here are some quick facts about the new shift to continuous scrolling on Google’s mobile SERPs: 

  • Google’s desktop version still provides results in a page-based format
  • This update has been introduced in the US only, so far 
  • Google made this change to modernize the mobile search experience 
  • A “see more button” still exists on the SERP, but it is much further down than it used to be
  • This is intended to help expose users to more helpful links upfront, rather than the first 10 results on page-one in the old format 

Shifting to an “Above the Fold” Mindset for Mobile SEO 

Google Search’s traditional desktop browser still uses pages to catalog their results. When optimizing for desktop, hitting the first page for relevant organic results should still be the baseline goal. 

With mobile, though, it’s time to rethink this. Now that Google’s mobile version of Search no longer includes pages, agencies have to adapt mobile optimization strategies. 

Instead of a “page-one” target, agencies that provide their clients with mobile SEO services ought to adopt an “above the fold” mindset. This involves targeting organic search positions at the absolute top of the SERPs before a user begins to scroll. If you can provide them with the valuable content they’re searching for, and optimize it for performance, you can stop the scroll and drive more quality traffic to your client’s site. 

So, How Do We Get Above the Fold? 

Though there are some shared principles between optimizing a website for mobile and desktop, there are some distinct differences to look out for. These include: 

👉 Site Layout

To compete digitally in the 2020s, every site must be optimized for both mobile and desktop. The simplest way to do this is by using a CMS that provides responsive designs where the pages adjust their layouts based on the dimensions of the user’s screen. Visitors should only have to scroll vertically. 

👉 Equally Responsive On-Page Features

In addition to your layout, any other part of the website’s on-page features needs to also be responsive. From embedded videos to images and call-to-action buttons, they need to fit within the dimensions of the screen the user visits your site with. Again, horizontal scrolling is a death sentence for mobile search performance. 

👉 Turn Off Popups

Popups are difficult to deal with on mobile. The exit buttons on most mobile popups are too small for a person to press and tucked away into a corner. This not only adds extra code to your page, but it also impacts the user experience and can contribute to a much higher bounce rate. 

👉 Be Concise with Your Metadata

SERP elements like title tags and meta descriptions need to be more concise and better communicate the value of your content. Why? These parts of a search result are shortened on mobile. Write as if Ernest Hemingway was a digital marketer. 

👉 Prioritize Site Loading Speed

Quick site speed is a hallmark of excellent SEO. If a page loads quickly, Google marks that as a positive. 

Mobile users are accustomed to “on-the-go” content consumption. They may also be using cellular data instead of a WiFi connection to view your site. Depending on where the user is, browsing with data could lead to slower internet speeds. 

Two quick ways to boost your site speed are by reducing excessive code and properly sizing images. If the image is too large or too many site plugins are running at once, this places a greater burden on the load times. Keep your site as simple and streamlined as possible to provide a better loading time. 

👉 User Experience is Everything 

Whether on desktop or mobile, user experience is Google’s number-one priority. Does your website offer value to the person using the search engine? 

Constantly test your pages on both desktop and mobile layouts to ensure that all the features of your website operate smoothly. Adjust frequently where needed so that your users benefit most from your website. 

👉 Don’t Ignore General SEO Best Practices 

No matter the device you’re optimizing for, there are some basic SEO principles that you should also keep in mind to ensure promising performance across all forms of Google Search, including: 

  • Only one H1 heading per page
  • Using your focus keyword early in your content
  • Writing awesome content your target audience will love 
  • Adding ALT text and descriptions to your images
  • Properly sizing images for quicker load times
  • Not overburdening your pages with excessive third-party code 
  • Link your pages internally using keyword-optimized anchor text 

👉 Provide Helpful, Contextual Content 

Create a user-focused content strategy. Think from their perspective, ponder the questions they want answers to, and write content to answer them. 

When great copywriting is put into the proper context and backed by a website in excellent technical health, you stand a far greater chance of reaching those desired above-the-fold search positions. Search engine algorithms want to provide users with resources that actually help them in their daily lives. When you contribute to that mission, along with some intelligent keyword planning, you position yourself for greater mobile SEO success. 

Improve Your Agency’s Mobile SEO Capabilities Today 

At Conduit, we’re the digital performance partner for successful agencies that are looking to scale. If you’re ready to take the next step with SEO and are looking for ways to scale your own client roster, visit our Agency Partnership page to learn more.

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