Content Writing, Legal Marketing Resources, SEO

By Brandy Benefield

Understanding How Google’s Mobile-First Index Might Impact Your Website

When I began my career in legal marketing, I heard the following comment spoken by a search engine optimization (SEO) specialist, “content is king, but it works hand-in-hand with SEO.” I’ve always known the two aspects of this industry were intertwined, so I was eager to learn more about their partnership as I attended Veronica Romney’s session at Content Marketing World 2018, which was titled “Google’s Mobile-First Index: Optimize Your Content for Next Level Mobile Marketing.”

The internet is more prevalent than ever in today’s society, so it’s important for lawyers and law firms to build an active, readable, and approachable presence on the web so that they reach the clients who need their services the most. This applies to both desktop and mobile versions of sites. If your content is listed in large chunks, with little-to-no breaks in the text, a potential client may be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information they see and decide to look elsewhere for what they need.

In this blog, we’ll discuss Google’s Mobile-First Index, and how the content on your website can affect your ranking under this newer tool.

What is Google’s Mobile-First Index?

Google’s Mobile-First Index is an effort made to provide mobile users – who, according to BrightEdge, account for approximately 57 percent of online traffic – with more relevant and useful results. Seeing as how over half of all users access Google via a cellphone, tablet, or other mobile device, the company made the decision to make mobile versions of websites their main source of information for indexing and ranking.

If you’re concerned that the term “mobile-first” means that Google will only be crawling and ranking mobile websites, don’t worry! Lacking a mobile site does not mean your website will disappear. The mobile-first index will still consider desktop sites – but creating a mobile version might be worth considering.

Mobile-First Index Timeline

In November 2016, Google announced its Mobile-First Index, stating that while their search index will “continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.”

The company recognized this important shift in indexing, and reassured webmasters that they would carefully experiment over the coming months to ensure that they were deploying this index in a way that would create a better user experience for all.

Approximately a year and a half later, Google announced that it was officially rolling out mobile-first indexing, and starting to migrate “sites that follow the best practices” for this type of index. Such practices include:

  • Ensuring that your mobile site contains the same content as your desktop site
  • Verifying both versions of your website in Search Console – if applicable
  • Confirm metadata is present on both site versions

So where does Google’s Mobile-First Index stand now? After the initial rollout of sites included in the index, more and more have been migrated over. Once your website has, indeed, been moved to mobile-first indexing, you will receive a Search Console alert via email. As of December 2018, Google announced that it uses this index for over 50 percent of pages shown in global search results.

While there is no precise timeline for when every website will be moved to mobile-first indexing, it’s important to keep the above information in mind as you work to improve your content and overall user experience.

How Does This Affect Content?

Veronica Romney’s presentation at Content Marketing World emphasized just how much Google’s Mobile-First Index affects content, and in turn – content writers and marketers. When you’re creating pages, blogs, or other content for your site, it’s important to consider your mobile users’ personas. Questions to ask yourself as you’re crafting mobile content include:

  • What type of people are you writing for?
  • What are these people like? What makes them tick?
  • What sort of issues do they deal with?
  • How can the mobile content on my site help them?

Romney also provided a “cheat sheet” for mobile content writing, which included tips such as:

  • Write short paragraphs.
  • Consider the use of bold and italic fonts.
  • Utilize whitespace – this way, users’ eyes have the chance to take a break.
  • Use engaging subheads.
  • Don’t be afraid to include images to break up long chunks of content.

From her advice, content developers can surmise that you need to look at the big picture of a piece, not just a small section you want to nail down. Romney stressed that it’s vital to consider the bite, snack, and meal of a page or blog.

The bite is your subhead. For Postali’s clients, an example might be “The Importance of Witness Statements After a Car Accident.” The snack is your summary and/or conclusion; for what we write, that would include describing why people should obtain witness statements after a crash. Will it help them in pursuing a claim? How might an attorney be of assistance in this situation? The meal is your entire post. In the example mentioned above, this would be the content regarding witness statements in its entirety.

Still Have Questions? Contact Postali to See How We Can Help

Countless people access information on the internet every day. From shopping for groceries to researching potential attorneys, they fulfill certain needs with the click of a few buttons. Because of how often people rely on the web for such necessities, it’s important to have a mobile and user-friendly website.

To learn more about making your firm’s content and overall web presence more friendly to Google’s Mobile-First Index, call Postali today at (800) 667-3612, or reach out through our online form.

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