What is the Google Mobile First Index?
Google’s Mobile First Index has been an ongoing experiment since November of 2016, so Google may continue to make adjustments. The experts at Google have noticed that most online searches are conducted on a mobile device, but the Google bots had been crawling desktop versions of websites.
Have you ever visited a website on your smartphone, only to find a very bare “mobile version”? Google is trying to improve the user experience by making sure the best search results are chosen based on the mobile versions of websites.
This means the Google bots will use the mobile version of your website to decide how your website will rank in search results. Even if you conduct a Google search on your desktop computer, Google’s Mobile First Index will still likely show you mobile friendly sites first in your results.
Your Child Care Marketing Solutions in 2017
How does this affect your child care marketing strategy? If you have not put energy into your website’s mobile usability, you better get started! Make it a late New Year’s Resolution to make your child care website more mobile friendly. Websites that are mobile friendly are likely to have a boost in their rankings.
Do you have a mobile website? If the answer is no, Google will not put you in time-out just yet. The Google bots will crawl the desktop version of your website. In the meantime, you may want to remind yourself that your target market consists of mobile users.
Your target market is young parents who are on the cusp of being digital natives. People within this market segment conduct most of their business on mobile devices and start most searches for products and services with a Google search. There is a rogue Bing user out there every once in a while, but Google is still king when it comes to setting the rules for online marketing protocol.
Your Website Loading Time
Have you ever been searching for “best baguettes near me” and clicked on the first search result, only to be taunted by a little loading emblem? Most baguette-lovers in this situation would not wait for a long time as a website loads. Instead, we go back to the search results and pick the next website available.
This is what we in the biz like to call a bounce rate. If your website takes forever to load, visitors will find another website to view. Google has found that longer loading times lead to higher bounce rates. Now, your website’s loading time is factored into your search rankings. This is not a new development, but what is measured has changed a bit. With Google’s Mobile First Index, Google will rate the loading time of your mobile website instead of the loading time of your desktop website.
Test this out on your own. Time how long it takes your website to load on your laptop, and time yourself again using a smartphone or tablet. Does it take longer on the mobile device? If so, you want to fix this to improve mobile usability.
How to Speed Up Your Website’s Loading Time
Why do some websites take longer to load? One of the biggest factors in loading times is the size of your images. If you compress and optimize your images to have a smaller file size, your website will load more quickly. You can also speed up your site’s loading time by cutting out unnecessary code and minimizing redirects on each page.
Child Care Marketing Goes Mobile in 2017
Have you ever visited your child care website from a mobile device? Put yourself in the shoes of a potential parent looking for a child care center. If they were visiting your site on their smartphone, what would they see? Remember that what they see there will inform their impression of your child care center. If you have an amazing website that does not work on mobile devices, you are not getting the real bang for your buck!
If your mobile website has less content than your desktop website, Google’s Mobile First Index can penalize you. Instead, opt for a mobile-responsive theme when you build your website — this way the developers have already coded in what the site looks like on a mobile device. If you make your child care website mobile responsive from the get-go, you will run into potentially less issues in the future.
At the end of the day, what does the change mean for you and your child care website? As we mentioned before, 2017 is the year to make your child care website mobile friendly. Will Google’s Mobile First Index greatly affect your search rankings? Not yet. Google says there should not be a drastic change in rankings; however, with each algorithm change and development you miss you will be further behind.
Your Homework Assignment from Local Child Care Marketing
Since we have discussed how Google’s Mobile First Index affects you, we want to empower you to take the first steps to improving your site’s mobile usability! Use this Google’s robots.txt testing tool to get started. You can use this tool to learn how Google’s robots interpret your mobile website.
Your next homework assignment is to verify ownership of your mobile website! Many people claim ownership of only their desktop version of their site. Verifying ownership will change how Google’s robots crawl your site.
Conquer Google’s Mobile First Index with Local Child Care Marketing
Local Child Care Marketing offers child care marketing solutions for daycares across the nation. It is our job to keep up with Google’s “mood” so that you don’t have to pay the price. Google’s Mobile First Index is one of the most recent developments, but we have been helping child care centers across the nation gain visibility through many of Google’s algorithm updates.
How much time are you spending trying to keep up with algorithm changes and new SEO trends? If you delegate, you can focus on what is more important to you: making your safe and welcoming child care center a success with increased enrollment!
Contact us today to learn how your child care center’s website can improve to increase enrollment in your community.