Your website is the foundation of your marketing program. You construct like you would any other building. You design and plan for a solid structure, sensible flow, and design appeal. You create a blueprint to follow to ensure that construction follows the approved plan for your vision.
The blueprint for your website now must address the mobile-friendly nature as a critical component of search engine optimization (SEO). About two years ago, Google announced that it would migrate toward giving preference to mobile sites over desktop versions. That “mobile first” announcement caused a ripple among developers, SEO professionals, and website owners.
What is “mobile-first indexing”?
Google’s spiders and bots create an index of webpages by feeding on information that is presented on each page. These indexes form the basis for delivering search engine results, based on the content found that best matches a searcher’s criteria.
Before Google introduced “mobile first indexing”, these indexes were compiled from the desktop experience with each website. With the soaring numbers of mobile searches, Google recognized that they need to cater to those devices by delivering mobile-friendly SERPs.
A mobile-friendly site can be viewed on a mobile device—i.e., small screen—without compromise. The format switches to the orientation in your hand (horizontal, vertical), the images load quickly, and the content fits in the screen.
Sounds simple, yes, but too many website owners have failed to pursue this update. As a result, their sites are slipping down in the organic search results to the point where they might as well not even exist. Homebuyers—like any other web surfer—typically stick to the first page of search engine result pages (SERPs), unless they don’t find what they want there. The absence of a mobile-friendly website means you’re disappearing from their view. Without the views that come with the click-throughs from those SERPs, you won’t get unique site visitors, which lowers your lead generation power. Without leads coming to your website, this vital marketing tool is ineffective.
Is it here yet?
Google is being a bit cagey about the launch of mobile-first indexing. They say they are gradually rolling out the method so that there isn’t a massive shift in the search results. But, it’s happening.
“We’re definitely trying things out….it’s possible that for individual sites, we were kind of already indexing the mobile version, but it’s probably a really small number,” said Google’s John Mueller.
“Trying” and “kind of” is not a denial that the mobile-first indexing is happening. It’s merely confirmation that something is changing.
Builder Designs began addressing the mobile-friendly nature of our builder websites with responsive design, even before Google made its cryptic announcement that the change was going to come. We knew it was inevitable, since a vast majority of homebuyers are searching for a new home on their smartphones and tablets, not on their desktop or even laptop computers. According to a National Association of Realtors (NAR) study, 90 percent of homebuyers rely the Internet at some point during their search, and more than half of them use their mobile devices. Third-party sites, like Zillow and Realtor.com, are seeing massive spikes in their unique visitors, with more than 30 million per month.
You can be sure that these real estate sites are mobile-friendly. Is yours?
The mobile-first indexing is likely becoming more active every day. Google’s spiders and bots are trolling the Web in search of the websites that have conformed to their appetite for better mobile visibility. The sooner you ensure your site is indeed to their liking, the better your site traffic.
Talk to us at Builder Designs to make nice with Google’s up-and-coming SEO approach. Our digital marketing strategy and website development expertise for homebuilders will give you the advantage you need.