How to make your SEO strategy work for mobile first index


Google created a lot of buzz in the SEO circles last month after news of its Mobile first Index finally being part of its algorithm was known.

Garry Illyes clarified (again) that the update is months away (still). He went on to add that SEOs and webmasters need not freak out.

However, it’s not a bad idea to get ready. Is it?

There might be a few questions that might be pop up if you aren’t from the industry, like:

What is Mobile first Index?

Why was this update necessary?

How does it impact SEO?

What strategies should I employ to stay ahead of the Mobile-first Index roll-out?

However, before I dive deep and answer these questions (and a few others), let me explain what Mobile first Index actually means.

What is Mobile first Index?

Indexing is a process by which Google lists, stores and arranges all the webpages on the internet for it to be shown against search queries.

Google is now going to index the mobile version of your site first instead of the desktop version. This preference of mobile over desktop is Mobile First Indexing.

Now that you know what Mobile First Indexing is, let me give you a little background on how Google might have decided to make this happen.

If I need to find one line answer to this question. My answer will be:

Change in Search Pattern.

With the shifting search pattern from desktop to mobile since 2015, when Google announced that mobile search has overtaken desktop in US, this update wasn’t that big a surprise. Going by the trend, I’m actually wondering why it took them this long to make this happen.

Considering, Google is known to align its update with user behavior, Mobile First Indexing seems to perfectly fit the bill. With Internet usage in developing countries largely driven by mobile and Google being the dominant search engine by a big margin, Mobile-first Indexing helps cater to its majority audience.

As of now, webpages are indexed based on their desktop version. The problem with this is that webmasters and SEOs emphasize on improving the site’s desktop version to improve rankings. Mobile version gets ignored often.

Websites optimised based ONLY on desktop usage pattern might not give the ideal User experience to mobile users. Considering mobile users continue to outnumber desktop users, the gap increasing even further, it is natural for search engines to give preferential treatment to mobile. This move can also be seen as Google’s push to make website owners optimize their desktop as well as mobile versions.  Google, after all, is known to resort to such antics to make sure SEOs toe its line in following the best practices.

What about businesses without a mobile website?

Well, Google says there’s no need to panic.

Google has also clarified that websites which do not have a mobile version, their desktop version will be indexed. However, it would be fair to assume that this might change in the future and you’ll have to cater to any future algorithmic changes that would make mobile index mandatory.

Let me reiterate:

There’s no need to panic (as of now).

However, it would not be a bad idea to optimize your website for mobile users.

What will be the impact of Mobile first Index on SEO?

  • Being slow will not get you anywhere: If you have a slow mobile experience currently, you might want to consider putting work into the mobile page loading speed.
  • Greater push to optimize mobile websites: The rapid mobile adoption rate seems to have triggered the need for optimized mobile websites instead of mobile-friendly websites
  • Focus on user experience over SEO parameters: Marry UX and SEO to reap rewards as search engines want you to focus on the user instead of robots.
  • Reduced use of lightbox ads/interstitial ads: Bid Goodbye to all the fancy lead-generation popups that might be troubling the users.
  • Less differentiation between content served on desktop and mobile: This is to bring uniformity in the type of content served on desktop and mobile

If you’re going, ‘That’s alright! But, how do I deal with the impact of  Mobile First Index?’

In other words, ‘What should I do?’

Here are 8 things you can do to form your Mobile First-index Strategy:


  1. Get a responsive site:

If you don’t specifically need a mobile website, make the desktop version of your site responsive. This will help you stay ahead of the Google update without any additional effort from your end.

It is also helpful in bringing uniformity in the way content is served on the mobile as well as the desktop site.

  1. Make page load faster:

The Gold Standard for mobile page speed set by Google happens to be less than one second for Above-The-Fold (ATF) content to help the user interact with the page.

Of course, this is what is known as the ‘Gold Standard’ of page load speed. Four seconds is the acceptable standard for a page load.

There’s a good chance that a user might be dissatisfied with the page, or worse, might leave if it takes a longer time to load.

Now, who wants that?

No one!

However, there are still many websites that seem to prefer a fancy UI over the page load speed.

  1. Create AMP pages:

Yes, Accelerated Mobile Pages! Coz Accelerated, Duh!

AMP forces you to have streamlined versions of CSS and using off-the-shelf Javascript library made available by AMP. The preference over speed is the prime purpose of AMP.

Fast loading pages will give you an edge by loading pages faster and bring you in the good books of the big G.

  1. Run a mobile-friendly test and review errors in search console

If you’ve been procrastinating all this while to review those errors that throw up on the search console, then it’s high time, you took it up.

Head over to and run your website URL and find out if it passes the Mobile Friendly test. Ensure that all the errors, if any, are taken care of immediately.

  1. Make content easily accessible to users:

Ensure the content is easily accessible to users and not hidden under accordions for them to click and read. Think of your content placement with respect to mobile and how it’d impact the mobile user experience of a page. Right from clicking on the URL to landing on your page to loading time to being able to satisfy the user’s purpose, ensure the availability of content isn’t an issue for users to navigate.

According to Google, the reasons for inaccessibility of content are:

-Pop-ups that cover the main content users originally landed on the page for

-Standalone interstitials that users have to close to access before viewing original content

-Layouts that make above the fold content appear to be an interstitial while original content lies at the bottom.



However, legally obligated popups like cookie notification or log-in information to access indexable/private content is not a part of it. Even pop-ups that take a limited space on mobiles are considered okay.

Google had earlier clarified that it would index content that is part of accordions.

  1. Optimize on-page SEO component

Optimizing on-page elements is essential. Even without Mobile-first Index looming over our heads. But it becomes even more critical to have everything in place. Pull up your socks and verify if the Meta Data, interlinking, image attributes, etc. are in their place. And if not, then get to work, my friend, because this is important.

  1. Add structured data:

Increasing discoverability and ensuring that search engine bots are able to access your site’s content should be a priority. Structured markups are essential to help bots discover content on your page.

Usually, desktop versions of the sites are marked up properly and the mobile version is ignored. Because, of course, the page load time gets affected with markups and it made sense to skip this practice on mobile.  However, with Mobile-first Index, this calls for a change.

You need to ensure that the essential data markups are present in the mobile version of your web page. Sure, you can skip the non-critical ones, when compared to the desktop version of the same web page, if you fear it’ll make the page size heavy and slow down the load time. Load time takes precedence, anyway.

  1. Progressive Web Apps: 

Alibaba and Flipkart implemented Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and saw a jump in the time spent on their pages. Not only have the conversions increased, but they’ve resulted in less data usage. This seems to be a good enough reason for consumers to use this, especially in developing countries where Internet connections seem to be on the slower side.

Now, all that is good. But what exactly is Progressive Web Apps?

PWA acts as a layer between website and browser by storing offline pages in an app shell, which contains JavaScript, CSS Stylesheets, and images, to give an optimum view. Updated content, whenever a user accesses it, modifies the existing page.

Isn’t that something?

This can be one of the strategies that can be implemented.

If the strategies stated above appear alien to you, there’s help available in the form of Market Motive’s Mobile Marketing course which you can check it out.

I’d like to reiterate that this is indeed a welcome step from Google’s end to ensure that the user gets benefited and brings SEO good practices to focus. Although the update is months’ away from being implemented, it’d be wise to get started on this.

Check out this Infographic created on Mobile First Index by Chetan Ramesh:



To summarize, Google Mobile first Indexing will ensure:

  • Presence of Uniform content across different site versions
  • Fast loading sites
  • Focus on User experience

Share your thoughts about this move by Google and how it will impact you in the comments below.

Be Sociable, Share!

How PPC Training Launched Andrew Hutton’s Career

andrew hutton

Andrew Hutton used PPC training to kick-start a successful career in paid search.

While still a busy sociology student at the University of California Santa Cruz in 2011, Andrew took on an internship with Market Motive; an experience that piqued a new interest in digital marketing.

When he graduated, he entered a competitive job market, and found that his UC degree alone wasn’t going to be enough. So he dove back into digital marketing, taking certification courses with Market Motive.
It was a tough economy when I graduated. People were having a hard time finding careers. So I took courses to bolster my resume a bit, and to give me the practical experience I needed to find a job.”
Andrew threw himself into Market Motive’s courses, completing not one but three certifications: A Master Certification in PPC which he earned while studying directly with Google AdWords expert Brad Geddes, and self-guided Practitioner Certifications in both Digital Marketing Foundations and SEO.

And the impact it had was profound.… Continue reading

What Artificial Intelligence Could Mean for SEO

artificial intelligence and the future of SEO

How will Skynet impact SEO?

Every day, we see advances in human-like artificial intelligence, and search marketers are seeing big changes in the search landscape because of it.

But it doesn’t need to be the end of the world.

Yes, it’s true, Google is investing big in Artificial Intelligence (AI)… and Facebook and Microsoft aren’t far behind.

According to Bloomberg:… Continue reading

Market Motive Grad Creates Opportunity for Market Motive Grads

Luck = Preparation + Opportunity

Are YOU prepared for this awesome Web Analytics Career Opportunity?

Mara Alvarez de Lorenzanasuncor-logoIf you have a good memory, you probably remember us singing the praises of Market Motive All-Star Mara Alvarez De Lorenzana.

After going through four (yes, four!) Self-paced Courses, she took on the big kahuna of the Web Analytics Certification Course, studying directly with Avinash Kaushik, getting personalized training and guidance, completing a challenging real-world analytics project…

…and finishing at the top of her class, earning Web Analytics Top Gun in 2013.

After graduation, she worked as a freelance Digital Analyst; and then moved into a position as a Senior Advisor for Web Analytics at Suncor Energy.

Here’s your opportunity:

Market Motive #StudyBlitz

study blitz

Ali Naqvi Amrohvi

Superstar dedicated student Ali Naqvi Amrohvi studying and new-parenting simultaneously.

It’s hard to make time.

As dedicated as our members might be to their professional development, as much as they might want to expand their skills and earn the certifications that’ll change their lives, it’s hard to make the time.

You get home from work, dinner needs making, the kids’ homework needs review, the dog needs walking, and by the time you can settle… Continue reading

Top Gun Students – Spring 2015

top gun students

Each semester, our Digital Marketing Coached Courses challenge experienced marketers to up their games, and empower entry-level marketers to enter the industry better prepared than their peers.

And each semester, our students rise to the challenge, give up their precious family time, or their “America’s Got Talent” and “Orange is the New Black,” and dedicate themselves to the longer term goal of improving their careers and lives through rigorous study, challenging exercises, and personalized interaction with a world-class faculty.

Then they turn in impressive real-world final projects, and wait expectantly to hear from the faculty if they’ve passed the class.

Not everyone does.

But those who do, excel.

And among those who excel are the Top Guns.

One outstanding student from each discipline each semester is awarded “Top Gun” status, conferred based on a demanding algorithm that takes into account a variety of metrics, including homework, exercises, quiz scores, final test scores, and that ever-daunting final project.

Today, we announce the Spring Semester Top Guns for 2015.

Congratulations! We couldn’t be more proud.… Continue reading

All New Content Marketing Training Course Launches Today

Content Marketing Training Course

Breaking news! Brand New Content Marketing Course Launches Today!

It’s true! We’ve just completely relaunched our Content Marketing Certification Course from Greg Jarboe.

This longer, more robust and thorough course has 40% more video content, with 10.5 hours of 100% brand new video lessons, and 13 brand new workbooks designed to guide you through your training with learning objectives, key takeaways, vocabulary, and recommended exercises.

You’ll study 11 core modules, two supplemental modules, and a robust final test to earn your Certification.

And you’ll graduate with the skills you need to develop authoritative, shareable, clickable content that generates engagement across a variety of channels.

The best time to start content marketing was five years ago. The second best time is right now.

Learn More About The Course

Here’s a list of the all new modules for this course; each module includes multiple videos, a workbook, and a progress quiz:… Continue reading

Avinash Kaushik says Ask Me Anything

avinash says ask me anything

Got burning questions for Avinash Kaushik?

Now’s your chance!

This month Avinash says “Ask Me Anything”, and he’s throwing caution to the wind to take on your questions.

Wednesday, August 26th, 9:30am PDT

Most powerful analytics tools? Best KPI measurements? Building awesome dashboards? Breaking trends? Biggest time sucks? Now’s your chance to get the answers you crave from Google’s own Digital Marketing Evangelist. It’s “Open Mike Wednesday” and Avinash has your answers. But only if you’re here to ask.

Learn more about Market Motive’s… Continue reading

Omnicore’s Hafiz Muhammad Ali in the Spotlight


Hafiz Muhammad Ali made a commitment to excellence.

Hafiz Muhammad Ali

Hafiz Muhammad Ali

As Founder and Adviser at Omnicore Agency, Hafiz has always believed that if you want to grow, then learning is at the essence of it. “I’m excited by continuous change,” he says. “And learning new things is the second half of myself since childhood.”

So he closely followed the thought leaders in digital marketing, and inspired by Avinash Kaushik, chose to join Market Motive to further his professional education.
I completed the Fundamentals Certification first, then SEO, PPC, PR, SOCIAL and Web Analytics from my inspiration Avinash. I had a wonderful experience; it was the course content of every discipline which motivated me to complete them all, one after another.”
But what kind of impact has the training had on his career and business?… Continue reading