Mobile-first indexing is a thing now. It was announced earlier in 2018, but it didn’t kick in in all markets at the same time. You might know about it. Or not. Your answer probably depends on what has happened to your website’s positions in Google search results in the last 7 months. If there has been a significant drop or improvement, you might be wondering what you have or haven’t been doing right. It has little to do with your work and everything to do with how you have prepared your mobile website prior to the change. But let’s not dwell on the past.
Here are 7 tools that can help you identify your current website’s problems and rank it higher, or as Google likes to put it: make your website provide a better user experience.
1. Mobile-friendly test
The tool is available here. But you could just Google “mobile friendly” and it will show up as an input bar at the top of the result page. Mobile friendly indeed!
Once you have entered the URL of the website you want to test, you’ll get an easy-to-read status of the website and loading issues you can fix. I have intentionally run a test on our website to show you that we do not have the perfect website. But that doesn’t mean we’re not working to fix it. It’s just that some tasks take longer… Prioritize!
2. Test your mobile speed
Here is the tool that will tell you the time required to load your webpage using a 3G connection. You can get a free copy of the report and pass it on to your programmers.
My clients often ask me how accurate a mobile speed test is anyway and whether mobile speed is really that important. I’m very realistic about it. If basically every other international page is your competitor, then this test is very relevant and you should do all you can to improve page speed. But if your competition is local or if their websites are mostly loading much slower than yours, improving page speed might not be the first thing you should improve.
3. PageSpeed Insights
I’m not done with page speed yet. Here’s another tool that gives you insights on how optimized your website is. It will tell you not only your website speed but also your optimization level and what has been done well. Why is this important? People tend to fix things but forget what was done before and sometimes manage to override previous changes and end up with a worse result. Hopefully, this tool will prevent you from making this mistake.
4. & 5. – Chrome DevTools’ Device Mode & Remote Debugging
Check out these easy step-by-step instructions on how to use Device Mode.
With Device Mode you can simulate setting orientation, a mobile viewport, geolocation, throttling the network and throttling the CPU. But you have to understand that with Device Mode you don’t actually run your code on a mobile device and what you see might not be 100% accurate. Running your website on a mobile device is always the smartest move. While displaying a website on your mobile device, you can simultaneously use Remote Debugging on your laptop/desktop computer. Remote Debugging enables you to view, change, debug, and profile a page’s code from your laptop/desktop computer while it is actually running on a mobile device.
Here is a great tutorial for Remote Debugging that will teach you how to:
6. Chrome User Experience Report:
Here is another tool that goes well with the previous two. You’ll need a Google account, a Google Cloud project and basic knowledge of SQL. The User Experience Report can be used on Google BigQuery for free.
The User Experience Report will give you metrics for how actual Chrome users experience the web. A key goal of the User Experience Report is to enable a macro-level analysis of real-world user experience trends on the web, expanding the scope of a performance analysis beyond an individual website. The community can then further experiment with data, e.g. compare differences in user experience across connection types, and even estimate the impact across geographies.
Google has made it really easy to see how an origin’s performance evolves by creating Google Data Studio reports. This is some nerdy stuff right there! 🙂 If you want to know what a Google Data Studio report looks like, here is a preview: The monthly distribution of First Contentful Paint for developers.google.com (source)
7. CrossBrowser Testing
This tool is just one of many… You can also go with LambdaTest or Browserstack or Sauce Labs or …
Like most similar tools, CrossBrowser Testing enables you to test the experience of a specific website on any browser or mobile device. You might be wondering why I chose this particular tool. Because they have an awesome blog that will not only give me ideas on how to use this tool, but will also help me with my growth hacking projects. A little off topic, I know… But if you are anything like me, you should definitely check it out.
Google wants mobile-friendly websites. Users want mobile-friendly websites. And you want this too. Why?
Mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic in most markets by now. This means you really don’t have a choice. Your site must be mobile friendly, if you want to stay in the game.