Mobile-First Indexing Deadline—What it Means for Legal Websites

Google recently announced that it is extending its mobile-first indexing deadline from September 2020 to March 2021. To prepare for this transition, it’s a good idea to make sure your legal website is mobile-friendly and easy for Google to assess and index when the time comes.

In 2016, Google announced its intention to use mobile-first indexing to meet the reality of consumers using their phones more than their computers to perform searches. While the initial plan was to transform completely to mobile-first indexing by September 2020, Google recently issued a statement that pushed this time frame out a few months to March 2021. This gives developers and website creators a bit more time to ensure that their sites are mobile-friendly and fully prepared for the transition. Let’s take a look at what this means for your legal website and what steps you can take now to prepare for next March.

Assess Your Current Website

The first step you should take is to determine whether your website is mobile-friendly. Sometimes, a DIY website may be created on a desktop computer and the designer may not think about how the site would appear on a mobile phone. In many cases, the website’s content may not display properly on a phone, or the page may not load completely. Videos or photos may not be visible when the site is accessed from a phone, which can lead to a frustrating user experience and the chance that Google’s indexing system will not fully recognize or rank your site. Whether you’ve designed your own website or you’ve worked with a digital marketing firm who has done this for you, it’s definitely worth taking some time to ensure that your site displays correctly on a mobile device.

Do a Content Check

While streamlining the content that displays on the mobile version of your site may seem like a good idea, make sure that you include all the important keywords and information that are necessary for Google to view and index your site. You may be tempted to keep the desktop version of your site more complete and content-heavy while keeping the mobile version of your site lighter and less-cluttered; but, once March of 2021 rolls around, Google will only be using the mobile version to index your site. Be sure that your mobile site includes all the meaningful headings that are displayed in the desktop version, as missing or incomplete information can negatively impact your website’s visibility to potential clients.

Don’t Forget About Images and Videos

It’s easy to assume that the images and videos you use on the desktop version of your firm’s website will naturally translate well to a mobile phone. Unfortunately, these visuals can often appear blurry, incomplete, or unavailable when your site is accessed via a mobile device. Make sure that you use high-resolution images instead of small thumbnails, as Google may consider these smaller images “low quality.” Think about the optimal placement of videos or images that does not negatively impact the user experience when viewed from a mobile device. In general, any website where the client has to scroll down through a massive image or blank space to reach the important content does not rate well within Google’s algorithm.

Need help making sure your law firm’s website is mobile-friendly and ready for the March 2021 mobile-first indexing deadline? Reach out to the knowledgeable LegalRev team today at (800) 893-2590 so we can help you achieve your digital marketing goals.

July 24, 2020