KAJABI + Google's new Mobile First Indexing


Time to get real friends.

Google isn't playing nice anymore.

The Googlebot is now ONLY crawling from a mobile.

What does that mean for Kajabi sites?

A few things.... and things we cannot ignore anymore.

Ok so one of the biggest killers to do with speed, and penalties with SEO, is our images. Google wants to see images that are shrunk down in size sooooo low that it speeds up our sites.

Hmm so in theory this is a good thing... but if you have a creative biz, or you LOVE seeing beautiful big images on desktop websites.... this is not going to make you happy. You see to get the images converted and shrunk down to a size that makes Google happy, it means our images will lose their quality... and will stop looking AMAZING on bigger screens. 

Remember... if Google is now only scanning our mobiles... it expects our images to be sized for mobiles... but that ain't going to work for the bigger images we need on desktop.  And I for one used to think that having "responsive websites" meant that all images just shrunk and expanded as needed for various screen sizes -- well it did and does... but apparently that's not what Google wants anymore. 

NOTE: Even though I'm told we won't see an impact where our sites have the same content across desktop and mobile.... that's actually NOT what I'm seeing in the latest algorithms and reporting tools. 

Here's an excerpt from a blog post SEMRush did, and a link to the full article can be found HERE:

3. There Is Only One Index

One of the common misconceptions that arose from mobile-first indexing announcement in 2016 was that Google holds two indexes; a mobile index and a desktop index.

But that is simply not true — there is only one index, and mobile-first indexing relates to the Googlebot that crawls and indexes your site, not the index of web pages that Google holds. The reality is that where websites have equivalent content across their mobile and desktop sites, they are not likely to see any impact from moving to mobile-first indexing. 

Historically, Google crawled your desktop site first and considered a mobile site to be an alternate version, if you had one (rather than a responsive design). Now, your site's mobile site is the primary version. 

And where things get confusing is that, if you have a separate mobile site, it will be these URLs that show to users on the SERPs.

But there is only one index.

So the suggestions are these:

(and these aren't necessarily mine, but I will be doing them in the meantime.....)

  • Optimize and shrink your images down as far as you can (without losing image quality) - you can use these tools - jpeg.io, tiny.png
  • Convert your images to .webp
    (Here's the convertor tool for that - CLOUDCONVERT)
  • Run your page through this tool to see how your scoring - web.dev
  • Be sure to click on the "View Report" so you can get a full breakdown of where your issues are

Ok now let's look at some issues specific to Kajabi at the time of writing this blog post.

When we look at the report created, (we'll use one of mine).... we can see that it's not just the images that are giving us a bad performance score.... but let's start there anyway.

1. Properly Size Images

So I'll go over this one again.... how can we provide Google with properly sized images, when we upload images that suit our desktop size, ie 1920 x 1080 or if you want to go by Kajabi's suggestion of 2880 x 1200px for Hero banners, or 1280x720 for Blog Images. 

We are told that Google only wants to see sized images for mobiles? Doesn't make sense does it....  I mean all of the images in the report I showed you above are for the Hero or Blog Image for my main blog page... they are sized to Kajabi's specs. But Google is telling me they're too big in size (not? And that I could be saving 4.2secs if I shrink them down?

Do you see the dilemma.... we're unable to create blog pages/posts in Kajabi that are for mobile first.

Sure... on landing pages we can now create sections specific for desktop, and specifically for mobiles.. but we can't do this for our blogs? So this is a penalty I'm going to have to wear for now.

2. Serve images in next-gen formats

So this means we need to convert all of our images into .webp. Wow, big job there. But I guess it just means getting into a new habit, and having another new tool permanently open on my desktop to deal with swapping images over all day every day. Looks like that could shave another 3secs off.

3. Eliminate render-blocking resources

Hmmm when I drill down into this one, there is nothing in here I can touch.
It's all related to "JS/CSS inline and deferring all non-critical JS/styles". This is backend code and really can only be dealt with by Kajabi. So there's 1.8secs in there that I can't do anything about.

4. Remove unused JavaScript

So this one shows there is unused JS with Wistia, Kajabi, and Facebook. I guess I could look at removing the FB component... but not the other 2! 

5. Defer offscreen Images

Well I thought I was doing the right thing here. I created a separate desktop and mobile section for my Hero image. Thinking that Googlebot would only pick up the image in the mobile view... but it appears in Google's own words... this isn't what happens:

Consider lazy-loading offscreen and hidden images after all critical resources have finished loading to lower time to interactive

 So that's a bummer.

I could go on.... but I think you're getting the picture.

I'm actually yet to see any site, that has images in it, get a better performance rating than about 50 in Kajabi.

Clearly we have some work to do and more research... 

....and the concerning part of all this is, that apparently the real penalties haven't even started yet! This is all expected to go live sometime in June 2021.

I'm hoping that Kajabi is able to help us all make the changes, ie

  • with the ability to automatically convert our images to .webp format when we upload them
  • to look at why Wistia as a Third-party code is negatively impacting our load performance
  • and to properly use media and/or the new container queries to resize image dimensions for the various screens.

In the meantime, what we can all do is get cracking on redoing our images the best we can.

Other than that, please feel free to throw any suggestions to me or even start up a thread in the FB Group so we can all improve our sites and help each other STAY FOUND!

PS. According to the webdev team, there are big changes coming

Happy Kajabi-ing y'all.



Let me know your thoughts on the above, feel free to leave a comment below.