For over a year, Google have been testing the best means of mobile-first indexing. They recently announced that they are now migrating sites that follow their recommended best practices for mobile-friendly pages. This is down to the increasing number of mobile users utilising the internet, which has now surpassed those on the desktop. The changes could have an effect on how websites are found on the search engine results pages.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
Mobile-first indexing is the creation and ranking of search listings purely based on the mobile version of a website’s content.
One of the key drivers for this change is because the search engine gods have noticed that over 50% of users are on mobile devices yet sites were having their desktop versions indexed. This may not be the same for mobile or even mobile-friendly. To better adapt to the growing mobile user base, these changes were made.
What Does This Mean for Businesses?
For those businesses that already have a mobile-friendly site, you generally won’t need to do anything if the content is the same for both mobile and desktop.
However, your business may be at a severe disadvantage if you don’t have a responsive site, as pages that do will often rank better than those without. Although desktop versions will still be indexed, and Google will always put the most relevant content, mobile or not, in search engine results pages, mobile-friendly sites will be preferred.
How Will Rankings Change?
Mobile-first indexing sounds like it could cause a massive shake-up when it comes to rankings, but Google insists that there won’t be many changes “if any”.
Even with Google’s reassurance, it is always suggested to take mobile SEO very seriously, if anything, for your mobile website visitors. The rules seem to change all the time when it comes to how sites are ranked, so it is always best to stay on top of things to stay relevant.
How to Make the Most of Mobile-First Indexing
There are several factors to consider when ensuring your site is ready for mobile-first indexing. First of all, mobile versions should be the equivalent of the desktop version when it comes to content. Many m-dot sites (separate pages for mobile users) have reduced content, especially for mobile viewers. If this is the case for your website, anything that was removed for the mobile page should go back on it. This is because Google will look at the mobile site still in this case, but any lack of content may have an effect on its ranking. Your mobile site should be just as informative as the desktop.
Many pages that already have a responsive design may not have to make any changes but having a responsive site alone doesn’t guarantee a good ranking. The site should load quickly, including any appropriate pictures for mobile viewing with mobile SEO. If your business does not have a responsive website or separate mobile page yet, consider going for the responsive design, so content is the same.
Finally, use the Google Search Console to see any errors and fix them for the best ranking chances. For further information on how to make your page ready for mobile-site indexing, Google has some advice. It is always worth staying on top of any news from Google regarding changes as things can do so often!
Benefits of Mobile-First Indexing
Google have recognised that 55% of users are on mobile and this number is rising. This is very beneficial for mobile users as they are more likely to find mobile-friendly content that is relevant to them.
Although Google have said they don’t expect rankings to change too much, for businesses who have a mobile-responsive site already, this can be beneficial.
Help is at Hand
Unsure about your site and how it will rank on Google? The task can be daunting for many. AdJuice SEO Services can help your site rank well both locally and nationally and ensure your website is performing the best it can with SEO and compelling content, just the way Google likes. Contact us to discuss how we can take your website further.
About the Author
This article was written and contributed by Ben Maden, Managing Director for Matter Solutions in Brisbane, Australia.