Google recently announced they are going to start rolling out their mobile-first indexing, an initiative that allows Google to generate and rank it’s search results based on the mobile version of content on a website. Keep in mind, Google’s always used one single index for serving search results and will always use one. That single index is just changing from desktop to mobile. We’ve all known that throughout the years more users are utilizing mobile searches as opposed to desktop searches. This has been a trend for some time and in 2018 we are seeing mobile searches dominate. Largely due to this mobile dominance, Google is now going to start crawling and indexing the web as a mobile browser.
Here is one way to look at it:
It is all about how Google crawls your site. Google's index will now be based on a mobile-first approach going forward. Google will start using the mobile versions of your pages for indexing and ranking.
This really depends on how your site is setup between desktop and mobile, all sites are different. Here a few of the main scenarios:
If you just have a desktop version of your site with no mobile-friendly version, Google will still be able to crawl because the mobile version is the same as the desktop. The content and layout are essentially the same and so you don’t need to make any changes. The only downside to this is that the user may have a bad experience when trying to navigate your non-mobile-friendly site from their phone or tablet.
If your website is mobile-responsive, then you don’t need to make any changes. A mobile-friendly website will normally have the same content shown on the mobile version that is shown on the desktop version. Although, sometimes content is not displayed on mobile where it is shown on the desktop due to design or other constraints. We’ll touch on this next as this can cause issues with this mobile-first index. Keep in mind, we always recommend having a mobile-responsive web design mainly for a better user experience but as we move into the future, we wouldn’t be surprised if this plays a role on a site's ranking.
Just like dynamic serving, if the mobile version of your site serves different or less content than your desktop version then you should definitely consider updating your mobile site so that the content is equal to your desktop site. Text, images, and videos are all a part of this. In terms of SEO, if pages on your site are ranking for specific KW phrases then the elements on that page are playing a vital role. If those elements are not present on your mobile version then there are chances you will lose your ranks. This is why making these updates to mobile are crucial.
If all your web pages are created in AMP HTML, no change is needed. The mobile version is going to be the same as the desktop version.
If your desktop URL is different than your mobile URL (example.com vs m.example.com) then Google will prefer the mobile URL for indexing. Be sure to follow the Best practices for dynamic serving and separate URLs.
Google is notifying sites via Search Console that they are migrating to mobile-first indexing. Within Search Console, webmasters will be able to see an increased crawl rate from the Smartphone Googlebot.
It is important to make sure your website is ready for Google’s mobile-first indexing rollout. Mobile is starting to play a huge role in the success of a website and your business relies on it. WebiMax has an experienced team of in-house developers and designers to make sure your site is safe. More importantly, WebiMax has a proven track record of making sites mobile-responsive and providing an optimal experience for everyone who interacts with the site via their mobile device.
Contact WebiMax today to make sure your site is ready for Google’s mobile-first indexing.