What You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile-First Indexing

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With more mobile users than ever, Google made it its mission to improve mobile browsing back in 2016. Everyone needs to follow Google’s lead, as it determines how high your website is going to rank. One of the changes Google is slowly rolling out is switching to mobile-first indexing. The move is aimed at improving the mobile browsing experience for users and might require some adjustments on your website. Here’s what you need to know about Google’s mobile-first indexing:

What Is Mobile-First Indexing?

As the name suggests, mobile-first indexing means that the mobile version of your website will become the starting point for Google’s indexing. Your rankings will be determined by your mobile site (if you have one). However, that doesn’t mean desktop websites won’t be included in the index. If you don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your website, the desktop site will still get indexed, but this might have a negative impact on your ranking. In that case, you might consider switching to a mobile responsive design.

How Does Mobile-First Indexing Affect Your Existing Website?

Since this change means the mobile version will become the primary version of your website, its impact on your site varies. If you already have a mobile-responsive website, saying that your mobile and desktop versions are equivalent; you may not see too much of a change in ranking. In theory, your site’s performance in search results should remain mostly the same.

The main thing that’s changing is the way Google is thinking about your website content, and that might affect what you’ll want to prioritize. With desktop-first, the mobile version was treated as an alternate version of your website, which means that marketers prioritized website content for SEO. After mobile-first rolls out for everyone, we might see some significant changes in that department.

How to Prepare for Mobile-First Indexing

With a fully responsive site, your primary challenge will be to make sure your mobile website experience is well-optimized. Get your load times, page speed and navigation to a high level —  so other than that, there isn’t much to worry about.

If you have a separate mobile site, you’d need to ensure that your mobile version contains everything that your desktop site does. Depending on whether or not you went for a light mobile version, this may take a lot of effort. And, as mentioned earlier, your desktop-only website will probably suffer a drop in the rankings, so it might be a good idea to go responsive. See some technical checklists to help you prepare depending on your existing situation. One of the best ways to take advantage of the upcoming change is to create mobile-tailored content.

If you see this as an opportunity to provide a better experience for your customers, higher rankings will be one among many benefits for your business. So start studying the data to see where the demand is, and deliver. We’ll help you cover the technical bases with a mobile responsive design so that you can focus on your content.