There has been a lot of chat in the online community about Google’s Mobile First-Indexing. If you have a website that isn’t mobile responsive should you be worried? Technically, yes, because as the name suggests, Google will create its rank and search listings based on mobile content.
Here’s what you need to know about Mobile-First Indexing:
Mobile-first indexing explained.
Google has stated that mobile searches now exceed desktop searches. However, Google’s algorithms are set to evaluate rankings and search listings based on the desktop version of a particular site – causing a discrepancy in search results especially for those who took the time to make their websites mobile. To fix this, Google will now look at the content, link structure, etc. of a mobile site first if it is available. If you don’t have a mobile site, it will revert to your site’s desktop version but may rank your site behind those that do.
Mobile-responsive sites are your best bet.
The good news is that if your website is mobile responsive there is no need to do anything else. Just make sure that all SEO factors are in place – proper link architecture and structure, good and high quality content, etc. However, if you do have a different mobile version of your website that carries just the basic content compared to your desktop version, you should have a rethink… as the mobile site is the one Google will crawl and focus on.
To be safe, make sure your website is fully mobile responsive with exactly the same content as your desktop version.
Hidden content on mobile sites is fine.
Good user-experience is best practice!
Design elements that hide your content, such as accordions will now be crawled and the content read by Google. You will not be penalised for creating a site that is designed primarily for mobile users.
Mobile-first indexing is still at the beginning stages of roll-out.
Google has started rolling out the mobile-first indexing policy. They haven’t specified dates yet for a full roll out but it’s going to happen very soon. It is still in the experimenting process but if all goes well, it will be rolled out in the next few months.
In 2017 it is highly likely that Google will only use the one indexing model – mobile.
At the moment, and during rollout and experimenting phase, Google will use two indexes to determine search and ranking results: desktop-first and mobile-first.
BUT – we won’t know which. When Google is confident that their mobile-first indexing is working, they will drop the desktop-first index.
So what does this all mean?
Mobile-first indexing is still in an experimental phase – but it is coming!
Be prepared for such this huge change in how Google ranks your website by making sure it is mobile-responsive.
More people are using their mobiles to search now than using a laptop or desktop – so don’t fight it, embrace it!
If you would like to find out more about how to start optimising your site for mobile, you can follow Google’s recommendations listed on their blog post.