Over the past few years, Google has been moving towards an exclusively mobile web, with what some in the industry call “Mobilegeddon”. In 2015, Google introduced a mobile-friendly ranking algorithm that helped increase the visibility of mobile-friendly pages in its mobile search results. Responsive web design boomed, and businesses rushed to make sure their sites could be used on any device. The overall goal for Google, and site owners was to give mobile users a better search experience.
In the past few months, Google has been updating its algorithm to boost mobile-friendly sites, and now it’s starting to roll out a “mobile-first” index which impacts both businesses and digital marketing professionals.
WHAT IS A “MOBILE-FIRST” INDEX?
An index is the database or “catalogue” of information on web pages that Google serves up to users. Historically, Google viewed web sites through the eyes of a desktop user primarily, and mobile as secondary. Now, Google is treating the mobile versions of each page as the primary page, and desktop secondary.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
If your site has already been deemed “Mobile Friendly”, you don’t need to worry as Google has stated that the change shouldn’t affect your search rankings. If you’re not sure about this, check the Mobile-Friendly Testing Tool or ask us.
If your mobile site and desktop site are different however, you may be impacted by this update. You will need to re-asses the design and content of your sites, ensuring the mobile version has enough content (or at least as much as the desktop version) as it will now be seen by Google as the primary version.
If you’re serving up different versions of your site for desktop and mobile, you’ll want to look at ways to improve your mobile experience and ranking:
1. Look at mobile-exclusive functions, such as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) which give mobile users instant access to your content, or developing an app for users.
2. Treat your mobile version as the primary version of your site and ensure it gets updated regularly. Remember that if something isn’t good enough to feature on your mobile site, then it probably shouldn’t be on the desktop version.
3. Ensure your mobile site is fully compliant and remediation any Smartphone Errors found in your Search Console.
What have you got in your SEO strategy that caters to Google’s mobile-first index? There’s many things you can do to ensure your mobile site performs and converts well – contact us for a chat today and see how we can help.
The Strategus Team