What is Mobile-first Indexing?
Recently, Google made a change to how they are indexing sites within their search engine. It’s actually a fairly big switch that anyone with a website should know about. They’re calling it Mobile-first Indexing, and it could greatly impact whether or not you need to make some changes to your site to help with Google search results.
What Is Mobile-first Indexing?
Up until now, Google collected information from websites based on the desktop version of that website. However, for many websites, the information on the desktop version of that website and the information on the mobile version of the site were very different. Now, instead of getting the information from the desktop version, Google is switching over to the mobile version.
Why Google is Making This Shift
The primary reason Google is making this shift to mobile-first indexing is because more people now access the Internet through their mobile devices. It wasn’t long ago that most Internet usage came from desktop computers, but this is no longer the case. As a result, in order to provide the best results to its users, Google made the decision to gather content based on the mobile version of websites, as this is the version people are more likely to see.
What This Means for Your Website
So what does this mean for you and your website? It means that you need to pay more attention to how your website appears on mobile devices. If your site takes too long to load, or if it doesn’t look great on smaller screens, your rankings could drop. You’ll want to take some time to try out your website from different mobile devices – Android phones, iPhones, tablets, etc. – and make sure everything looks okay.
You’ll also want to make sure that the content available on the mobile version of your website is up to par, and that it matches the desktop version.
Changing Your Website
If, during this process, you realize that your mobile website could be a little better, you’ll want to make changes sooner rather than later. How you do this will depend on how your website is set up. For example, if you’re running a WordPress site, it could just be a matter of switching to a more mobile-friendly theme. Others will need to work with their web developer to make more drastic changes.
Two things you’ll want to focus on are the appearance and the speed. Your site should be using some form of responsive web design, which will allow it to adapt based on the screen that is viewing it. You’ll also want to make sure that the website loads quickly – either by opting for a slimmer web design or perhaps switching to a faster server.
Don’t Panic Just Yet
Perhaps as you were reading this article you thought “Oh no! My site is going to disappear from Google because my mobile-version isn’t that great.” If so, don’t worry just yet. Google has said that switching over to a mobile-first indexing strategy will not impact its rankings. The main difference is the content that Google will display from your website – which will now come from the mobile-version.
However, since the usage of mobile devices only continues to rise, it’s a good idea to start thinking about this now. While Google switching its indexing strategy might not impact your rankings, working to make your site more mobile friendly could certainly help them.
If you’d like to find out more about how Google ranks websites, or about how mobile-first indexing might impact you, please feel free to contact us at any time. We would be happy to answer your questions, or provide you with a consultation regarding your website.