More than half of all internet searches take place on mobile devices. Now, Google has decided that they are going to adapt their search engine to this trend by prioritizing mobile first indexing. Google has already started testing mobile-first indexing with a small number of websites and expects to fully roll out the change later this year.
Indexing happens when Google sends its robots to crawl your site. What the robots find determines how your business’ website will rank on organic search engine results pages seen by potential customers. Once this change takes place, what Google includes in their index and how they configure search rankings will be based on the mobile version of your website first.
Will Mobile First Indexing Affect My Small Business?
If you’re wondering if and how Google’s Mobile-First Indexing will affect you, the answer depends on how your website is set up. Here are some things to consider as you plan for this change by Google.
- If your website is a mobile responsive site and has the same content on both mobile and desktop versions, you shouldn’t have to worry about changing anything.
- If the main content on your website is different on the desktop and mobile versions?
- If you do not have a mobile responsive site, you should consider updating your online presence. Google will crawl the desktop version and that may hurt your organic search engine rankings.
How to Prepare for Mobile-first indexing?
Review Your Google Analytics. Take a look at your Google Analytics and determine how much traffic to your website is getting from mobile devices. See if there is a trend favoring mobile traffic over desktop traffic. If so, you’ll want to be in sync with Google and get ready for mobile-first indexing.
Make Sure You Have a Mobile Friendly Website. A mobile friendly website loads quickly and can conform to the dimensions of a smartphone. Google’s robots will be able to crawl the content on the site. If you’re not sure if your mobile website can be crawled by Googlebots, use a robots.txt testing tool to check it out. Also check images, videos, and text on the site to make sure they can be crawled and are not making your page speed slow.
Make Mobile SEO a Priority. If you have a fully responsive site, focus on optimizing page speed, navigation, and design. Google won’t penalize your site for having a full desktop version with lots of indexed pages while having a thin mobile site. However, if you have a separate mobile site, you should make sure that it has as much meaningful content as the desktop version.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mobile-First Indexing
Is mobile-first indexing adding mobile pages to a separate mobile index?
No. Google is not creating an additional index or two separate indexes. Instead, mobile-first indexing focuses on how content is added to the current index.
Why is Google changing the index?
Google has found that the current index can create problems when the desktop page has more content than the mobile page because their algorithms are evaluating the desktop version – not the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher. By transitioning the index from desktop to mobile-first, Google has encouraged websites to become more mobile friendly.
What if my mobile version has less content than my desktop version?
This change by Google will be gradual, so there is time to be proactive and prepare. If your mobile version has less content than your desktop version, Google will index the mobile version and rank the site accordingly. This is why it’s important that your website is mobile responsive with content that is the same on both versions of the site.
What should I do if my mobile site is separate from my desktop site?
Make sure the content on your mobile version has the same level of quality content as your desktop site. This includes images, text, and videos.
Google wants to give webmasters and business owners as much time as possible time to get their sites ready for mobile-first indexing. This change could significantly impact your small businesses ability to be found online, so you’ll want to get started now. Being proactive with how your business is seen on a mobile devices will ensure your business maintains visibility in organic searches and stays top of mind with customers.
About the author:
Chad Crowe joined Techwood Consulting in 2016 and manages Techwood’s implementation and account management operations. Over the years, Chad has managed over $25 million dollars in paid search advertising.