Google’s Mobile-First Indexing – What do you Need to Know?
Google made an announcement regarding mobile-first indexing back in the year 2016. Since then, there have been various developments and news on this front.
Though this is slated to happen in September 2020, what does it entail for all of us? It simply means that from now onwards, Google will be basing what it positions in the index of your website’s mobile version, whereas they earlier used to index the desktop version of your website first.
This change was made as today, there are many more searches coming from mobile devices and to provide those mobile users with an enhanced experience, Google decided that it was the right time to prioritize mobile results.
Note that the mobile-first index is not any separate index; in fact, Google just has one index from which it distributes the results.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
Mobile-first indexing implies that Google typically utilizes the mobile version of a particular website’s content if it needs to rank or index it.
Recently, on 1st July 2019, Google announced that mobile-first indexing would apply for all websites. However, previously, Google always utilized the desktop version of any web page’s content if it intended to rank or index it.
The reason for launching mobile-first indexing was that the number of mobile users had augmented in a big way as compared to desktop users.
As of now, Google makes use of a smartphone agent if it is required to crawl and index your website. The Top 5 Things to Know about Mobile-first Indexing
Google uses any website’s mobile version for indexing
Google does not have any separate mobile-first index, which means that they use the URL of your website’s mobile-friendly version for the purpose of ranking and indexing.
In case you have two different versions, that is, a different mobile URL and desktop URL, then Google will display the mobile URL to all the mobile users, and a different desktop URL to all the desktop users. However, in both scenarios, the indexed content would be the mobile version.
Always do a mobile-friendliness test
In case you don’t have a mobile-friendly website so far, it would be harder for you to rank your site. So, what can you do? Check Google’s mobile-friendliness test and find out if your site is mobile-friendly or not as that’s the minimum requirement.
If your website does not pass this test, then your mobile version may not be up to the mark. Then, find out how you can improve your mobile website.
It will be good if you can also read Google’s documentation on the process steps to get your website ready for mobile-first indexing. Sounds complex? Let some search engine optimization services in India help you with this.
This move will take time but will be applicable to everyone eventually
If your site has not yet transitioned to mobile-first indexing, eventually it will. Though you can’t find out exactly when that would happen, remember that there is no way to opt-out.
Google will determine the readiness of a site for mobile-first indexing depending on the proper consistency of its text, images, links, videos, structured data, and other metadata.
In case your site was launched post-July 1, 2019, then by default mobile-first indexing will be enabled.
Reading from a small mobile screen is even tougher when compared to reading from a big desktop or laptop screen. However, to pull the mobile audience, you’ll have to make a mobile-friendly copy.
What does that mean? Write short and crisp sentences and interesting and compact paragraphs. You must also ensure that the font used on your mobile site is large enough to be legible and use enough white spaces.
Mobile websites should aim to offer the same experience as any desktop website
As per Google’s best practices, you must offer a similar experience to users on mobile and desktop. If you are serving lesser content on the mobile site, then Google will not be able to get as much information from your site’s page as compared to the desktop version, which can make your ratings drop.
So, take help from some best SEO company and ensure that Google can access and extract all mobile and desktop website content, and also make sure that both the content is the same.
Besides that, use the same meta tags and headings in both places, as both sites must have the same structured data.
Research more on mobile snippets
Do you think that your company’s main audience largely mobile? Do you get them because of the mobile search results that are linked to your page? Or do you get most of the traffic from the desktop SERPs? So, it’s important that you check this in your website’s Google Analytics.
In case your search traffic is mainly from mobile search result pages, then you should ensure that you enhance your mobile snippet in our Google preview, and then you are good to go.
It’s quite simple! The easiest and best way to optimize your website for mobile-first indexing is to keep following Google’s recommendations. Keep a check on Google’s page on mobile-first indexing best practices under its Developer’s Guide.