Mobile first indexing – an explanation
Sometimes it can seem that Google makes changes just to make life difficult. Even the experts can not definitely predict the algorithm, and it does not help when the goal posts move. The fact is that any changes which Google makes are aimed at improving the online experience for everyone. This can only be a good thing. As a business, what you need to do is keep up to date with changes and learn how they can benefit you and your customers.
Mobile first indexing is a good example of one of these changes. It may sound a bit alarming at first, but you can actually use it you your advantage.
What is mobile first indexing?
Currently, Googlebot searches the Internet for new and updated content. It does this by trawling the desktop versions of websites. The resulting information is stored in an index, to be used when Google is determining search engine rankings.
When mobile first indexing is rolled out, the process will continue, but mobile sites will be searched as the first option, not desktop sites. The desktop site will only be used if a business does not have a mobile version of its website.
What does this mean for your business?
Google already recognised the importance of mobile when Mobilegeddon happened. In terms of what Google is looking for in a mobile friendly website, nothing has changed. There are certain actions that you need to take in order to be well regarded by Google:
- Make sure your content is easy to read using a mobile device, and that users do not have to scroll or zoom.
- Ensure that links and buttons are easy to select, using a touchscreen.
- Ensure that all content can be loaded when using a mobile device.
Your business needs to concentrate on all of these factors. You also need to make sure that all of the content which is available on your desktop site is also available to mobile users.
It’s this last point where businesses may encounter problems. Many mobile websites are designed to be lighter on content, so that they load more quickly. The issue with this is that it’s this lighter amount of content that will be used to determine search engine rankings once mobile first indexing rolls out fully; this is likely to happen by the end of 2017.
The easiest way to ensure that you do not lose out as a result, is to make sure that your business website is built to take account of mobile first. If you need help with making this happen, click here. If your website is designed with mobile as a priority, and then adapted for desktop if needed, this helps to ensure that you are ready for the mobile first index. It also means you are more likely to attract and engage people who view the Internet using a mobile device. Given that this is now the majority of Internet users, you have the opportunity to gain a significant competitive advantage.