Well, it’s finally here! Google has announced that after a year and a half they are rolling out their mobile-first indexing. With more than half of the world’s web traffic now coming from mobile phones, you must be thinking mobile-first, just like Google.
What is mobile-first indexing?
The term simply means that the mobile version of your site is the lead-in for what Google will include in their index. This means that Google will show the mobile version of your website pages in search results and Google cached pages.
According to Google, they have started transitioning sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing. Google says they will be notifying sites that are transitioning over through the Search Console. As a site owner, you might see a spike in your crawl rate from the Smartphone Googlebot.
So that’s great, but what does that mean for you and your business? Are you ready to make that change? We have provided some helpful insights on what this looks like for you as a business owner and what you can do to prepare yourself for the change.
What does this mean for you?
- Google says there will still be just one index. This change does not add a mobile-first index separate from their main index.
- Mobile-first does not mean mobile-only. Don’t panic if your site does not have a mobile-friendly version. It just means that if you do have a mobile version, this will be considered the primary version.
- Google will not ditch your highly-indexed desktop pages for your minimal mobile site index. In the end, you should push to have all relevant content that is on your desktop version on your mobile version. Doing so will help you continue to rank well.
- Just the same, ranking uses many factors. Google may show content that is not mobile-friendly or slow loading if other signs point to it being the most relevant content. So mobile-first indexing is not the only factor considered in overall ranking.
Are you ready for mobile-first indexing?
Overall, if your website is responsive or identical in its desktop and mobile versions, you may not have to make any changes with this update. But just in case here are some helpful tips to help you understand “am I ready?”
- Optimize your high-quality content by making sure text, images, and videos are included in your mobile version of your site.
- Structured Data should be on both your mobile and desktop versions, ensuring URLs of the structured data are updated to the mobile version.
- Metadata should be available on both site versions.
- Crawl rates most likely will increase, so make sure your hosting server can handle the potential increase. This only affects sites that have their mobile version on a separate host.
- Keep existing interlinking for sites that use separate mobile URLs.
- Google Speed update will roll out in July 2018 and is a new ranking algorithm designed specifically for mobile search. This will ultimately affect your overall ranking, so ensure your site has appropriate load times by using a helpful tool like lighthouse.
As the process slowly rolls out, no major effects should take place immediately. So, if you aren’t mobile-ready yet, you have time to start thinking mobile-first and optimize your site for all digital users.
Be sure to check back with RezStream and our continued blog updates regarding the latest and greatest happenings around mobile-first indexing and how it could impact your business.