How To Prepare Your Business For Mobile-First
Back in November of 2016, Google announced that they were beginning to implement a mobile first index. This involves a range of experiments, due to the large number of people searching on Google using a mobile device. It was back in 2015 when mobile began to take over, which means Google are considering mobile as a hugely important factor in their search algorithms. Google have begun implementing this update over the past 9 months so we’re going to consider how much of an impact it could have on the different aspects of your business.
How Does Mobile First Indexing Work?
Google has acknowledged that its goal is to improve the experience of users on both desktop and mobile. Up until two years ago, the search engine had prioritised analysis of the desktop rather than the mobile version of a site when it came to SERP rankings. However, this focus shifted when mobile search ranking overtook traditional desktop in October of 2016. During this month, search rankings on mobile had increased to a high of 51.3% compared to that of desktop which had 48.7% of the searches in 2016.
Although this was only a slight difference, it is hugely significant within the internet sphere as it signals a change in the way people are engaging online. This could also be attributed to the implementation of technology such as the Google Pixel line of phones, which have seen a vast number of sales. There is also Google Assistant on Android phones, which allows you to get the information that the user needs with a simple voice search, revolutionising the way people use the internet.
Google have since begun indexing on one page, rather than having a separate mobile and desktop index. Since the update, it has begun to place even more value on mobile pages when it comes to determining SERP positions and indexing a site.
Due to this change in algorithm, it is important that your business is prepared. There are lots of things to consider even if you have carried out some form of mobile optimisation in the past. If your mobile site has laid dormant for a prolonged period of time, it could prove to be highly beneficial for you start optimising.
Alternatively, if you are planning to redesign your business’ website, it is beneficial to create a site that can be accessed on both mobile and desktop with relevant content to get the best possible outcome when combined with your SEO efforts.
What To Expect from Mobile First Indexing
There are a number of different ways that mobile first indexing may affect a site. Firstly, the rankings of a website that does not offer a flawless user experience on their mobile site will be affected. Mobile SEO will need to become a business’ priority, and while Google are still indexing desktop sites, you may find your site’s SERP rankings are severely affected if you do not have a responsive mobile version. If however, you already have a responsive website that is of the same design, structure and has the same content as your desktop, which also adjusts to a number of different screen sizes and devices properly, then you will not be affected by the switch to mobile first index. This will also help to ensure that user experience is maintained at a higher level regardless of which device your visitors are viewing the content on.
Optimising Your Site For Mobile Indexing
Search Engine Watch produced a list of how to optimise your business for mobile indexing, which you can follow in order to optimise your mobile indexing. The features listed below are only a small fraction of some of the work that may be needed on your mobile site in order to ensure that your site’s mobile version appears on the mobile first index.
- Mobile Responsiveness – If your site is highly responsive and matches Google’s standards, then getting your mobile site indexed may not be far away.
- Mobile Site Configuration – if your content and markup is different on your desktop and mobile site, then you’re going to need to make a few changes in order to have your site ranking on Google’s mobile index.
- Structured Data Testing – It is important to run structured data tests for both your desktop and mobile URLs. Compare output and then adjust any errors.
- Canonical Links – While Google will continue to use canonical links as guides in order to provide the most relevant search results for desktop or mobile users, knowing more about your site’s canonical links can help to get a better idea of your site’s success.
- Building A Mobile Site – If you’re considering building a separate mobile site, then you will want to ensure that it is fully complete and of high quality rather than launching too soon and dealing with errors along the way. Google will still be indexing desktop sites, so you have time to get your mobile site perfect before launching.
Official Google Announcements
In March of this year, there was an official announcement from Google which gave all the information that you would need to follow in order to have the best possible results. This blog post suggested that there are a number of ways which you can optimise your site to perform better across multiple platforms without relying solely on mobile optimisation. One of the most important factors is content, since this works alongside fast loading page speeds to help provide better results.
Google Webmasters official twitter account tweeted in the early part of June 2018 to address some of the concerns and said that:
This was around the time that mobile first indexing became more prominent within the ranking system and saw some websites being affected.
There are a number of other things to consider when it comes to optimising your mobile site for the new mobile first index. If you’d like to find out more information, you can get in touch with a member of our expert team today. We can then discuss your options and work out how we can help you benefit from the switch to mobile first indexing. Call us today on 0800 088 6000.