In a change that is undoubtedly going to shake up the world of SEO and the business world in general, Google has announced plans to move more sites to its mobile first index in the near future.
If you’re unsure of the significance of this change or indeed what its mobile first index even refers to, then it’s best to start at the fundamentals of how Google ranks sites.
Google indexing and crawling
The first part of indexing is crawling. This is where Google follows your links and moves through your website using bots. These bots also follow linked pages on your website. If you are new to learning about SEO and keep hearing about the importance of links, well, this is a simple way of starting to understand why.
Indexing is when the information that is taken by crawling is then used to assign your website a Google ranking.
A higher Google ranking is what all businesses look for in order to achieve greater market presence, and there’s a multitude of factors that play into where your website ends up being ranked. These include things like domain names, backlinks, duplicate content, sitemaps, SEO friendly URLs and much more.
The importance of getting a good ranking really can’t be understated.
For a business online, it’s the difference between having a prime spot in a busy town centre or having one on a side street where very few people ever tread.
Ultimately, it’s about how many eyes you can get on your business and ultimately as a result of that, how much revenue you can generate. There’s few more important things in marketing than your Google ranking.
So, what’s mobile first indexing and why is it important?
Mobile first indexing is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of the desktop version of your site taking priority, for some sites, now the mobile version will be indexed first.
This means that a site’s mobile version will immediately have a great deal more significance in their overall marketing impact and could have severe repercussions across businesses that fail to bring the mobile version of their site up to high SEO standards.
In general, the rules of the game have not changed.
Google will still rank your site based on the same factors it always has. However, the emphasis will be on a different platform, and there’s a few additional things you can do to make sure this change doesn’t affect your rankings.
- Make sure you have a mobile site:
This one seems pretty obvious but you’d be surprised by just how many sites have not changed with the times and have failed to produce a site that is optimised for mobile. If this is the case, the website is unlikely to fall off the face of the online world but it will certainly affect their status.
- Get your content on par with your desktop site:
If you’ve overly prioritised your desktop site, then this is the wake-up call to get your mobile site up to the same standard. Times are changing and you need to move with them.
- Make sure your site is responsive:
This is obviously always important but even more so with the shifting tide towards mobile. Your site needs to load quickly and work effectively. This doesn’t just affect your user experience either: it affects the crawling process on your site too.
Ultimately, the move to mobile first indexing was inevitable, even if everyone didn’t expect it to come so quickly.
The fact is that more and more people are choosing their mobile devices as their preferred option for searching the internet.
With that, Google is simply pushing websites in the direction they needed to go in, with or without this change.