Mobile usage has increased significantly in recent years, becoming a huge focus for a number of brands, including for Google. With more people now conducting searches on a mobile device, it makes sense that Google would start prioritising mobile usage over desktop.
Back in 2016, Google announced it’s mobile-first indexing system which takes into account a website’s mobile page before desktops when ranking a website in search results.
In A Nutshell
What is the mobile-first index?
Essentially Google collects information on every web page within a catalog, known as an index, which it uses to display search results for various search terms and queries. Until recently Google viewed pages through desktop users, treating mobile pages as secondary.
Now, however, Google is treating mobile versions of web pages as the first page to index, with desktops being secondary.
What Does This Mean For My Website?
While it might not seem like a big deal to start, it’s possible that this change could have huge implications for businesses who haven’t fully optimised their websites for mobile users.
This change shouldn’t affect websites which Google has considered to be mobile friendly, meaning that those who already have a mobile optimised site have nothing to worry about, in fact, Google have stated that the change shouldn’t affect search results in any huge way.
However if your mobile website and desktop differ significantly, for example, if it offers a poorer experience for mobile users or you include less content on mobile sites than on desktop, you could see your website fail to show up to the majority of users.
What Can I Do About This Change?
While you shouldn’t need to panic about this change, if you think there’s a chance you could be affected, there are a number of things you can do to prepare for this change;
– Optimise Your Mobile Content
If you have two separate websites for mobile and desktop, then it’s important that you optimise your mobile website content to match your desktop site. Many mobile websites are designed with less content than desktop, this is often in order to improve experiences for users on a smaller device. While this may have worked fine previously, once Google starts to prioritise mobile sites, they could be led to believe your site isn’t offering enough content to be deemed useful.
– Make Sure Your Site Is Responsive
The easiest way to avoid being affecting by this change is to have a responsive website, a site that is exactly the same as your current desktop site but optimised for use of different mobile and tablet devices. A responsive site allows you to include the same information and images on a site that is suitable for both desktop and mobile users, meaning that not only it is functional for your audience but also meaning that it is still good for Google.
– Check Your Load Times
Page speeds are an important factor for search results pages and now that mobile pages are going to be indexed first you need to make sure that your website loads fast not only on desktop but also on mobile devices. If you’ve not already optimised your website properly then it’s possible that your load times could be an issue and could have an impact when Google changes its indexing system.
While the mobile-first index may not affect your site that much directly, it’s important to understand exactly what is going on and what it means for the future direction of Google and how you can act now in order to keep ahead of not only your competition but also to keep up with Googles latest plans.
If you’re looking for help optimising your site for mobile devices then contact our team today, who can help you move in the best direction.