mobile first indexing

5 Things You Need to Know about Mobile-first Indexing

The ultimate goal of a search engine is to give its users the best possible experience. Google keeps updating its indexing policies to fit the changing user needs, and it will not stop soon. For example, more people are now accessing the Internet using mobile devices rather than desktop computers. This has prompted Google to come up with mobile-first indexing.

The ever-changing indexing rules mean that businesses that rely on the Internet for marketing must always be on their toes. They should take note of any changes in search engine policies and update their websites accordingly. Without doing this, businesses will find their sites sinking deeper in the search engine ranking. This article discusses mobile-first indexing, a significant development in Google indexing policies. It will explain what the new indexing entails. Besides that, it will give tips that businesses can use to ensure that the recent developments don’t affect their companies negatively.

What is mobile-first indexing?

Mobile-first means that Google will use mobile versions of websites as the primary basis for ranking. This is a significant breakaway from the recent practice where desktop versions of websites were given priority. This does not mean that the desktop version of websites will not be considered. In instances where there is no mobile version, the desktop site will be ranked. That is why the new indexing is known as mobile-first not mobile-only. However, it is good to note that once the changes take effect entirely, lack of a mobile-friendly version of your website can affect the ranking negatively.

Historically, Google regarded the desktop version of a website as the primary version. It was, therefore, wise to give more attention to the desktop version in order to improve the ranking. For example, marketing teams would place the majority of the backlinks and SEO content in the desktop versions of the websites.

What should you do about the indexing changes?

To be on the right side of the Google indexing changes, you need to ensure that your website is fully optimized for mobile. If you don’t have separate mobile and desktop sites, you will have to make the website fully responsive. A responsive website is designed to serve pages properly on any device.

Responsive design goes hand in hand with dynamic serving. If your website is using dynamic serving, it will serve pages differently depending on the device that is requesting the content. Responsive design and dynamic serving are the first steps toward ensuring your website is ready for the new indexing procedures; however, they are not enough. Google has recommended other techniques for keeping up with the indexing changes:

  • Have quality content: If the mobile version of your website had limited content, it is now time to fill it with content that will interest your visitors. Remember collapsed content will now be considered. Furthermore, ensure the fonts and formats used on the mobile website are crawlable.
  • Synchronize the metadata: Add metadata to the content on your mobile website. Also, ensure that the metadata in the mobile version is equivalent to that in the desktop site.
  • Structure the data: A well organized site makes crawling easy. Such a site is likely to have a better ranking than sites with scrappy code.
  • Make XML and media sitemaps accessible: Links to sitemaps and robot directives should be accessible from mobile devices. Trust content such as privacy policy should be included in the mobile site too.
  • Increase the server capacity: For sites where the mobile and desktop sites have different hosts, you can move the mobile site to a server that has a higher capacity. This is because once the indexing changes take effect, the mobile site will experience a higher crawl rate.

When are the changes taking effect?

If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, the threat of downrating is real. However, you don’t need to panic. The good thing is that Google will roll out the changes gradually. In fact, as we speak, Google is already experimenting with the changes with a small number of websites that it considers ready.

Currently, Google doesn’t have a timeline for implementing the changes. The implementation process will likely take a few years. Google will evaluate each site independently to see if they are ready for the changes. Once a website is ready, it will be transitioned to the mobile-centered indexing.

How soon will the changes affect your ranking?

If you have a mobile website with scanty content and a desktop site that is heavily indexed, you don’t need to worry. Google will not just remove your desktop pages from the existing indexing; Instead, they will crawl the desktop version as they wait for your site to be mobile friendly. However, as Google reduces crawling of desktop websites, mobile-friendly sites with valuable content will enjoy favorable rankings.

The fact that Google will roll out the migration slowly doesn’t mean you should go back resting on your laurel. A wise webmaster will not rush to optimize their sites when everyone else has done so. That smart webmaster will start optimizing their websites as early as now.

Where to get professional mobile site optimization services

Bright Vessel the place where web development and traditional marketing converge. We have brought together a team of experts that are passionate about launching new brands. We cover your digital marketing needs thoroughly so that you can focus on other things. If you need to optimize your website in readiness for the mobile-first migration, contact us today.