The world has gradually become a mobile-first world. This is evidenced even in our simple routines where the first thing we pick when we wake up is a mobile phone. Many people are using their phones more than they do their computers. Google has seen this trend and has shifted to prioritise mobile results.
Google in November 2016 announced that when it comes to search results index, they will be putting mobile first. This means that the mobile version of your website will be regarded as the primary one for search rankings. Prior to now, to rank your website, Google looked only at the desktop version of your website but now will be looking at the mobile version instead. It will be looking at its content, structure, links and relevance to visitors.
How does this affect you? You might ask.
If you have a website, your site is likely to have a separate mobile version, not have a mobile site at all or be a responsive site that is optimised for both a computer and a mobile device.
For websites that have separate versions, the drawback here is that if the desktop version is the one with better content and structure, Google will not see it. The crawlers will only go through the mobile site and not the desktop one. If your website is like this, you need to update and upgrade the mobile version of your website. It should have the same content and user relevance and experience that the desktop version has to offer.
If your website is desktop only and has no mobile version, it will have lower search engine rankings. The Google crawlers after all search through all websites not just the mobile ones.
For users with responsive websites, the shift mobile first indexing has more or less no effect on them. Such websites are mobile friendly as they already have a content and structure that display and work well on a mobile device
What should you do?
To ensure that Google’s mobile-first indexing is working to your favour, you should:
- Make your website friendly and responsive if it not already
- Create content that is best for mobile. If you have both mobile and desktop versions of your website, you do not need to duplicate all the information on the desktop into the mobile version, just get a way to better communicate the same message in a way best suited for mobiles
There are a few other things such as ensuring a good user experience when your website is viewed on a mobile device but doing these two basic things will help your website get the mobile-first advantage.