MOBILE FIRST INDEXING
So Just What Is Mobile-First Indexing?
Mobile-First indexing is term used to describe a MAJOR change in how Google ranks websites.
Starting July 1, 2019, Mobile-First Indexing will be used to index “All new, previously unknown to Google Search, websites.”
In short, from July 1, Google will be ranking sites based on a new algorithm designed to cater for the massive increase in searches being performed on smartphones.
So what impact will this have on you and your site?
Let’s take a look.
WHY THE CHANGE?
To fully understand just how these changes will affect your website and it’s SEO rankings, it’s important to understand just why they are being made.
Google has always been very up front about it’s desire to provide users with a good user experience.
Your site needs to have good content that is easy to navigate, be fast loading and secure.
There are some more factors but these three have been a consistent requirement from Google from the outset.
The biggest change in the equation has been the massive increase in the number of searches being performed on smartphones and other Mobile devices.
The majority of viewing is now on Mobile devices and Google is catering for the shift.
It is becoming increasingly important at a faster pace than ever before, for every single website to perform at its BEST on both mobile and desktop.
Google is taking steps to keep up with the ever-growing transition to mobile by deploying a new approach to how it indexes web pages.
They call it, “Mobile-First” indexing.
It’s Google’s way of ensuring it’s gets the best mobile content for users searching across the entire web.
WHAT AFFECT WILL IT HAVE?
MOBILE FIRST INDEXING will affect different businesses and their websites in different ways.
The traditional method of building a website was to create a site and then alter the content to load on the smaller mobile devices.
The downside of this method is the time it takes to adjust content to fit the smaller screens.
Google has already hinted that of the three main factors used in ranking, load speed is going to become more and more important.
In fact, load speed has become the most important factor in ranking with Google requiring sites to load in less than three seconds.
Many of the SEO experts across the globe beleive it is now even more important than content.
HOW WILL IT IMPACT YOU?
The impact Mobile First Indexing will have will differ from one site to the next.
By default, all sites and domains indexed by Google after July 1 2019 will be ranked using the new Mobile First Indexing system. Sites wil be ranked using the mobile version of the site rather than the desktop which was the case in the past.
To quote Google – “Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for”.
If a site that has not been indexed by Google prior to July 1 2019 is not fully responsive, it is highly unlikely it will rank highly, particulary in searches being performed by mobile users.
Sites and domains that Google has indexed pre July 1 2019 will continue to be ranked using the same algorithm as before.
To once again quote Google – “We continue to have one single index that we use for serving search results. We do not have a “mobile-first index” that’s separate from our main index. Historically, the desktop version was indexed, but increasingly, we will be using the mobile versions of content.
Google has also stated that sites that are fully mobile responsive will continue to rank under Mobile First Indexing.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
The first point we should make is that, while this could have an adverse affect on your website rankings, it’s not all doom and gloom.
If you are looking at building a website in the near future, create it with the Mobile First Index in mind. The mobile version of your site will be used by Google when a visitor searches for you or the products/services you provide, and should be optimised accordingly.
If you have an existing site, you may only need to make some minor changes in order to be compliant. Early indications are that sites that are Mobile Responsive will be fine but sites that are only Mobile Friendly will need more work.
To be clear, Google has stated they will rank sites that have already been indexed in the same way they always have. If you have an exisitng site, chances are Google has indexed it at some stage.
However, we should also remember part of Google’s information on what Mobile First Indexing consists of included this
“Historically, the desktop version was indexed, but increasingly, we will be using the mobile versions of content”.
So while your site should be fine at first, it seems clear that over time, Google will move to all sites being ranked with Mobile First Indexing.
TIME TO PANIC?
In fact Mobile First Indexing is something you should embrace.
While there is a level of uncertainty that comes with any change that Google implements, there is one thing you can be sure of.
Most website owners will be unaware of the changes, and the majority of the owners that are will actually do nothing about it.
This presents a huge opportunity for you.
Ensuring your website meets Google’s requirements could see your site recieve a huge boost in SEO rankings.
Make sure your website is indexed with a current sitemap. Improve your website’s load speed. Compress and optimise your site’s images.
All improvements that will help prepare your site for the change.
We will create a more comprehensive blog post on all the improvements you can make to your site to be fully prepared for Mobile First Indexing.
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