In 2018, having a mobile friendly website is not an option – it is necessary. Especially after Google started Mobile First Indexing from March 26, 2018, companies are taking conscious efforts to create mobile-friendly counterparts of their desktop website. With this new change in place, many are unsure where to start and what they should do. So, to make things easier, let us help you answer some questions about Google’s Mobile-First Indexing.
What is Mobile – First Indexing?
Traditionally Google indexed desktop pages of a website in their ranking system. Though this was quite effective, in the recent years the number of mobile users are increasing and there has been a lot of complaint from mobile users because they weren’t getting the same accessibility and smoothness as desktop users. So, after the launch of the AMP, Google started valuing the mobile-friendly aspect of a company. Now, instead of indexing the desktop version of the website, Google has started indexing the mobile version of the same website.
In simpler terms, it just means that the mobile version of your website will be the starting point of your Google’s website evaluation. If you have an updated mobile version, Google will index it and display it to users. However, if you don’t have a mobile version or if it is not up-to-date, Google will index the superior version (i.e. the mobile or desktop version) of your website.
Is It Going To Be Just Another ‘Mobilegeddon’ Move By Google
In 2015 Google made a drastic change in their algorithms which affected 80% of all website search rankings. As a result, companies that didn’t have a mobile friendly version dealt with some momentary losses when it came to their overall ranking. Many like to call this the ‘Mobilegeddon’ move. Mobile First Ranking does not aim to hinder companies that do not have a mobile friendly website. In fact, in the best interest of website owners, Google started Mobile Friendly Indexing for websites that are ‘ready’ for the shift.
They stated on their blog that, “We will be evaluating sites independently on their readiness for mobile-first indexing based on the above criteria and transitioning them when ready. This process has already started for a handful of sites and is closely being monitored by the search team.” This means that currently, Mobile First Indexing is not affecting rankings. However, it may have an effect on our algorithms in the near future.
How Will I Know When My Website’s Mobile Version Has Been Indexed?
There are more than 350 Million websites and it is impossible to index each of them overnight. So, Google is indexing websites with time. They are informing websites that are chosen for the Mobile – First Indexing. If you want to know if your website was chosen, you can check via the Google Search Console.
What Do I Do If I Don’t Have A Mobile Version
If you don’t have a mobile version, don’t worry, but make plans to accommodate a mobile-friendly website in the near future. There are indeed some heavy websites that work best on the desktop and they will take longer to shift to the mobile phone. Google seems very considerate of this and is giving company owners time to make the change.
If you don’t have a mobile version, it will not affect your rankings at present. However, if your competition is quick to adapt to this change and get indexed before you, there is a high chance that you will drop in the seeding. So, to maintain your current rank, consider investing time and resources on a mobile-friendly version of your website.
How Will Mobile – First Indexing Affect My SEO?
If the mobile version of your website is not updated and optimised, it will affect your SEO. With the mobile-first indexing, it is not as simple as just setting an AMP version of your website. Google now prioritises quality and mobile user experience more than anything else. If you have a lot of mobile visitors and your website fails to generate the desired experience on mobile phones it may affect your overall ranking as well.
What Should I Do To Keep My Website Ready For Mobile Indexing
To make sure that your website has a healthy ranking, it’s about time you start to accept the Mobile – First Indexing system whole-heartedly. Here are some things that you should keep in mind to stand a chance in the mobile indexing process. We have listed them keeping in mind that the desktop version of your website is already up to date.
Website Speed and Load Time – When you want to improve your overall ranking keep in mind that all mobile pages are fast and have a reduced load time. If you have many images on each page make sure they are optimised correctly for a good user experience. For most mobile version websites, the menu option is on the side (usually on the left). Make sure that your menu does not overlap text as this will reduce user experience.
Content – For an enriched mobile user experience, the content on the mobile version should not be very different from what we see on the desktop version. We understand that space and usability may restrict you from keeping all pages on the mobile version. However, since users like a wholesome experience on their phones, try to keep the content as identical as possible. We do not want to hinder user experience because of their preferred viewing platform.
Social Media Meta Data – Make sure that your social media cards are available on the mobile version as well as the desktop version.
There are a few years before Google shifts completely to mobile first indexing. Till then, we can also make the move and start adapting with mobile users today.