GOOGLE MOVING TO INDEXING MOBILE-FIRST

Google has been vocal about increasing the importance of mobile, for some time, now the announcement that Google is moving to index mobile first is a dramatic and impactful change. So how will Google’s Mobile first indexing impact user experience? – Positively.

GOOGLE’S MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING

What does Google’s mobile-first indexing mean? The mobile version will ultimately become the definitive version of a website. The search engine’s index will continue to use a single index of sites, and apps but algorithms will focus primarily on the mobile version of a site for search engine result page rankings.

If your business does not have a mobile friendly site you need one ASAP. This Google index change should serve as an added incentive to start working on a mobile friendly site.

HOW WILL GOOGLE’S MOBILE-FIRST CHANGE IMPACT MY SITE?

If you have a mobile responsive site or a dynamic serving site where content and markup are essentially the same across both mobile and desktop you will not need to make changes.  Once Google’s algorithm is updated you should not see a dramatic negative impact on SEO or SERP rankings. There could be an improvement over non-mobile friendly competition.

However, if there are great differences between the mobile and desktop versions of your site, including content and markup you’ll likely need to make some large changes. Unfortunately and to their detriment, many mobile sites are smaller versions of desktop sites with less content for Google to index.

HOW TO CHECK MOBILE INDEX ISSUES

  • Check Mobile Friendliness

    First off check mobile friendliness.  Use the Google Webmaster tool mobile-friendly test to check overall site experience and learn how the “GoogleBot” analyzes your site.

    Also an important factor – site speed. One second can make the difference between a positive mobile experience and a negative one.Users expect a mobile page to load between 3-6 seconds.

    Use the Mobile Speed Test Tool to check the speed of your site, and learn why pages may be slow to load.

    Depending on the results of the test you may need to dig deeper into site structure. This website evaluation checklist is helpful for checking SEO site health. There are also valuable mobile resource guides.

  • Test Structured Data

    It is critical that sites serve structured markup for both mobile and desktop. Leverage Google’s  structured data test tool to expose issues.

  • Check Robots.txt

    Make sure the mobile version of your site is accessible to Googlebot, if not Google will not be able to crawl your site. Check your robots.txt with Google’s Robots.txt Tester.

  • Verify Mobile Version in Search Console

    Make sure the mobile version of your site is verified in Search Console.

MOBILE-FIRST DESIGN

It is vital to get mobile design and experience right. If your business is designing a new website, consider creating wireframes and prioritizing page experience from the mobile-first lens, then work backward to the desktop experience.

Prioritize the users’ Jobs to Be Done. What are they trying to accomplish when visiting your site? Make that job possible and easy, with as few clicks as possible.

As Google notes, there are four steps for success on mobile –

  • Be There
  • Be Useful
  • Be Quick
  • Connect the Dots

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