UPDATE: Things happen quickly on the internet for sure, I had been predicting this since the first announcement that Google had to implement AI aka Rank Brain (why would they call it rank brain if it wasn’t going to be used as their new algorithm). So here is some info on the shift to AI. I will be doing a post on Google’s change to AI as soon as I return from the NAB 2018.
I am also going to be announcing my new involvement and our SEO Company with the W3C concerning some of the new privacy changes underway that will positively affect how we can improve internet advertising and currently implementing new, better and safer strategies. Here is a quick bit of info on what we are going to be doing at the Web Advertising Business Group. Great news for SEO Inc clients as we will be the first agency to adopt the changes. Again SEO Inc paving the way as the leaders in Internet Marketing and have been for over 20 years!
Now, this is old news!
The fact that Google is working toward a mobile-first index in its search engine results should come as no real surprise. The mobile first index will pump-out mobile versions of web pages rather than the desktop version. Google is making the change as a result of their Consumer Barometer Study that shows mobile internet usage crossed 50% in all 63 countries for the first time. From a user perspective, Google has shared that there are now more searches on mobile devices than desktop in many countries. This switch will have ranking implications for many websites… so now is the time to make sure you are ready you can get more info on our Mobile Optimization here.
What is the Mobile-First Index?
Google’s index has been based on crawling on both desktop and separates mobile site pages using a desktop user-agent. The index has been built on the desktop versions and is ranking web pages separate for mobile website pages based on their desktop equivalents. Google is making the switch because there are more mobile searchers than desktop searchers.
Why Does it Matter to Me?
The majority of your searchers are likely using a mobile device such as a tablet or a smartphone to look at your website. This is especially the case if you are a restaurant, entertainment, or service based business that people are searching for while they’re already on the road. Frequent searches include “near me” at the end because people are looking for things that are already close to where they are. If you’re not ready for this, you could be missing out on a great deal of foot traffic.
It also matters because if you’re not ready for mobile, then you could see a change in your overall ranking since Google made mobile-friendliness a ranking factor back in 2014.
Mobile-First isn’t Mobile Only
Though it is likely that mobile-compatible pages will rank in the index over your desktop pages, it’s worth noting that just because Google is going mobile-first, doesn’t mean it is mobile-only. Desktop pages will still be in the index, which means they will be crawled and indexed as they always have been, as long as they aren’t duplicating other pages. The duplicate pages are still filtered out before indexing starts anyway. The pages must always pass Google’s index inclusion quality thresholds, too. If they don’t, Google will pass them over.
Start with the Mobile-Friendly Test
Take a look at your website through the eyes of Google. Use the Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see if your current design is mobile-friendly. All you have to do is enter your URL in the testing tool and get suggestions for improvements. If you are already mobile-friendly, you don’t have to do much, but you can still make improvements for speed and usability.
A quick and easy way to get to the Mobile-Friendly Test is to Google the phrase “is my website is mobile friendly?” and the tool is there right in the search engine results.
Look at the Mobile Usability Report in the Google Search Console
Once you know your site is mobile-friendly, it’s time to take a look at it in your Google Search Console. Look for the Mobile Usability report.
This is not what you want to see:
It’s a good thing if you see this:
Ultimately, this is what you want:
Make Sure You Have a Responsive Design
If you don’t already have a responsive design – that is a design that automatically adjusts to the device that the website is visited from – you should make the switch as soon as possible. This way, you don’t have to operate a desktop version and a mobile version of your website. You can make changes one time, rather than changing both versions of the site. Many WordPress themes are already responsive today. There are also plugins to make your website responsive if you’re not in a position where you can do a complete makeover of your website with a new theme or design.
There’s no real reason to stress the change over to the mobile-first index because Google has been making changes gradually over the past few years. They’ve also stated that the switch shouldn’t cause a dramatic change in your site’s current ranking. As long as you are focused on generating quality content and have your website optimized for speed and responsiveness, you should be fine.
Are you looking forward to the mobile-first index? Why or why not?