So, what is mobile-first indexing?The term “mobile-friendly indexing” is self-explanatory, and you can probably guess what it means. For anyone who struggles, mobile-friendly indexing implies that Google will now use the mobile version of your website as the starting point for indexing within their system. The mobile version will now determine ranking, and so you should notice an increase in traffic from the Smartphone Googlebot on your site during the next few months. Google will also ensure that it uses your mobile site for any cached versions of web pages.In instances where the website does not have a mobile version, Google will still index using the desktop alternative. That is why the concept is called “mobile-first indexing” rather than “mobile-only indexing.” However, it’s critical that all business owners, webmasters, and marketing professionals understand that the lack of a mobile-friendly version of the site could adversely impact rankings. With a bit of luck, you knew that already.Up until recently, the desktop version of your site interested Google more than the mobile-friendly platform. Your mobile site was considered an alternative URL, and it didn’t have a vast amount of impact when it came to rankings. The situation has turned on its head, and now mobile sites have become the primary target for crawling and indexing processes.So, what does that mean for you? Well, SEOs in the past would often place emphasis on the desktop versions of their websites. That is where they would add tags, backlinks, and keywords to ensure they achieve the best possible ranking. If your website is responsive, Google is going to test for various screen sizes from dozens of phones, tablets, and desktop screens. Check out the tests that can help determine your sites mobile health direct from Google below. Following the announcement from Google about mobile-first indexing, it is sensible for people in your position to put extra effort into making sure their mobile sites also contact all the same SEO elements.
Search console verificationMost business owners and marketers only bother to verify the desktop version of their site in Google Search Console. With the recent changes in mind, it is now sensible to ensure you monitor the crawl errors for mobile devices and other structure data issues. While it’s not clear what effect it might have if you ignore that advice, there is a reasonable chance that, yet again, it would make it harder for you to rank in the desired positions.
What if I don’t have a mobile version of my website?Don’t panic if you only publish a desktop version of your website at the moment because you have more than enough time to launch a new mobile alternative. If your site looks fine on your mobile phone and it is not zoomed out, chances are your site might already have a mobile responsive version. However, if you decide you don’t want to do that, Google will continue to index the desktop version of your website. It’s just that you might struggle when it comes to competing for rankings with other companies in your industry that provide a mobile-friendly experience. As there are hundreds of free WordPress themes that include responsive designs these days, it’s not like you need to spend a fortune to get a mobile version of your site off the ground. Sure, it’s sensible to employ professional web designers, but there are alternatives if money is tight.
What if my desktop site is bigger than my mobile version?There are some instances in which companies publish simplified and watered down versions of their site for mobile users. This is not longer a best practice and mobilegeddon should have prompted webmaster to act. That could mean the company has thousands of indexed pages from their desktop website, but only a handful from the one people see when they access the internet using their smartphones. As you can imagine, when Google makes the switch, those firms could lose many of their indexed pages. At the very least, they are going to move down in the rankings. So, what do you do about that?Well, Google is not going to remove all the pages from your desktop site straight away. However, at some point in the future, the search engine giant plans to focus on crawling mobile websites rather than their desktop counterparts. You should prepare for that by making sure you add all essential elements to your mobile site in advance. Ensure you use valuable and useful content, and it should rank well in the positions where your desktop links used to appear. Many experts have speculated there would be 2 versions of the search engines which has yet to materialize. From now on, it’s time to work towards building a mobile version that contains everything your customers and clients need to know.
Will Google treat separate mobile websites and responsive sites the same?Mainly yes. The main difference between companies and professionals that operate separate sites rather than responsive versions of their desktop website relates to the amount of work they have to undertake. The best thing about using responsive web themes is that your mobile site will already contain all the same content as the one people access from their laptops. That means you shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time adding new content and bringing your mobile version up to speed. Those with separate mobile versions of their domains might have to dedicate a lot of time and effort to ensure they contain all the right information before Google makes mobile-first indexing commonplace.So, the best thing website owners and entrepreneurs can do right now is to switch to a responsive theme and beat the gun. It could be a few months before Google makes mobile-first indexing standard practice, and so you have more than enough time to put preparations in place that will make your life easier further down the line.Now you know everything about the ins and outs of Google’s mobile-first indexing plans, it’s time to use the information to tip the scales of balance in your favor and ensure you don’t lose out to the competition when the time comes. The fact that you bothered to read this article to the bottom suggests that you are committed to making sure Google’s changes do not cause adverse effects on your website or business. Hopefully, you are now ahead of the game, and so the chances of you getting this process right while your competitors fail are high. Who knows? Maybe mobile-first indexing could help you to steal the lion’s share of your market in a few months?
Test your site and find out if it is mobile-ready here: