Mobile-first Indexing: What You Need to Know

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Google regularly changes its algorithms, which means that search engine optimisation rankings change too. Google is now focused on the user experience of your website, and how do most users access the internet? Their mobile device. One of the mistakes that businesses regularly make is to focus all their attention on their desktop site, but with most viewings being by mobile users, they are missing a trick and it will affect their Google rankings. You need to make your site mobile user-friendly in terms of navigation, and you need to make mobile access your priority.

Prioritise the Mobile Version of Your Site

The old method of indexing is a system of shared indexing whereby your search engine ranking is primarily determined by your desktop site (although your mobile site does contribute) based on factors like the website quality, its links and how promotional it is. Having a mobile-accessible site used to be a trick to move up in the rankings, but now it’s more essential than ever that your site runs on mobile devices. If the two versions of your site are the same then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem for you, but most sites put more focus on the desktop version. Don’t forget that the exact date of the switchover has yet to be given – all we know now is that it will take place soon.

Don’t Wait to be Left Behind

We don’t yet know precisely how out-of-date desktop indexing will be, but it’s enough at the moment to know that mobile indexing will be prioritised. However, other factors will still be important to your rankings. The mobile version of your site will be severely penalised if it has a loading time that exceeds two or three seconds, and you still need to keep track of your links, the relevance of your content and the general quality of the site. It’s useful to understand Google’s reasoning; mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches, so why would they continue to prioritise desktop indexing?

Take Every Chance to Get Ahead

This might seem like an unnecessary inconvenience for you if you want to keep your site and online business ranking highly without too much input, but ignore it at your peril and use the opportunity to get ahead. This is not a time to be left behind, and if you’ve already invested money into making your desktop site user friendly then the money hasn’t been wasted since you can adapt it to be a high-quality and high-functioning mobile version. Things to look out for include whether you need to ‘reverse-pinch’ the site to read the screen, or your site has popups, or out of scale graphic content. Mobile indexing allows search engine ranking to be more responsive to the experience of users than ever before. If you haven’t accounted for the user experience in this way, and you haven’t yet experienced a drop-in traffic then prepare to, because it’s just around the corner.

Image courtesy of: graphitas.co.uk

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