Are You Indexed or Rolidexed Prepping for Mobile-First Indexing

Are You Indexed or Rolidexed? Prepping for Mobile-First Indexing

More and more searches are coming through smartphones instead of across a desktop. More than 50% of Google searches are taking place through smartphones on the fly.

Last year, Google rolled out its plan to utilize mobile-first indexing. But just what does that mean? It means that from now on Google will place results in the index based on the mobile version of websites. Is your site prepared?

What is Mobile-First Indexing?

Your website is indexed as Google’s little sitebots crawl round gathering information. What they find determines how your site ranks on search engine results. So. . . . . if you market skincare products, someone searching for “moisturizer” should be able to find you, whereas you shouldn’t show up on a search for “pizza.” Pretty straightforward.

Historically, they’ve based their rankings on what they find on the desktop version of your website. But all that began to change last year when Google started rolling out the practice of focusing on mobile versions, instead.

Your desktop content won’t completely be wiped out of the existing index, but the more relevant and valuable the content on mobile, the more likely it will be to rank well. There won’t be a completely separate index for mobile and desktop. Google is basically just looking to reflect what users are looking for. The current trend is an increase in mobile searches, and a decrease in desktop, so results are more useful to users.

For most, there’s no need to panic, and Google is rolling out these changes gradually.

Who Should Be Concerned?

For many, their site rankings won’t be affected at all, but for some, you may have to do a little tweaking. If your site is responsive and has the same or equivalent content across both mobile and desktop versions, there’s no need to worry about anything.

It’s when things are a bit askew that you should stop and take inventory. If the primary content is different on your mobile version from what your desktop version offers, you should probably consider making changes to update both to be equivalent. The differences may or may not affect you, but it’s worth considering.

Those that should be most concerned are businesses who have no mobile version at all. Google won’t ignore you completely. Their bots will still crawl the desktop version for data, but not having a mobile site may negatively affect your overall rankings, making it more worthwhile for you to ensure you’re attending to both platforms.

What Should You Do?

Aside from making sure that you have a mobile site in the first place, there are a few pointers that we can offer to make sure you’re able to increase your rankings, or at least keep them where they are.

  1. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly. You don’t necessarily need to have a separate mobile website, but your desktop site needs to be very mobile-friendly. If your site adjusts for screen size, for instance, you may not need to change anything. Your site does need to load quickly onto a smartphone and look good. All of your images, videos, and text should be clear and easily visible and not slow the page speed down. The content should also be crawlable by Google’s bots. You can use a testing tool like robots.txt to verify that Googlebot has access to your mobile website.  
  2. Tweak your design a little. Often websites do need a slightly different design to appeal to the mobile audience on a tiny screen. Hamburger or accordion menus work just fine.
  3. Prioritize your mobile site for SEO and other digital marketing efforts. Make sure that your mobile site has as much relevant content as your desktop. What is the user experience like? If you’re positive your site is equivalent across both boards, focus on things like page speed, navigation, and design.

Remember, this is nothing to panic about, and for most, it will only mean making some minor tweaks and changes. But, now is the time to get started planning and testing so you can be sure you’re ready to go when the bots get around to you!