Dare I say it but I’m sure many business owners believe that Google Mobile First Indexing and SEO are terms that should never see the light of day outside of their IT departments.
And that’s assuming they have actually heard of them. But like toothache and your wedding anniversary, they are ignored at your peril.
The world is changing fast. And so is business, or at least the way businesses interact with customers. Whether we like it or not, having a decent presence on the internet is vital nowadays, even more so is having an effective mobile website design.
So if mobile first indexing is just technical gobbledygook to you, please read on and I’ll try to explain it in layman’s terms.
Google Mobile First Indexing
You may not have fully embraced modern technology but you can’t fail to have noticed how many people are glued to their mobile phones nowadays. It was only in the mid-2000s that accessing the internet via mobiles became widely available.
Try looking at your website, which may have been designed years ago, via your desktop computer and then via a mobile. It will look different on a mobile. Some content may not be visible. Navigation may be more difficult.
As more and more people are searching on their mobiles, Google decided last year to start putting more weight behind mobile-friendly websites. If less data is visible on mobiles, your website will slip down the rankings.
What is Mobile First Indexing?
Mobile First Indexing is where Google will primarily use the mobile version of your website and its content to index and rank your web pages. The reason it is called ‘Mobile First’ is because Google will first look at indexing a mobile site.
That doesn’t mean only mobile sites will be indexed. If there is a certain page on your site that isn’t working on mobile, or isn’t mobile-friendly, Google will review your desktop website and rank that specific page instead. This will also take place across a whole website if the mobile-site is unfriendly to the user.
So basically, Google is starting to prioritise mobile-versions of websites for indexing and rankings in the search engine.
How To Prepare For Mobile First:
Firstly, it’s important not to worry and get stressed about the idea of mobile first. A few, simple mobile-optimisation techniques will help ensure your prepared.
- It’s essential you have good content on your mobile website. The content on your mobile site compared to your desktop site can be completely different. It can be thinner and not contain the same focus keywords and phrases as the desktop site. If you don’t carry across the content from the desktop to the mobile site, you would risk losing rankings and therefore losing traffic and conversions.
- You also want to ensure that the metadata is the same throughout both sites as well.
- Markup such as Open Graph Data and Twitter Cards should be on the mobile website as well. This is because if Google is now indexing the mobile website, it will pick up that this data is not on the website and you could suffer from this. It’s all set up the same way as the desktop so this shouldn’t be an issue to do if you need it done.
- Adding and verifying your mobile site and not just your desktop site to Google’s Search Console (Webmaster Tools) is a good way to monitor your mobile site.
- When your site has been switched, be sure to monitor the site and review rankings and changes in your SEO statistics. Rankings may drop but they will recover in due time.
- Some websites have already been switched to mobile first indexing. The way you can find out whether you have been switched is by looking in your messages in the Google Search Console. You will also receive an email saying you have been switched. This can happen at any time to preparation is key.
- It’s also important your mobile-website speed is good.
Those are a few points for preparing for the switch to mobile first but optimisation across the mobile site is something to act on.