Have You Heard About Google’s Mobile-First Index?
Google is working on some big changes to how they rank websites in their colossal search engine. Which begs the question, what can you do to make sure your website maintains its position? Or better yet, how can you leverage these changes to get ahead of competitors from a search perspective?
What is the mobile-first index?
For a long time now, Google has been ranking websites based on the desktop experience they provide to users. But recent studies show that over 55% of website traffic is coming from mobiles – a trend only expected to grow. So Google is making some changes. The mobile-first index is a major shift in Google’s algorithm whereby a website’s mobile content will be under analysis instead of its desktop content.
What does this mean for your website?
Google is fully aware of the gravity of this change and its potential impact on any business with a website, so they’ll be rolling out changes to their algorithm slowly and carefully. That being said, nobody wants to see their website gradually falling off the first page of Google, and then the second, and so forth.
To make sure your website is protected against these changes, Google wrote up a short guide to preparing for the mobile-first index. The main points in this guide are that;
- If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
- If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
What do you need to do?
As per the points above, if your website doesn’t feature responsive design (as in, content doesn’t display properly on mobile devices) you need to hire web experts who can fix that. Yesterday.
Some websites are designed to show only a portion of a website’s desktop content on mobile – which means only some of your previous SEO efforts will be effective in the mobile-first index. And that would be a massive waste. Make sure you hire a web developer who can gear all of your site’s content to optimising your search results.
That being said, Google have made it clear that a functional desktop-version of a website will still rank higher than a broken or poorly-built mobile-version. So this isn’t an area to skimp on. Hire a web developer who can do your website justice.
What if you already have responsive design?
In Google’s guide to preparing for the mobile-first index, they recommend making a few additional changes beyond incorporating responsive design. Firstly, make sure you verify the mobile version of your website with Google’s search console. This is a super simple step that won’t take up much of your time.
Secondly, adding relevant structured data to your website will make a big difference to how Google ranks your site. We’ll be writing a blog post on this soon, but here’s some info to get started with.
Need help from an SEO expert?
With search engines making constant changes and improvements, there’s no sugar-coating the fact that SEO isn’t easy to master. If you need some (or a lot of) help, our SEO experts will conduct a complete audit of your website, and devise a strategy accordingly. Get in touch with the Lance Montana team to get started.