By Nick Rojas
In 2015, Google revealed that more people were conducting searches on their mobile devices than on computers. Because mobile searches have become so popular, Google has made several adjustments to its algorithm to enhance the experience of the mobile user. One of these changes involves the use of “mobile-first indexing,” which could significantly impact your business’s SEO.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
As its name suggests, mobile-first indexing means Google will use the mobile version of your website to determine your ranking in the search results.
It’s important to note that it’s called mobile-first indexing and not mobile-only indexing. This means if you do not have a mobile version of your website, the desktop version of your website can still appear in the search results.
How does it work? If you have a mobile website, Google will determine the ranking of both your mobile and desktop website based on solely the mobile website. If you do not have a mobile website, Google will determine your ranking based on the desktop version instead. However, Google could penalize you for not having a mobile-friendly website.
How Will Mobile-First Indexing Affect SEO?
In the past, Google always considered the desktop version to be the primary version of your website. Because of this, marketers focused all of their SEO efforts on the desktop website. However, it’s completely different now with mobile-first indexing. Google will now consider the mobile version of your website to be the primary version. If the mobile version of your website is not optimized, this could impact your ranking, even if your desktop version is optimized.
What Should You Do About Mobile-First Indexing?
Google has reassured businesses that if their website is responsive, meaning it will adjust to the screen size of the device used to access it, there’s no need to make any changes if you are satisfied with your current ranking. If your mobile website is completely separate from your desktop website, you will need to make a number of changes to ensure you don’t disappear in the search results.
Make sure the mobile website has just as much valuable content as the desktop website. There’s no point in stuffing your desktop website full of content and leaving the mobile site bare since the mobile site is what Google will use to determine your ranking. The content should contain relevant keywords, headers, images, and videos. You should also check the metadata used on your mobile website. It doesn’t need to be identical to the metadata used on the desktop version, but it should be similar in nature and contain the same keywords.
Be sure to access the mobile website using various smartphones and tablets to check the loading time of each page. Google penalizes websites that load slowly, so this could affect your ranking.
Although Google’s mobile-first indexing announcement took the industry by surprise, there’s no reason to panic. As long as you make the necessary adjustments to your website as soon as possible, your website will not drop in the search results rankings as a result of Google’s new algorithm.
Nick Rojas combines 20 years of experience working with and consulting for small to medium business and a passion for journalism to help readers grow. He writes about technology, marketing, and social media for the aspiring entrepreneur. When Nick is not sharing his expertise, he can be found spending time at the beach with his dog Presto. Twitter:@NickARojas.