Google Starts Mobile First Indexing

Mobile first rankingGoogle has begun experimenting with using mobile content as their primary factor for ranking. This is big news, especially for those websites that are still lacking when it comes to producing mobile content.  What Google plan on doing is using mobile first indexing. This means they will no longer be using the desktop version for when there isn’t a mobile version and as a result, your rankings could fall dramatically.

Google announced they would be making this move over 12 months ago, but the first details have now been shared over on their official blog.

The Highest Amount of Google Searches Now Takes Place on Mobile Phones

Google has more users using their mobile to search on Google than desktop searches. However, Google is still using desktop versions to decide on a page’s ranking. Obviously, with the shift in user behaviour, Google is now aware that ranking signals now need to be moved to the mobile versions in order to provide users with the best experience.

Google will begin looking at the mobile content, the links and the structured data of the mobile version of your website where there is one available.  Google plan on continuing to use a single index of apps and websites, they do plan on moving to making the mobile version the primary source of ranking websites in the future.  However, they do state that they are committed to providing users with the best experience whether they’re using desktop or mobiles.

Desktop Sites Will Still Be Indexed

Google did say that desktop sites will still be indexed, even when using the mobile user agent. Providing your website is responsive and that it dynamically changes depending on the device that is being used there is no need to panic.  In fact, if your site is dynamic or responsive you may not have to do anything. If not,  there are a few things you can do to prepare for the planned changes roll out.

  • Change your website to a responsive or dynamic serving site.
  • If the content on your website is different for your desktop and mobile visitors you will need to make some changes. These changes include
    • Both mobile and desktop versions need to serve structured markup. You can test this by using this Google tool and typing in the URLs of each version to compare.
    • Don’t use lots of irrelevant markup when adding structured data to the mobile version of your site.
    • Ensure your mobile site is accessible to Googlebot by using this tool from Google.
  • Add the mobile version of your website to Search Console and verify it.

Mobile First Indexing Roll Out Dates to Be Announced

Google is currently testing and experimenting with mobile first indexing on a small scale. The testing will take place over several months and no date has been given for a permanent change. They do plan on rolling out mobile first indexing once they’re able to ensure their users will have the best user experience.

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