Google acknowledged the mobile revolution that was building and after careful testing and experimentation has successfully rolled out mobile-first indexing this year. As the mobiles have been dominant where people often use Google on their mobile devices rather than desktops and Google’s ranking systems previously revolved around desktop this change was bound to happen. The transformation to mobile-first indexing does not create a new “mobile-first” index and definitely doesn’t signify that there is a new “mobile-index” along with the “desktop-index”. Instead, it changes how content is added to the already breathing index.
Mobile first indexing is precisely what it sounds like. It means that Google will chiefly look upon the mobile version of your site for ranking it on Google (it includes both the mobile and desktop versions). So in case you have a website perfected for mobile, you have higher chances of ranking well both on mobile and desktop. Also, the rankings might plummet if the site is not in accordance and doesn’t perform well on mobile.
What does the mobile-first index favors?
Mobile-friendliness means that people should be easily able to load all pieces of content available on your page, without having to zoom and scroll they can access the content and engage with the buttons and links smoothly that lie on your webpage. Generally, it looks for the following features:
Responsive design: A site designed in such a manner that it can transform depending upon the size of screen it is viewed on.
User-friendliness on a mobile device: The buttons and links should be easy to click on and hard to miss.
Site speed: Mobile performance is hugely affected by the loading speed of the pages.
Acceptable interstitials or no pop-ups at all forcing your client to click the back button.
Other than looking nice and providing easy navigation a good mobile site should display well on mobile device. Having a mobile-friendly content will be helpful for those looking forward to doing better in mobile search results.
How can you make your site suitable for mobile-first indexing?
First of all, stop overthinking and hitting the panic mode as a result. This change is being rolled out gradually to websites considered “ready” enough by Google to have a necessary impact. In its official Google Webmaster blog, Google stated that if your site is responsive or have nearly identical desktop and mobile versions you may not need to do anything special.
But provided you have a different mobile website you should take into account the following factors:
Content: Ensure all the high-quality, valuable content which includes images, videos, and texts that exists on your desktop site is also present on your mobile site. Affirm that the formats used are crawlable and indexable.
Metadata: The titles and meta descriptions should be the same across both versions. You may want to optimize your mobile titles but don’t forget to use the same information and relevant keywords.
Structured data: Both the versions should have same structured data markup. The mobile version of the URL should be those shown within the structured data of mobile pages.
Hreflang: If you make use of hreflang for internationalization (when your website has content in many languages) make sure your mobile URL’s hreflang annotations point to the mobile version of your country and desktop URL’s point to the desktop version.
Social Metadata: It is important to ensure that the social metadata is identical in both the mobile version and desktop
App indexation: Make sure that you verify the mobile version of your site if you already have app indexation setup for your desktop website.
Switchboard tags: Implement mobile switchboard tags, and if you already have it implemented then you do not worry.
Search console verification: If your desktop site is verified in Google Search Console, make sure you also add and test your mobile site.
Server capacity: If your mobile version is on a separate host comfort to it that the host servers have the ability to handle large crawl rate.
Google consistently tries to bring something new to the table, and since it designs their index, it is pivotal for your business that you make the mobile updates as per its guidelines. Before making any changes to your website because of the many assumptions floating around, be aware of always referring to Google. Since most of the searches were made on mobile, Google decided to make this move to improve the user experience. Such that when a user types in a query, it can respond faster with relevant result.
Google makes use of web crawlers to look into the database or index and then creates the index by saving pages. Earlier, the index was customised as maximum users operated on the desktop. Now, it will serve mobile. The information and tactics above will help you be on the same page with Google for its continued Mobile-First rollout. In the meantime, make your mobile experience the first preference while Digitalabs continue to keep you up to date with the latest trends and news flooding the market to ensure you always have your ducks in a row.