01 Apr Everything you need to know about the Google mobile-first index
What is Google mobile-first index?
Google will create and rank all of its search listings based on the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals.
How is the Mobile-first Index Going to Change the Search Engine Index?
Today more people are searching on mobile devices than ever before and Google now wishes to index for the majority of users, which use mobile devices.
This means that Google is using the mobile version of websites as their primary search engine index. The search engine index is made up of a collection of documents and/or pages that the search engine found, through crawling the internet using links. In the past, Google crawled using a desktop browser point of view but this is going to change as they will crawl the web using the mobile browser view instead, to reflect the fact that the majority of users now use mobile devices for searching.
Changes are going to have to be made to the design of websites and mobile friendly responsive website designs, such as the ones from Titan Blue Australia, are a great way of ensuring your website is going to remain Google friendly by having mobility.
Does This Mean All Websites Should Have A Mobile Version?
Google has been talking about the fact that they want website owners to have a mobile version of their site and the shown the benefits to them doing so. However, those who do not yet have a mobile version of their site need not worry according to Google. The search engine company said that they would continue indexing desktop sites even if they are using the mobile agent to take a look at the website.
Any website owner who has built a mobile version of their website will need to ensure that the links and content on that site are close to the ones on the desktop version of the website to ensure that Google is able to read the proper content and rank the site. If you are unsure of how well your website is going to rank following the changes by Google, you can get a free appraisal of the site and its mobility, with no-obligation from Titan Blue Australia.
A Special Mobile Friendly Ranking System
Google did give warnings that the content that is not seen to be mobile friendly is not going to rank as well and this is going to be the same when the new search index comes into force.
At the moment the index uses the desktop content of the website and this shows the listings to mobile and desktop users. A ranking system that is mobile friendly is also used and this boosts the mobile listings content. This means that any content that is not considered to be mobile friendly is not going to perform as well. At the moment this is the index that the majority of people get results from.
With the new mobile-first index the mobile content is going to be indexed and this will be used for showing search results to mobile users and users of desktop computers. The mobile-friendly boost to rankings will be applied to any pages that are seen to be mobile friendly. People will start to get results from this index as Google slowly rolls it out.
Search Rankings Come From Mobile Version of Site, Not the Desktop Version
In the past, Google has ranked the mobile website based on the desktop website but soon this will change. Going forward Google is going to rank both the mobile website and the desktop based on the signals found when the crawling the website based on the view of the mobile user.
This means that the page loading speed of the mobile website is going to factor into the ranking of both the mobile website and the desktop version of the website in Google searches. It is thought that Google is also going to be paying attention to other things, including, the title, the structured data, H1 tags and other tags, along with content, that comes from the mobile version of the website and take preference of them over the desktop version of the website.
Essentially Google is going to be ranking the desktop results based on the mobile website. Google has realised that the trend is heading more and more towards the use of mobile devices when people view websites and search, they are going to take advantage of this.
Get Ready for the Changes
The change could make a huge difference to how a website ranks in Google searches but Google has given some recommendations to website owners so they can get ready for the changes.
- Site owners who previously verified their site in the Search Console of Google using the desktop version should add the mobile version and get it verified;
- Site owners should use the robots.txt testing tool to ensure that the mobile version of the website can be accessed by the Googlebot;
- Do not add huge amounts of mark-up not relevant to the content of each document when adding structured data on a mobile website;
- Use the structured data testing tool to test the mobile and desktop URLs and compare the output after ensuring you serve the structured mark-up to both mobile and desktop versions of the site;
- If you own a site that is responsive or dynamic and the content and mark-up is mostly the same over both desktop and mobile versions of the site changes should not need making;
- If the site configuration and primary content and mark-up is very different on the desktop and mobile site, changes will need to be made;
- Canonical links do not need to be changed as Google is going to continue to use them to give appropriate results to those making a search on mobile or desktop.
Mobile Friendly Responsive Websites
Website owners are going to have to ensure that they have a mobile version of the website looking ahead and Titan Blue Australia can help owners to ensure that they meet the new guidelines of Google for indexing sites by offering website development. While the changes to the way that Google indexes websites does not mean that you have to totally redesign your website, based on the fact that the mobile version is going to be the one that Google first and foremost takes into account, it could pay in the long run to do just this.