How will the Shift to Google Mobile First Indexing affect your Website?
There has been enough turbulence over the past year with the release of Penguin 4.0 update and the propagation of AMP project. To continue the same, Google has now announced that it may soon shift its search engine index from the desktop version of a website to its mobile version.
Speaking at Pubcon, on 13th October, 2016, Gary Illyes from Google made this announcement. This will be a huge change for the digital marketing industry. The result of this change would be that Google would create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content instead of desktop version, even for those shown to desktop users.
Furthermore, this mobile index will become the primary index of Google.
How will this change affect various website owners?
- 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.
- Although Google keeps on insisting to have a mobile version of your website, if you still don’t have one then it will continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.
- If you have a site configuration where primary content and markup are different across mobile version and desktop version of your website, you should consider making some changes in your site.
- You should also confirm to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version of your website. When you are adding structured data to a mobile site, you should avoid adding large amounts of markup that is irrelevant to the specific information content of each page.
Google also aides that sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile websites by typing the URLs of both versions into their Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output. You may use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
- Google will continue to use Canonical links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile. Therefore, there is no need to make any changes in these links.
- You should check the mobile version of your website page-wise to ensure that each page is mobile friendly. According to Google, if you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It is better to build up your mobile website completely and check it first and then launch it.
This switch of page indexing from desktop to mobile certainly isn’t unexpected. Definitely, this switch will shake up the SEO world. But currently, as mentioned above, Google search’s mobile first indexing still remains in the phase of testing and experimentation. But sometime soon, within months, it will fundamentally change the algorithms of search engine’s robots to analyze websites.
How to make sure that your mobile website Ranks in Google’s mobile-first indexing?
- If you don’t have a mobile website, create one.
- Make sure you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site.
- Don’t skimp on content.
- Try to keep the same content for both — mobile version and desktop versions of your website.
- Check your site configuration and serve structured markups for both the sites.
- Don’t make any changes in canonical links.
- Re-check all the pages for mobile friendliness of your Mobile Website.
- Make sure that your mobile site speed is fast with minimal delays. Using AMP pages is always preferable.
We have been anticipating such a change for quite some time now because of supremacy of mobile searching. Do you want to cope up with these constant search engine changes? Check out our mobile website SEO and website design and development services. Contact us and learn more about what we can do for your company.