Google has traditionally been a desktop first index, meaning the version of your website that was displayed on a visitor’s desktop computer was considered to be the primary version of your website and as such, was responsible for your search engine rankings.
“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.” ~ Google
Google officially started slowly rolling out mobile-first indexing in March 2018, cautioning webmasters not to panic:
“Sites that are not in this initial wave don’t need to panic. Mobile-first indexing is about how we gather content, not about how content is ranked. Content gathered by mobile-first indexing has no ranking advantage over mobile content that’s not yet gathered this way or desktop content. Moreover, if you only have desktop content, you will continue to be represented in our index.” ~ Google
What will Mobile-First Indexing Mean for your Practice?
Google has been telling us for a while now that our mobile site might be affecting our search results through loading speed and “mobile friendliness” ratings. Sometime in the near future, the mobile version of our site is going to be considered the primary version of our website, will have a huge impact on our rankings, and will be the version of our site that many, if not most, visitors will see.
Have you checked the mobile version of your site lately?
At the very least, bring up your site on your mobile phone and go through the individual webpages and a couple of blog articles to make sure that everything is formatted properly, loads quickly, and that text blocks are legible.
Additionally, you should:
- Make sure that all important content that appears on your desktop site is included on the mobile version as well.
- Check to see that the mobile version of your site is loading fast and that the pages are considered “mobile friendly.”
- Make sure that images are re-formatting to fit the smaller screen.
- Make sure that all buttons and links are large enough to click on a mobile screen.
- Make sure that any “intrusive interstitials” (i.e. popups) are removed from the mobile version of your website.
Many website designers design your site as a desktop website and rely on the theme to automatically design your mobile site. Next time you have a site build, make sure the designer is paying at least as much attention (if not more) to your mobile design.
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