Understanding What Mobile-First Indexing Is And Why You Need To Prioritise It
A couple of months ago, Google announced that they would be completing their switch to mobile-first index in September this year. When the Internet giant first began sending alerts to website owners at the start of 2020, it set the expectation that this process would be complete within six to 12 months. Specific organisations then predicted this deadline to be more on the later line of the mentioned time frame.
Now, to maintain their search rankings, site owners should prioritise getting their sites ready for comprehensive mobile-first indexing. Google has been prioritising this aspect since 2016. Today, more than 70% of all websites have transferred over, which also means the end of the mobile-first indexing project is in sight.
Understanding What Mobile-First Indexing Is
Many sites have two versions: Desktop and mobile. Since these are entirely separate versions, for very long search engines including Google, identified, indexed, and then ranked sites based on their desktop versions. For the most part, in the history of the Internet, algorithms have mainly focused on desktop versions of websites, where a significant portion of the activity happened.
But as people became increasingly mobile, searches started shifting to mobile devices; it meant that prioritising websites’ mobile versions made much more sense. Towards the end of 2019, 52.6% of website traffic originated from mobile devices. That is a significant jump when compared to the fact that up until five years ago, that figure stood at 31%.
Today, Google indexes and ranks sites based on the usage and the popularity of their mobile versions. The tech giant has one index, and not separate mobile and desktop ones. Sites with proper mobile enablement (smartphone agent) will be prioritised.
Google enables the mobile-first indexing system for all new or previously unrecognised websites since mid-2019. However, it’s been sending alerts to site owners with websites that they haven’t been able to properly index.
How are business owners impacted?
If your business relies on traffic from your website, it’s crucial to follow all the recommendations mentioned by Google to ensure that your business site is indexable.
This allows the search engine to know what the current engagement levels on your site are, the overall value of the mobile web pages and your website works. Once we reach the Sept 2020 deadline, owners with a compliant website should see minimal/no impact to their site traffic.
Depending on whether your competitors have been as diligent as you have been, you might also notice an increase in the traffic to your site as ones that aren’t accessible will not get indexed.
What Should You As A Business Website Owner Be Doing?
You need to prioritise the mobile version of your website over the desktop version. Ideally, it’s best to ensure that the site version updates are as similar as possible. Things you need to focus on include:
- Verify that the content, metadata and structured data are identical.
- You and your web development experts should have a good understanding of how the tech giant’s algorithm indexes pages and the things it can’t recognise. For instance, the Googlebot will only index data that loads when a viewer taps or swipes on it. If you focus on ungating these aspects of your site’s content, bots will be able to crawl through it.
- Keep in mind that Googlebot cannot index fragment URLs (ones that begin with a ‘/#’ after the subdomain of subdomain).
You can benefit from checking your site for the best mobile practices and full access rather than waiting until you receive a notice from Google.
Mobile-First Indexing – Something To Think About
Mobile is in, and if you want to maintain your rankings in search engines, you need to focus on the mobile-first index aspect. Unfortunately, many people designing new websites continue to create these for desktop PCs. They then attempt to alter them, so they function on mobile devices. Very frankly, is there any logic in that? Why create a site for a dying medium and then try to alter it and make it compatible with new technology?
That’s not how it should be. Instead, why not simply create a site for the devices that most people in the modern-day are using, that will function equally well on desktop? Google hasn’t hidden the fact that mobile-first is crucial. As the number of mobile users in the world billows, the importance of having a site that complies with Google’s mobile-first index is crucial.
The takeaway from this article is that it’s best to build a faster, better website that will work correctly on mobile and desktop. It will help you maintain or even up your rankings on Search engines.
For customized responsive web design services and custom/ template sites, or even CRM automation, and results-driven digital marketing strategies, call Digital Canteen on 02-9025-4304 to discuss your project details. We will get it started as quickly as you want.
Thanks for reading,
Digital Canteen Team