Since its launch in 2016, Google has been giving much emphasis on mobile-first indexing. On 5th March 2020, in its Webmasters Blog, Google published a post which confirmed that now onwards the whole indexing algorithm will be mobile-first.
According to the shared details, all websites will be crawled and indexed according to the mobile-first index algorithm by September 2020 and then onwards.
It clearly indicates the Google has started the progression of moving complete indexing processes to the mobile-first index version.
What you should know about mobile-first indexing?
The first and foremost thing is that Google only has one index. SEO experts and digital marketing experts know this fact, but there are many who are not aware of it.
Till yesterday, Google has been using different bots to crawl the desktop and mobile versions of the sites, but it indexes only one of them. Google would display a mobile page to the mobile user and a desktop page to the desktop version users. However, now onwards, there will be only one Googlebot, which is a mobile crawler and that will be used for all types of pages.
Do you need to care?
This algorithm is going to bring major changes in the ways pages are ranked and served to the searchers. It has become vital for users to focus on their websites to serve mobile users.
Please keep in mind, mobile usability and mobile-first indexing are two different things and you better focus on both of them.
All websites, which are launched after July 1, 2019, are by default mobile-first indexed. For the rest, it depends on Google that it has indexed the desktop version or mobile-first version. As mentioned earlier, only one of the versions would be indexed and shown to both, mobile and desktop users. However, now, as per the recent announcement, only the mobile version of the site will be indexed and served. By September 2020, all sites will be mobile-first indexed and then continue the same way. There is no way to opt-out.
It means if your site is not mobile-friendly, then your users will see that messed up version even on the desktop. Regardless of the fact, you cater to the desktop or mobile users or both of them, you have to have a mobile-friendly website.
Top tips to get benefited from mobile-first indexing:
First of all, keep this in mind, all the updates brought up by Google is for good for all. Google wants to give the most suitable results to its users. If your website ranks at the top and searchers come as visitors to your website, then you are going to get visitors who are more likely to get converted. In a nutshell, it will help you increase CTR, leads, lead conversion, and all other success KPIs.
Now, coming back to the main point, how to take advantage of mobile-first indexing or at least not getting hurt by it. Below are the top tips compiled from the experienced SEO specialists that you can follow:
1. Make your website responsive.
This is the first step. You have to have a responsive website that delivers the same experience to all users of all different devices.
Now, based on this one and only tips, there are some more SEO tips that you must keep in mind:
2. Test your site for mobile friendliness
There are many tools that let you test the site to see how user friendly it is to the mobile users. You can also use the speed test and search console tools given by Google itself. Keep the site load time minimum possible on the mobile devices along with desktops.
3. Add both desktop and mobile versions in search console
I would say you better not keep two different versions: one for desktop and another for mobile. You better make a single website that is responsive so it caters to all device users. Still, if you have a different version for mobile, then add and verify both, mobile and search versions of your site.
If you need expert help to make your website ready for the mobile-first indexing, contact us.
Ashvini (Ash) Vyas has 12+ years of practical experience in digital marketing and international business development. She has written 100s of articles on various topics to live her passion of helping people with her knowledge and expertise. In addition to directing Digital Marketers India, Ash also delivers keynote sessions and holds key positions in some international companies as a consultant, director of operations and mentor.