Google Starts Shift to Mobile-First Indexing

We’ve known for a while now that more people search on mobile devices than on desktop computers. Always prioritizing user experience, Google has responded with the mobile-friendly algorithm, the expansion of Accelerated Mobile Pages, and now with a shift to primarily index mobile pages. The company announced last week that it has begun experimenting on a small scale a mobile-first index and will fully implement this method in the coming months if it proves to provide users with a better online experience.

What Does This Change Mean for Your Website?

In the near future, Google’s algorithms will mainly evaluate the mobile version of your website to rank its pages, interpret structured data, and select rich snippets to show in the search engine results pages. Failure to have a mobile-friendly website could have an unfavorable impact on your website even when it’s viewed from desktop computers. Google will still index your site, but it may not rank as favorably as mobile-friendly sites.

How Can You Prepare for a Mobile-Focused Index?

Ideally, you’ll want to have a responsive or dynamic serving website in which the main content and markup is consistent across mobile and desktop. If your website is configured so that primary content and markup varies from desktop to mobile, use the following checklist to make changes:

  • Align the structured markup for the desktop and mobile versions of your website.
  • Use the Structured Data Testing Tool to ensure your structured markup is consistent across the mobile and desktop versions of your website.
  • Make sure the structured data on your mobile site isn’t superfluous or irrelevant to the content of each page.
  • Check that Googlebot can access your mobile site with the txt testing tool.
  • Verify the mobile and desktop versions of your website in the Search Console.
  • Don’t rush to build a mobile site if it will compromise quality. Only launch a mobile site that you’re confident will satisfy users’ needs.

A Mobile Future

Mobile is clearly the direction the public is heading in the use of online services. More than 65 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and these devices are their primary means of searching the Internet. Google is committed to accommodating users’ mobile needs—and doing the same could help the continued success of your website.

To read Google’s official announcement, click here.

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