What You Need to Know About Google’s New Mobile-First Index

What You Need to Know About Google’s New Mobile-First Index

Google is adopting to the growing use of mobile devices by shifting to a new mobile-first index. Essentially, it means sites will now be indexed based on how they are viewed from mobile devices rather than desktops. Understanding what putting mobile first will mean to your website can help you know where to focus your online efforts. Take a moment to consider what you’ll need to know to remain competitive and easily accessible to your audience while getting ready for these Google mobile updates.

No Plans to ‘Punish’ Desktop-Designed Sites

With more than half of all searches already coming from a mobile device, Google is simply following the users. However, if you have a site that serves you better when designed from a desktop point of view, Google isn’t going to punish you for not going mobile. All sites will still be evaluated as usual. The only difference is that a mobile agent will do the crawling. The company is rolling out the changes slowly and doing something of a Google mobile test to determine how well it’s working and if any adjustments will be necessary before a full rollout.

Determining How Google Is Viewing Your Site

Do a Google mobile test yourself and find out how Google is viewing your site by using the Render and Fetch tools you’ll find in your Google Search Console. Choose “mobile/smartphone” as your user-agent and view your prefer after running Render and Fetch. You’ll likely see the results similar to what Google’s crawlers are seeing.

No Significant Impact On Rankings

The Google mobile updates aren’t going to have a huge impact on rankings. You’re not likely to suddenly disappear digitally when Google switches fully to a mobile-first indexing system. While there may be some ranking adjustments, don’t expect anything earth-shattering. There are also no plans to make changes to the canonical tags you have in place that tells crawlers which version of your site is the preferred one for ranking purposes.

Considering ‘Hidden’ Content

Content hidden in those expandable boxes (accordions) that allow your site to look nice and neat while still providing access to some extra info will now be considered. As long as whatever it is you place within your expandable boxes has some benefit to visitors to your site, it will now be given full weight towards rankings, which is ultimately a good thing for your site.

An Incentive to Go Mobile Friendly

Google’s mobile shift provides an incentive to be more mobile friendly with the content you present online. If you have a site that hasn’t been updated in a while, use the Google adjustments as an excuse to take a good look at your site from the perspective of a visitor.

Mobile friendly websites are ones that:

  • Provide easy access to navigation features
  • Present useful content without unnecessary extras
  • Is free of excessive “bells and whistles” that can slow page load times
Presenting Two Versions of Your Site

If you’re not ready to ditch the desktop version of your site or it doesn’t make sense for you do so, a popular alternative to having a mobile version of your existing desktop site. Avoid adjustments in your rankings from having two versions of your site by keeping content similar and relevant.

Mobile friendly websites can do more that just appeal to Google’s search engine crawlers. Within the next few years, there will be nearly 5 billion mobile device users worldwide. You’ll definitely want to have a site that appeals to all of the on-the-go consumers out there, especially if the available data from your website that’s accessible via Google Analytics indicates that most of your traffic is coming from mobile sources.

Be prepared for Google’s move towards a mobile-first index by turning to the team at Lucid Advertising for the insights you’ll need to make smart decisions. Contact us today to learn more.