Google finally and officially announced on March 26th that they’re rolling out mobile first indexing. This change was probably inevitable from the first day mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic in 2015, but not everyone is happy about it. Lots of people are understandably worried about how this indexing change will affect websites that aren’t mobile-optimized. We’ll try to break it down for you.
What Is Mobile First Indexing?
Google is not creating a new index based solely from data gathered from mobile websites. They are changing how the data is retrieved.
The Old Way
Formerly, and by default, Google favored the desktop experience of a web user. They crawled the desktop site, ranked the site and showed a snippet based on the desktop index. Data was subsequently collected by the secondary mobile crawler, examined and used to adjust the site’s ranking. Weighting was given to the desktop site.
One of the problems caused by the desktop first indexing occurred when the information shown in the snippet didn’t appear on the stripped-down mobile version of the site. A bad user experience was created when the information the user was expecting to find wasn’t there—and we all know about Google’s focus on providing a good user experience.
The New Mobile Frontier
Google will crawl, index and rank the mobile version of your site first. When a mobile-friendly option isn’t available, the desktop version will be indexed. The overall mobile experience determines ranking.
The idea is that most of the world now learns, shops, and communicates through a much smaller viewport, and your website shouldn’t be providing limited or unhelpful information to a user simply because of the device they’re using at the moment.
How Will My Website be Affected?
That depends. Google has been wrestling with the problem for quite a while, understanding many websites are not fully (or at all) mobile-friendly. However, responsiveness matters and if it wasn’t clear enough already, Google is strongly encouraging fully mobile-friendly websites.
If You Have a Responsive Website: You’re in good shape. Smartphone users view all the same information as desktop users, optimized for a smaller screen.
If You Have a Separate Mobile Version or Mobile App: You need to make sure smartphone users are finding what they’re looking for. Are they missing out on some of your best content? Some substantial changes may be needed to provide a quality user experience.
If Your Website is Not Mobile-Friendly: Your smartphone users are currently not being shown your website’s best face and your rankings are likely already suffering for it. You shouldn’t experience a sudden plunge after the recent announcement, but you’re on a steady downward trend simply because the majority of users are viewing your website with a smartphone and mobile-friendliness is a large ranking factor.
Don’t Shortchange Yourself and Your Website
Owners of responsive websites have an advantage over those who don’t. It’s that simple. If your website isn’t responsive and you currently have a high ranking, congrats. You’re a unicorn! However, technology is always advancing and there’s no indication people will stop researching and shopping with their mobile devices. The internet is super-competitive and your competitors are hungry for your business.
At BXP Creative, we build all of our websites, from basic informational WordPress sites to fully-customized ecommerce platforms, to be fully mobile-friendly and responsive. Our mission is simple: to make you stand out on the web.
All of our services, ranging from web development to SEO, print and digital design, web design, social media management, content creation and more, are designed to reduce the overhead and stress of the agency experience by providing creative, affordable solutions.
How is the change to mobile first indexing affecting your website? Contact us for a free SEO site audit, including a review of the mobile version of your website.
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