Why are Google introducing ‘mobile-first’ indexing?
In today’s technology climate, statistics prove that more than 50 percent of search queries globally now officially come from mobile devices. However, whilst mobile search continues to surpass desktop search queries, search engine algorithms haven’t changed all that much in recent times and continue to use the tired and tested formula of crawling and indexing through the desktop version of your website to evaluate the content and it’s relevant to the user search to determine your local search engine ranking positions.
However, with this thought in mind, Google have now openly stated that have now began developments to change this by introducing the first ever mobile-indexing algorithm. As a Cheshire web agency at the forefront of websites, we predict this could have a BIG impact on traffic to many websites… To quote the official statement from Google “although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices”.
What impact will mobile-indexing have on your small business website?
Although Google have openly suggested that this isn’t a permanent update, mobile-indexing is just another small step towards what changes Google have been building over the past few years in creating the best, most accurate, instant mobile search experience possible meaning it’ll only be a matter of time…
You’re probably questioning what impact mobile-indexing could have on your small business website right? Well it depends on which of the following categories your website comes under…
Fully Responsive Website
A fully responsive website will always adapt its layout based on the device it’s being viewed on meaning it will always create a positive user experience without the need for creating or relying on an alternative, mobile version of your website every time. This means that mobile-first indexing will not affect your website in any negative way as Google will already be crawling and indexing pages within your website as optimised for mobile devices. As a matter of fact, Google will rank your website over a non-responsive website meaning you could receive a boost in local search rankings.
You can easily check to see if your website is fully responsive by using the free Google Mobile Friendly Test. If you are unsure what the report means once you have tried the test, don’t be afraid to get in touch with your local Cheshire web agency.
Separate Mobile and Desktop Websites
Historically, having one website to display on desktops then another to display on mobiles was typically where responsive web design evolved from. Known as the ‘separate sites’ approach, both websites will sit under the same domain and would engage with user-server to display either website based on what device they requested to display the website on. Although you are more likely to be favoured over non-responsive websites, mobile-first will still have first priority over this approach and it’s very costly choice as you are effectively running two websites.
A Non Responsive or Mobile Website
Sadly, without a responsive website, good historic content or SEO strategies will go out the window. Google will still rank your website but it’s not going to rank as well as responsive or separate site websites.
How to prepare your website for mobile-first indexing
If you have a fully responsive mobile website, the only thing you really need to check is to make sure the primary content and markup is consistently equivalent across mobile and desktop. What this basically means is this will ensure Google doesn’t penalise your website if the information found doesn’t match the desktop version which would be considered a negative search experience. If you have a responsive website built by your local Cheshire web agency then this will already have been considered when building your website.
For responsive and non-responsive websites alike, it’s always worth checking the following…
- Identify your website is fully responsive by using the free Google mobile test
- Make sure to check using the robots.txt testing tool that Google can fully crawl and index pages on your mobile site without anything getting blocked by submitting a mobile sitemap
- If you are the site owner for separate websites, make sure you add and verify both the desktop and mobile versions of the website in Search Console
- Help Google’s algorithms identify and understand separate mobile URL’s by implementing the correct ‘canonical’ and ‘alternate’ HTML code for the same desktop and mobile pages of your website
So what happens next?
If you happen to be in the middle of upgrading your website to become fully responsive, keep in mind it’s better to have a functioning desktop version of your website than a broken or incomplete version of your mobile website…
However, if you are looking turn your website into a fully responsive one; you have come to the right Cheshire web design agency. As specialises in website rebuilds, we can offer tailor made packages from a full website redesign to a responsive duplicate of your existing website to guarantee your website is fully responsive on all browsers and devices. Why not get in touch with your local Cheshire web design agency to discuss the endless possibilities of turning your website into a fully responsive one in time for the search engine changes. Why not pop into our Knutsford office for a natter or send us a quick email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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