Google Announces Mobile First Indexing

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Google has recently announced that they are moving to a mobile first indexing system which means that the mobile version of website pages is going to become critically important  because it's this version that will be used to rank and display your site in the search results. 

We discuss what this means and the implications for your business.

Over the last few years,  various reports have been talking about how mobile device usage is exceeding desktop usage in various areas including e-commerce and apps.

In organic search, Google announced way back in May 2015 that more searches were conducted on mobile than desktop.

Most recently, global internet monitoring firm Statcounter released their own data showing that Mobile & Internet tablet usage exceeded desktop for the first time worldwide.

Chart showing internet usage on mobile exceeding desktop
Internet Usage Worldwide

 

Because of the growing importance of mobile usage, Google has announced that they are transitioning to a mobile first indexing of the web.

What does Mobile First Indexing Mean?

Simply put, Google's 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.

If the content that appears in the mobile version of the index is poor quality or incomplete this will impact your rankings and how your content appears in the search results.

Implications of Mobile First Indexing

In short what this means is:

  1.  The mobile version of a site’s content will be used to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in the search results.
  2. If you have a mobile responsive website where the one version of a page is included in both desktop and mobile versions of the index, you don't need to make any changes
  3. If you have a mobile version of your site that sit's on an m.domain.com where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, then you will need to start making changes to your site.  According to this post on TheSemPost,  because most m. sites do have different content from the desktop version, if the mobile version of each page has less content, those pages could lose their rankings for long tail keywords for content that only appears on the desktop version of the page and not the mobile one.
  4. Sites that have removed rich structured data from the mobile version, i.e. Rich snippets such as ratings and reviews etc, to improve load times, will need to add that back to the mobile page, otherwise,  they will eventually lose those rich snippets once Google changes over to the mobile first index.

For more information check out the announcement below and a comprehensive post from The SEM Post.

https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2016/11/mobile-first-indexing.html?m=1

https://www.thesempost.com/details-googles-mobile-first-indexing-change/