Is Your Website Prepared for Google’s Mobile First Index?

Did you know that Google has begun rolling out their new mobile-first index? This means that Google will be ranking search results based on the mobile version of a site’s content before the desktop version as it currently does. You might be asking yourself why they are making this change and what you need to do for your site to be ready for this new indexing procedure. We will try to answer those questions and more for you here.

Why is Google making this change?
Today, more and more searches are done on a mobile device. Mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic, with more than half of all website traffic worldwide being on mobile phones or tablets. This percentage will continue to grow. The mobile phone has become an integral part of our lives. Google recognizes this and wants to help mobile users find what they’re looking for easier and faster. Thus, the mobile-first index.

What is mobile-first indexing?
Mobile First IndexMobile-first indexing means that Google will start with the mobile version of your website when building their index. It’s important to know that this is mobile-first not mobile-only. Google explains that they will continue to have one single index they will use for search results. They won’t have a “mobile-first index” that’s separate from their main index. Historically, the desktop version was indexed, but increasingly, they will be using the mobile version.

If a site doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop site can still be included in the index. However, the lack of a mobile-friendly experience can negatively impact rankings for the site. You can also think of the mobile version being considered the primary version of your website. So, if your mobile and desktop versions are equivalent (you’ve optimized your content for mobile and/or you use responsive design), there should not be a significant impact in terms of your site’s performance in search results.

What needs to be done with my website?
The answer to this question depends on what type of mobile version you currently have for your website. If your site is responsive, you should already have everything present on your mobile version that is currently part of the desktop version. All you’ll want to do is make sure your mobile site is optimized for page speed, load time and navigation.

If you have a separate mobile site, you’ll want to make sure the mobile version contains everything your desktop site does, and you’ll want to make sure everything is optimized for speed, etc.

If you do not have a mobile version of your website and your desktop version is not mobile-friendly, your content can still be indexed; however, your rankings will start to fall in comparison to mobile-friendly sites. With this in mind as well as the growing percentage of mobile users, now is the time to make sure your website is mobile ready.

How soon do I need to have my site ready for mobile-first indexing?
Google has already started migrating sites over that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing. So, if your site isn’t ready yet, they’ll continue to index the desktop version. However, to optimize the traffic you get to your website, you’ll want to have a mobile version sooner rather than later.

At WebDrafter, we can help you prepare for mobile-first indexing. If you need a mobile site or want a responsive website, we can design it and optimize it for you. If you have more questions about mobile-first indexing and how it will affect your website, feel free to give us a call at 717-589-7812 or contact us.