Google has only one index of pages used by searchers at the moment. This index is based on the indexing of desktop sites. When a person searches on Google, Google’s algorithm looks at the database of indexed desktop pages and puts together ranking. Search Engine then uses a separate crawler to gather mobile-related signals to adjust rankings for mobile searchers. Using a single desktop index has caused numerous issues for searchers. According to recent studies, mobile usage is exceeding desktop usage mainly in e-commerce and apps. In early November, Google has announced that mobile-first indexing will be preferred over indexing of desktop pages.
What is the Mobile-First Index?
In the digital world, mobile searches have been on the rise. In fact, mobile searches have now surpassed desktop searches in numbers. So Google decided that they want to its index and search engine results to represent mobile users first — which is the majority of their users.
So, now with this mobile-first index, Google has started to use the mobile version of the web as the primary search engine index. In other words, Google is now primarily crawling the web from a mobile browser view.
Do You Have a Mobile Site?
Ideally, you should have a mobile website. Google wants you to have one. However, if you do not have a mobile website, it will crawl your desktop website instead.
You will eventually need to have a fully functional mobile website. But, at this stage, Google wants you to have a proper desktop website instead of a broken mobile website. If you don’t have a website yet, or you want to upgrade your website, you can always contact us, and check our web design thailand price.
Make Both Versions of Your Website Similar
If your desktop website has more content than the mobile version of your website, then it may become a problem. Google will just see your mobile website with less content.
Ideally, both your desktop website and mobile website should have similar contents. A responsive website approach works best here.
Will Google Have Different Indexes for Mobile and Desktop?
Eventually, Google plans to have only one index, one which is based on mobile content, to serve listings for both mobile and desktop users. During this rollout period, there will be two: desktop-first and mobile-first. A smaller group of users will get results out of the mobile-first index. It’s not something that anyone will be able to control. People will likely have no idea which index they’re actually using.
As Google grows confidence in the mobile-first index, eventually that will be the only index used. Or if the new index isn’t deemed useful, Google could go back to a desktop-first index. It has, after all, called the mobile-first index an “experiment.”
Google said in their blog post:
“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.”
Paul Haahr from Google reiterated it by saying,:
“Index of mobile pages for mobile users and index of desktop pages for desktop users won’t happen.”
Optimize Your Website’s Design
The design of your website will play a major role in how users interact with it. It also plays a role in the ranking of your website. Optimizing your website for devices such as phones and tablets is important whether it is a responsive website or separate from your desktop website.
Be sure to:
- Get rid of flash images. These can’t be viewed on devices with small screens such as smartphones.
- Consider how users on tablets and phones use your website and design to make interaction easier. Since many rely on their fingers to scroll and tap, ensure buttons are larger and scrolling is easier.
- You can do without pop-ups. While these are great for lead generation, they can be frustrating for users on smaller devices. Using popups will guarantee you a higher bounce rate.
Preparation For Google’s Mobile-First Indexing
Here are few recommendations Google is giving to prepare for the change:
- If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
- If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
- Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.Sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output.When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
- Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
- Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
- If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It’s better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready.
For more information about How to Keep Your SEO Strategy Up To Date with Google’s ‘Mobile-First’ Index you can contact ArioMarketing, we can give you free consultation to analyse your website to meet your business needs, including Search Engine Optimization and Digital Marketing in Thailand.