Google just rolled out a mobile-first indexing change, and in our opinion, this is the most significant change we’ve seen in years. It is no secret that Google has been modifying their search over the years to transition from mostly desktop searches to mostly mobile searches, and mobile-first indexing is probably the biggest change so far.
“Mobile-first indexing means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page's content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user's query. Since the majority of users now access Google via a mobile device, the index will primarily use the mobile version of a page's content going forward” - Google*
Google search ranking is extremely important for most businesses because the difference between being ranked on the 1st page or the 2nd page can mean millions in revenue; therefore, Google and it’s ranking algorithm has enormous power and influence on how websites are implemented and re-designed. Also, Google should be given a lot of credit for pushing the responsive design (mobile friendly) framework which, in our opinion, is the main reason why most websites function correctly on a mobile device these days.
Let's get back to the latest change (mobile-first indexing). This is another big push by Google to optimize the mobile experience, and they have every right to do so. More than 60% of Google searches are performed on mobile devices. This number will continue to grow with the emergence of Alexa, Google Home, Google Assistant, and Siri. On the other hand, desktop searches will continue to shrink in size.
So what exactly does this mean for you, and more specifically, for your website?
If you already have a responsive (mobile friendly) website
Assuming your website was implemented correctly, you are in good shape. Think of the responsive framework as a house with a strong foundation. It is easy to keep up with the latest trends and make improvements when you have an excellent foundation to work on. On the other hand, if you have a shaky foundation, then it becomes almost impossible.
A responsive website gives you the flexibility to keep optimizing the mobile experience, which is becoming more and more important every day.
Related: Benefits of Responsive Design
If you don’t have a responsive website
You are fighting an uphill battle, and any temporary measures are just prolonging the inevitable. As we mentioned above, most people are using mobile devices to seek information, and if your customers find it difficult to navigate your website on a mobile device, they will quickly find someone else.
Also, with this latest ‘mobile-first’ change, your customers may have a hard time finding you in search results. At the end of the day Google wants to deliver the best search results, and the best user experience, so why would they rank/recommend your website if it doesn’t meet those standards?
In summary, most algorithm changes by Google benefit end-users, and the ‘mobile-first’ indexing change does precisely that. It will reward businesses willing to optimize their website for mobile users and penalize those who are not willing to change.
There are over 1.5 billion** websites on the world wide web today, so if you are not willing to optimize your website, there are plenty of businesses that are happy to take your place.
Related links & sources:
- Related Google: Rolling our mobile-first indexing
- Source* Google: Best practices for mobile-first indexing
- Source** Internet live stats
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