Google’s Mobile-First index and What You Need to Know
By now, you probably already know that Google crawls your website as a desktop user to add pages to its index. These crawlers surf around your website like a real visitor and even follow the links on your pages. On November 4th Google announced that they would be experimenting with a Mobile-First Index that’s going to change the way your website gets ranked in their search engine result pages (SERPS). This means Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of the content displayed by your website.
So how does this affect your site? Let’s first start off by finding out what exactly Google’s Mobile-First Index is and why they’re looking to integrate it.
What is Google’s Mobile-First Index
As more and more searches are made via the mobile device, Google wants its index and results to appeal to a majority of its users, who happen to be mobile searchers, and has started to use the mobile version of the web as their primary search engine index. This isn’t the first time Google has released an update intended to address the increasing needs of the mobile population of users though. #Mobilegeddon and its follow-up were released in 2015-2016 to encourage web users to become more “mobile friendly” and even before that, Google worked hard to reward websites that offered mobile compatibility to their users.
If you’re concerned that your site might not live up to Google’s standards in terms of mobile compatibility, try testing your site here and see where your pages could be lacking.
Why is Google Making This Change?
Google’s mobile index can be seen as a direct response to the way people currently use Google these days. With the recent rise in mobile conversion rates, users mostly search on mobile devices and many times they get sub-par results due to annoying ads, scaling issues, etc. You may be sitting there thinking that your website is already mobile-friendly, so. You should be set right? For the most part, yes but that doesn’t mean your content is optimized for the new realities of their search. So what can you do to make sure your website is ready?
How to Prepare for Mobile-First Indexing
When preparing for Google’s Mobile-First Indexing, the first thing you need to consider is Page Loading Speed. A standard optimized loading speed is generally about 2 seconds or less. If it takes any longer for your site to load you may want to consider making some changes. Let’s face it, the faster a website loads, the happier your users will be. Providing superior user experience and experience is crucial if you’re going to have a successful website. How many times have you been stuck on a page that takes forever to load and you finally decide to just move on to the next one because you’re tired of waiting? We’ve all been there.
If you’re looking to optimize your page, you should consider using smaller size images and make sure you’re using the minimum amount of code necessary in order to maintain your site’s functionality. Also, you should consider cutting out any unnecessary characters, avoiding a lot of page redirects and leveraging your browser caching.
Google has provided several resources to make this transition easier. If you take a look at their mobile guide, it explains in depth why it’s so important for you to take that next step in making your website mobile friendly. It even offers a variety of helpful tips in order to help make it all possible. It is our recommendation that you also take a look at their how-to guide that helps explain how to create a mobile-friendly website along with showing you how to make sure your third party hosting site is functioning properly as well.
If you have additional questions regarding Google’s Mobile-First Index, please feel free to discuss them in the comments below or reach out to us here.