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Google moves to mobile-first indexing

Google’s algorithms will start using websites’ mobile versions, rather than their desktop versions, for ranking sites in searches


With internet usage on mobile devices now surpassing that on desktop, Google’s announcement that it will  begin looking primarily at website’s mobile versions for ranking purposes, rather than their desktop versions, will come as little surprise to those in the search marketing industry.

The move has been prompted by the concern that, by basing results on a site’s desktop page, mobile users may not be getting the best experience possible if the site’s mobile page contains less content.

Although Google describes the change as “an experiment… on a small scale”, and says that its search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, Google’s Product Manager, Doantam Phan, said his blog that: “our 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”.

Our 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

Google

How will mobile-first indexing affect me?

Our Senior Search Strategist, Stu Jones, advises: “If you’re a website owner with a either a dynamically served or responsive mobile website, you should feel little impact from the change and will continue to be indexed in the same way.

“But if you don’t by now have a mobile-friendly site, you may see decreased organic rankings over the next six months, because Google is now actively demonstrating the importance of mobile search by basing their index on mobile versions of websites, rather than desktop.

“If you do have a mobile-friendly site, but you’re worried that it could be affected, take the time to analyse the website.

“Use Google’s ‘Mobile Friendly Test‘ to get an understanding of how the search engine perceives your website, and ensure your mobile offering avoids these common mistakes.

“If you’re not already doing so, now may be the time to invest in Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), especially since forms are now supported, as well as images, videos and iframes.”


Not sure whether your website’s Google-friendly? Need some help boosting your search visibility?

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