What Is Mobile-First Indexing And How It Affects Your Rankings

Posted by Sandeep Sharma

July 28, 2018

Google 25 min read

Google has only one and simple priority offer the best and relevant information to the users who are looking for it. That is all. Google comes up with the latest changes and upgrades in its algorithms to ensure that users get what they are looking for.

Being an SEO professional or a website owner, your priority should not be just to bring traffic or increase revenues. For a long-term brand valuation and recognition, how you have helped your users throughout the journey, matters a lot.

To achieve the objective, you need to keep a sharp eye on what people think, how they search, what they are looking for and how to satisfy them uniquely to gain their trust.

Google is constantly striving to address all these concerns. The question is – are you doing it?

Mobile-First Indexing – What Is It?

Google’s recent decision to implement Mobile First Index while displaying search results, is a step towards helping users to find relevant information as and when they search.

If you follow Google updates closely, you should not be surprised by them. It was expected.

First of all, we need to understand what is Mobile-First Indexing?

Even in 2016, Google has announced that they are working towards mobile first indexing as mobile searches have left desktop searches behind. Even they have suggested making your site mobile-friendly. Google stated that they will first implement it on a trial basis and now, it is officially implemented.

Do you remember that Google penalized many websites that did not perform well on mobiles? We all knew that it is coming and it is finally here.

Earlier, your website’s desktop version was judged by Google to decide your SERPs. However, the scenario is different now. Now, Google will check how your website functions on mobiles and tablets to judge its performance.

What Google has stated in its official blog post is described in the image:

Why Mobile First Indexing? How Will It Affect Your Business And SEO Strategy?

According to Google’s Consumer Barometer Study in 2017, mobile internet usage crossed 50% in more than 63 countries. However, the Google indexing was primarily based on desktop versions. As per Google’s John Mueller stated that it is 80% Googlebot (desktop version) and 20% Smartphone crawler.

As per Statista, currently, 52.2% of total searches are done via mobiles. However, the crawling was based on desktop version and hence, sometimes, it was way too difficult to offer a highly satisfying experience to the users. Users who use mobiles might not get adequate results and in the end, information that they are looking for.

To make their experiences more smooth and satisfying, the best way is to ensure that the websites perform better on mobile devices.

What Does It Mean For You?

Of course, you are worried and curious to know, aren’t you? If you have a well-performing and responsive website design, you don’t have to worry a bit. You can put some efforts to optimize your website for mobile devices.

However, if you did not pay any attention to what Google was trying to convey to you in a silent language, it is a concern. There are three possibilities:

If you have only a desktop version of your site, it does not mean it will not be indexed. Now, Google will see whether the site is mobile-friendly or not. If it is not, your search rankings will decline surely.

If you have separate versions for both- desktop and mobile, the mobile version will take precedence. However, you need to ensure that your mobile version is better than the desktop version. If it is not, your rankings will suffer.

You have a responsive website (websites made with modern themes with responsive capabilities) that performs well on mobiles and tablets too. In this case, you are in a safe boat. However, there are still many improvisations you can make in it. Work on it.

Still, you have time as Google has not implemented Mobile First Index universally. They are moving in batches. You will be notified if you have a connected Google Search Console. It would be better if you are prepared.

How To Modify Your Website And Strategy For Google Mobile First Index?

Relax a bit and follow these steps mentioned in the blog and your business will not suffer from the Mobile First Indexing Policy. There is no rocket science. All you need to do is to make your website mobile-friendly and that will be all.

Make your website mobile-friendly:

– Yes, this is the first battle to conquer. Your website should be mobile-friendly. If you don’t have a mobile version of the website, make your desktop version responsive or add a plugin.

– Also, you need to check your plugins for mobile compatibility.

– Image optimization is also important. Also, ensure that they load fast in mobiles too.

– Full-screen pop-ups might work well in your desktop version, but it might irritate your mobile users. Use some alternate methods to encourage users for email subscriptions.

– Ensure that your website’s loading time as minimum as it can be.

There are some additional takeaways that you need to keep in the mind:

Content Should Be Prioritized:

Give priority to your website content including images, texts, and videos. Evaluate what is important to show to your users that might create interests. Make it happen.

Finger-Friendly Design:

Yes, it is also an important thing to consider while optimizing your website for mobile. Generally, all smart-phones are operated with fingers. In fact, there are some other mobile design rules too that you can follow to offer some valuable and effortless experience to the users.

Landing Page Optimization:

Your landing page is the first thing that your user is going to visit. It should not be just the scaled-down version of your desktop but should be optimized properly for smaller devices. Even other important pages such as service pages, contact us page should be optimized properly.

Structured data is also important:

Schema.org structured data works not just for desktop versions of the websites, but for mobile versions too. Don’t you want that your users get more additional, relevant information about your business? Ensure that your structured data is crawlable by Google without any errors.

Website Speed Is Important:

There is nothing as frustrating for users as waiting for a page to load. They will simply look for another alternative. What is the outcome? Higher bounce rates.

Ensure that your website’s mobile version takes a minimum amount of time to load.

Amp Up Your Site:

AMP is a highly-effective technology that provides users stripped-down versions of your web pages. It is the short form of Accelerated Mobile Pages and it makes the web pages to load fast.

You can download and fix the ready-made version of AMP available for WordPress.

Over To You

The time is changing and so are the buying patterns of the consumers. Mobile First Indexing is here and you need to address the issue in the most significant manner you can to rank your website on the first page of Google. Remember, your mobile site is your primary web presence now and you need to ensure that it offers the best experience to users when they visit it.


Let's Talk