Mobile First Index, a Refresher

The new Mobile First Index continues to roll out and it’s a hot topic in the SEO industry. We’ve talked about it in the past, but now it’s time for a refresher to ensure you’re completely on board for this new Google experience.

In March of 2018, Google rolled out a new mobile first index.

But what does that mean? Well, going forward, Google will rank your website based on the mobile version rather than thee desktop version.

Historically, Google’s indexing and ranking system have always used the desktop version to rank your site, but now since the majority of users are using their mobile devices for browsing the web and making searches, Google will look at the mobile version of your site and use that in search results in order to offer a better mobile experience to its customers.

Each website is now evaluated individually and ranked based on how mobile-friendly it is (among many other factors of course).

If your website doesn’t have a mobile version, you don’t need to particularly worry about the mobile first index. Google will just use the desktop version to rank your site. But you should really consider making your website mobile friendly, as user experience is what Google takes into account most.

Google has previously said that content that’s not deemed mobile-friendly will not rank as well. That still remains the case with the new Mobile First index.

Google have also said, “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.”

If you have a responsive website, which means one that changes and scales the content accordingly depending on the type and size of device that’s being used, you are certainly heading in the right direction.

However Google has said that it will look at the mobile version of your site even if it has less content than the desktop version. If your mobile version has less content on page A than the desktop version of page A, then Google will probably just see the mobile version with less content.

If your content is the same across devices, there are no guarantees your rankings will remain steady, too. Research has found that 79 percent of keywords return different results across mobile and desktop, which points to the fact that users expect different content depending on their context.

(Also If you’re a Soar client, there’s nothing you need to do because we always use responsive design on our websites!).

As always, keep in mind that Google uses many factors to rank your site, but the mobile-first index shouldn’t be overlooked. Google will send a notification via your Search Console when your site has been switched over to the mobile-first index, so it’s best to keep an eye on this if you want to maintain and grow visibility when it inevitably does arrive for your site.