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Check Out How Google’s Mobile First Indexing Impacts Your Website

December 23, 2016 |
Google’s Mobile First Indexing

Google announced the mobile first indexing back on November 4th this year. In the announcement, Google stated:

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, 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. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”

But do you know how it’s going to affect your website? Well, if you missed out on this important piece of information then here is your chance on learning the important bits and implementing them on your websites.

What’s The Change?

Currently, Google evaluates the content of a webpage’s desktop version based on its relevance to the user. On the basis of the desktop index, Google then ranks these pages and even shows a snippet to the users.

It’s an obvious understanding that Google has taken this decision as most of the people now search for things using their mobile devices. Google will not separately index the mobile pages and will continue with a single index of the desktop version. But, it will now lay emphasis on mobile pages while indexing a web page and deciding on its ranking.

What Do You Need To Do?

You don’t need to sweat if you have a mobile responsive website displaying the same content as the desktop version. However, if your website has different content on mobile and the desktop then you might want to make a few adjustments.

Here Are a Few Tips:

  • The first step you must take is to check how Mobile friendly is your website. Run a simple Mobile Friendly Test to check your website’s compatibility, speed and performance on mobile devices. You can refer to Google’s primary mobile guide for more information.
  • Use a structured markup for both mobile and desktop version. You can run structured data tests for both desktop and mobile URLs to compare the output. Adjust any errors that are highlighted, but avoid adding anything that isn’t required for mobile sites.
  • The accessibility of your mobile website version to GoogleBot will be the key for indexing. You can use the Fetch and Render tool in the Google Search Console to perform a test. Mention the mobile:smartphone user-agent and take a look at the preview once the fetch and render is complete.
  • If you use canonical links then you are on the right track. Google specified that the websites using canonical links need not to make any changes. It will use these links to provide search results to users searching on desktops or mobiles.
  • It’s time to add and verify your mobile version on the search console. Verifying only the desktop version will not be enough.

If you have very less content on your mobile site as compared to your desktop site than you are in for some trouble. With Google stating that it will give more weightage to mobile site now, chances are that they may not even look at your desktop site. But don’t get dejected. This provides you with an opportunity to add a lot of expandable content.

While reviewing the desktop version, Google doesn’t give a high weightage to content in tabs, expandable boxes or other hidden areas. However, when it comes to mobile sites, expandable content is given full weightage as it makes more sense on mobiles.

The bottom line is that if your business depends on online traffic for revenue generation, then this update is very critical for you. But, no need to get all confused and panicky. Just follow the aforementioned guide to make your website mobile ready. Once done, you can monitor the rankings and shift in traffic.

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