Google mobile-first index: what is it and what does it mean for brands?
If your website isn’t mobile-friendly yet, this announcement by Google should definitely convince you to invest on that. But what exactly is this mobile-first index?
What is Google mobile-first index?
On May of last year, Google stated that, in 10 countries including the US and Japan, there are more daily searches done via mobile than via desktop and, as you can imagine, this number has been growing and growing. Now, over one year later, the technology giant is officially testing its mobile-first index, which means that it will look first at the mobile version of a website to evaluate its relevance and, only if that doesn’t exist, will it look at the desktop version.
Most of us already expected this “official shift” from desktop to mobile: we all see in our day to day life how much mobile devices are used by mostly everyone. Now that we know it is definitely going to happen, it is time to prepare!
So, what does this mean for my brand?
Right now there is not a lot of information out about Google’s mobile-first index. However, one thing is for sure: this means that you will have to adapt your website to the new algorithm if you don’t want to get lost in Google’s SERPs. If you have a either a responsive or a dynamic website, you don’t have much to worry about. If you don’t… the time to go mobile is now. Wondering what exactly you should do? Here are a couple tips:
- Run a mobile friendly test and make sure that your page is compatible with mobile devices.
- If you have two versions of your website – one for desktop and one for mobile – make sure that you have the same content on both, so that you don’t lose traffic for certain keywords.
- Ensure structured data for both versions – data with a high level of organization, that stays in a fixed field in a record or file and that allows search engines to organize information easily and in a more creative way – appears on your mobile website.
- Optimize your website for speed: 53% of users will leave your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. So how can you make sure your website doesn’t take so long to load that readers give up on it? Optimising images to the right size, lowering the number of redirects and removing needless characters from the source code are a few things that will reduce the chance of a slow user experience.
- Make sure your website’s design in the mobile version is appealing to the user and that it is, of course, optimised by keeping in mind a few things: a lot of users can’t see Flash elements, users don’t like pop-ups and the screen is a lot smaller than desktop.
- If only the desktop version of your website is verified on Search Console, this is the time to verify the mobile version as well.
This change isn’t live yet and there is no official date for it, only that it will happen at some point in the next months. But regardless you should make sure you are ready for Google Mobile-First Index!