What is ‘Mobile First Indexing’ and how will it affect your website’s rankings?
In recent years, we have seen the drastic migration of website browsing from computers to the smartphone, with almost 60% of the worldwide population using their smartphone to browse the internet – even more in more technologically advanced countries. With that in mind, Google has been making changes to their ranking algorithms to trend with the change, making websites more likely to rank highly when they are optimised for mobile browsing. This move towards ‘Mobile First Indexing’ promotes an improved browsing experience for users, taking into account the changing worldwide trends.
The history of Mobile First Indexing
The notion of Mobile First Indexing was first discussed in early 2016 by Google when they decided that a website needed to be mobile optimised in order to receive a better ranking in the search results. This was a response to the upward trend of mobile phone usage for website browsing.
Discussions between 2016 and 2020 sought to make Mobile First Indexing the norm of search engine results meaning that the mobile version of your website would be the primary indexed version and the desktop version would be secondary.
The start of 2021 saw Google fully transition all new indexed websites to Mobile First Indexing with already established websites trailing behind to catch up and be fully mobile indexed by the end of 2022.
Best practices for mobile responsive websites: Understanding Mobile First Indexing
Mobile indexing is compulsory
As the largest search engine in the world, Google can make all the decisions regarding the way your website ranks in global search results and the way your website can be crawled so, naturally, mobile indexing for websites is also compulsory – there is no way to opt in or out of it.
When building a new website or revamping your existing website, it is very important that you consider the user experience on mobile devices and ensure that your website is made to be mobile responsive.
Check whether your website is mobile indexed
If your website is already using mobile indexing, you would have received a notification in your Google Search Console to inform you. An easy way to check is to complete a URL search and check the ‘crawling’ ID. If it is marked as Googlebot Smartphone, this indicates that your website has been crawled using Mobile First Indexing. If not, then the process of Mobile First Indexing may still be ongoing or yet to occur.
Advantages of mobile responsive websites
Improving user experience
Websites that are structured in a way to suit multiple devices will be better able to deliver a better user experience. Many things contribute to a better user experience including readability, accessibility, and the adaptability of the website to include all elements of information in a logical and understandable manner.
Increased sales and profitability
As more people use their mobile phones to browse, it’s critical that your website is available for purchases and sales enquiries using mobile devices, which needs to include a streamlined sales and checkout process even on mobile devices. Maintaining this sync between the desktop version and the mobile version of your site means that shoppers still gain the full experience of your business, contributing to your continued sales and profitability.
Improved SEO and search results
As a result of the implementation of Mobile First Indexing by Google, websites that are built with responsiveness in mind rank better in search results and are more likely to be crawled for keywords than sites that only deliver desktop results.
FAQ – Mobile First Indexing
Does Google only use my mobile website to rank me in search results?
While Google is pushing for Mobile First Indexing implementation, that doesn’t mean that the mobile version of your website is the only consideration that they make when crawling your website. They do take into consideration the secondary desktop version of the site when necessary to determine all the related crawling keyword searches.
What happens if I don’t have a mobile version of my website?
If you don’t have a mobile version of your website or don’t have a website that is mobile responsive, it doesn’t mean that you can’t rank in search results in Google. It just means that you might rank comparatively lower than another business that is mobile optimised.
Do I have to opt in for mobile indexing?
Google automatically crawls your website when you submit it to the Google Search Console when you go online. It will automatically choose Mobile First Indexing as part of standard implementation. You don’t need to opt in for this.
How does Mobile First Indexing affect my SEO and search rankings?
Sites that are more responsive to mobile devices will generally rank better when compared with sites that aren’t. Mobile First Indexing doesn’t affect the way in which you can implement and strategise your SEO campaigns. It is just important to make your SEO keywords campaigns applicable across all devices rather than just desktop versions of the site.
How do I prepare for Mobile First Indexing with Google?
The biggest thing to remember is that Mobile First Indexing doesn’t mean that your website is going to disappear from the internet; it is just Google’s way of moving with upward trends in browsing capabilities.
The best thing that you can do to prepare is to revisit your website and assess its mobile responsiveness:
- Look at ways to optimise your website to make for a better mobile user experience.
- Adapt the layout and content to suit mobile friendly devices
- Optimise the mobile site and page speed
- Optimise and keyword the images throughout.
Remember that your website is your window into the outside world, so it should best reflect your business and brand, even in a condensed mobile format. Smartphone usage isn’t going to slow down; it’s the way of the future to adapt our lives to suit our smartphone devices and so our websites must follow suit.
Jezweb understands Mobile First Indexing
If you need help revisiting your website and looking at ways to best optimise for mobile responsiveness, talk to the experts at Jezweb. Our knowledgeable team can help you restructure your website so that it checks all of Google’s boxes, making your website rank better and deliver better results for you. Call us today on 1300024766 or email us at email@example.com. Alternatively, click here to send us an online message and we will be happy to help.