Earlier this year, Google announced that it was beginning to transition sites to mobile-first indexing. Increasingly, Google will crawl, rank and index the mobile version of a site instead of the desktop version, as was previously the case. Google Search Console will notify you when Google enables mobile-first indexing on your site.
What Does Mobile-first Indexing Mean for Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?
Directly, not much; indirectly, a lot. There will continue to be just one index that Google uses for serving search results. As well, mobile-first indexing has no bearing on ranking in itself. However, since the mobile version will now be the primary version, it will also be the one that is ranked in most cases. A site that is mobile-friendly is more likely to be ranked higher.
Most Google searches are now made on a mobile device. Mobile-first indexing is one step towards forcing web development to respond to these new conditions and even to future scenarios that will likely involve AI. The amount of information on the web is increasing at an exponential rate. Google needs more efficient methods to catalogue information in order to respond to and prepare for the ways we access and consume information.
In the short term, it makes sense to optimize your website specifically for mobile devices. Looking further ahead, web development may move away from an organization based on URLs in favour of using Schema, on-page structured markup and XML feeds and with a greater reliance on Google cloud hosting. To read more about these concepts, Cindy Krum of MobilMoxie wrote an interesting series in 2017.
SEO Optimization for Mobile Devices
Mobile users want to find the information they need quickly and easily. These four tips will help optimize the mobile version of your site so it performs better:
- Make sure your mobile site loads fast. This criteria has become even more important since July when Google announced it’s Speed Update. Google will now focus on the loading speed on mobile devices to influence ranking. Try running your site through Google’s updated mobile speed test that measures the mobile speed of your website and compares it with standards in your industry.
- Pay attention to user experience (UX) on your mobile site. Make sure the page displays properly, with plenty of room to navigate by touch and with content that is legible and comfortable to read.
- Understand the mobile context. Users are often searching for facilities and resources such as stores, events or services that are near them. Geotargeting is important.
- Include meta titles and descriptions that take into account the mobile context.
Need help optimizing your mobile site?
If mobile-first SEO seems overwhelming or you simply don’t have time to do this on your own, we’re here to help. Drop us a note today.