Mobile-first indexing has been in headlines of 2018 in the SEO world. This new addition is certainly a major shift to how Google search works. This has left SEO professionals with questions, what will be the result? With no doubt, Google’s mobile-first index has created chaos in the marketing world. Marketers want to figure out how Google’s algorithm will change SERP (search engine results page) rankings.
Know About Google mobile first index 2018
Before understanding the mobile index, first recall what was indexing and ranking all about:
Indexing vs. Ranking
Indexing refers to the reading and storing of a web page’s information by the search engine indexing robot. Once Google visits and reads a page, it stores the information in its index.
The ranking is a process where the search engine evaluates the information in its index. It also determines which web pages match its criteria according to the search query and other factors (such as device).
Now, coming to the mobile-first index. Following are the details of how it works and what is the use? and much more to give a better understanding.
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1. What is Mobile First Indexing?
Mobile-first indexing addresses indexing not ranking. It is a Google’s way of serving up more relevant search results to mobile users. They have selected a certain number of websites that meet the company’s criteria for mobile-friendly design. Now, they are using the mobile version of the site to populate the SERPs.
If your website was chosen to be involved with the Google mobile first index rollout, then you would get an alert in Google Search Console to let you know. Google would crawl your mobile site first. It would also display information from the mobile form of your website in the SERPs for the searchers to see it.
Wait! This doesn’t mean that your desktop website will no longer exist or get crawled. If someone searches for a keyword relevant to your business on a desktop computer, he or she will still find the desktop version of your site.
Previously, Google only considered a website’s desktop version when ranking and crawling pages. But now the game is changed. The reason is mobile users spend two times more minutes online as compared to desktop users, Hence, Google understands the need to serve those users with better content first.
2. What are the Significant Changes with Mobile First Index in 2018?
March 2018 was the time when Google announced the primary change in the mobile-first index strategy. If your website isn’t in the first, second, or third wave of this rollout, you don’t need to worry. For your information, as of 2016, Google has indexed over 130 trillion web pages. That’s a huge number, so it will take time to reach them all.
The point is simple here, Google has made some changes regarding how it indexes pages. The changes are:
- Distributing much mobile-friendly content to people on smartphones, tablets, and similar devices.
- Those websites in the rollout, Google will display the mobile version of a website, if it exists on a separate URL.
- Websites with dynamic serving built in will have their mobile-friendly pages served to mobile users
- Google will prefer mobile-friendly sites over AMP sites.
3. What does Google say about the Mobile First Index?
Google will be utilizing a bot named as smartphone agent. It will help to identify websites that follow mobile best practices and are more suitable for the mobile first index. If you have a desktop site with no mobile alternative, or if your site uses responsive design, then there will be no change right now. The same goes for those who use authorized AMP.
Additionally, Google also stated that initially, a mobile-first index has nothing to do with actual ranking. It is related to the fact that how Google “collects content.” For instance, if you have a mobile version of your site or responsive design, your SERP listings will remain the same. Google will pull information from your site just like before.
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4. How to Make a Mobile First Indexing Strategy for the Website in 2018
Well, after the basic understanding, you may be wondering how to implement it. You need to do this, as preparing ahead will give your site a better chance to get listed in the mobile-first index. Due to this, you will not suffer any rankings issues in the future. So, now coming toward the things that you need to add in your strategy are as follows:
- Add XML and media sitemaps
- Create engaging high-quality content
- Addition of optimized metadata
- Set up structured data
- Go for expandable content
- Optimize your website speed
- Focus on user experience on mobile
- Use Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP)
5. How Mobile First Index Can affect Your Ranking?
After knowing all this you will be thinking that will your website ranking will get a hit if you are don’t perfectly set up for the mobile-first index.?
Well, the answer is, don’t panic!
Mobile first index is not used as a ranking signal by Google. It’s just too early since not all websites are part of the mobile-first index. So, it doesn’t make sense for Google to punish those who are not included in the program. Let’s make one thing clear! Mobile first doesn’t mean mobile only. In simple words, even if you don’t have a mobile-friendly version of your site, still you can rank.
By this, Google has made clear that mobile users are placed on top priority. Well, it makes sense. Now, Google will prefer those websites that render properly on mobile as compared to the website that only has a desktop version. Furthermore, if you are finding a way to make your ranking better with other SEO techniques, then you can hire Boston Seo Company for the job. They will utilize their expertise and experience to devise the best option according to your business website.
Instead of panic, always try to figure out the reason behind the changes. Later in the future, mobile friendliness will likely to have a big impact on rankings. So, it is better to start preparing for it now!
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6. FAQ About the Mobile First Index 2018
To help you more, we have added answer some FAQS about the mobile first index that might come in your mind:
- Does Google pay attention if you have a mobile site or responsive design?
A mobile site is a separate website dedicated to mobile users. It starts with an m, followed by a period and your URL. Secondly, a responsive design is a way in which a website is shown on both desktop and mobile users. The designs and text are fitted according to the screen size.
Responsive design is likely the way to go because, as mentioned earlier, Google wants to deliver high-quality content to mobile users and to desktop users. So, it is better to improvise your content marketing strategy for better results. If you are lazy about updating your mobile site, you could slip in the rankings. However, it doesn’t matter from a ranking standpoint.
- How do I learn that how Google is indexing my site?
Use the Fetch and Render tool in Google Search Console to check if Google is pulling mobile data for the SERPs. Use mobile smartphone as a user-agent and allow toll to prepare the batch. If there is missing content, you need to figure out how to make mobile content accessible.
- How Google will get their ranking signals?
Google will continue the practice of getting ranking signals from desktop websites that don’t have a mobile version, responsive design, or AMP. However, Websites that are mobile-friendly, will provide their ranking signals from their mobile sites.
The mobile first index is not a reason to panic. It’s only just now rolling out in a broader way, and many sites aren’t affected by it yet. However, it is a good indicator of what’s coming next. Google wants high-quality content and websites to look good on mobile devices.
Keeping these points in mind, improve the user experience on mobile so that your website visitors don’t encounter any obstacles