What You Need To Know About Mobile-First Indexing By Google

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In a world where everything is mobile-first, Google took a drastic step when it decided to go for mobile-first indexing. The Google announcement came in September 2020. Mobile-first indexing means Google primarily uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and the baseline for determining ranking results. Previously, the index primarily used the desktop version of a particular page’s content when evaluating the relevance of that page to a user’s query. It’s called “mobile-first” because it’s not a mobile-only index: for instance, if a particular site doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version, the desktop site can always be a preference to be included in the index. So if your website is not mobile-friendly, changing it should be your first preference. 

Why is Google making the shift?

If you’re wondering why we received such a Google update, it’s only because of a simple reason – more and more searches are coming from mobile devices. So for giving users a better experience, Google is prioritizing mobile results. Do keep in mind that not having a mobile-friendly website will impact your site’s rankings in a negative way. Even worse your competitors with mobile-friendly websites will rank a lot higher than you for both mobile and desktop searches. 

What you need to know for mobile-first indexing?

  • Try a mobile-friendliness test – For mobile indexing, you do not require a mobile site because Google will index the desktop sites too. But it will be tough and impact your ranking results if your site is not mobile-friendly. Check out Google’s mobile-friendliness test to know whether or not your site is mobile friendly. If your site does not pass this UI-UX test, your mobile version is not up to the mark.
  • Curate mobile-friendly content – Not everyone likes to read from the screen. And that too not from a mobile screen. So in order to keep your users engaged, you need to write mobile-friendly content. This means short sentences and compact paragraphs. You need to make sure your font on your mobile site is large and clear enough making sure to use enough whitespaces.
  • Consider the UX on mobile – It’s quite evident that website version and mobile version require different designs altogether. Your screen space is tiny so you might want to keep only useful content that speaks to the audience. Putting content behind a tab to make the mobile experience more user-friendly is also totally fine. Remember just like your desktop version, the mobile version should also be responsive. 
  • Put Google’s best practices into action – Keep the following things in mind to get the best out of your mobile version:-
    • Ensure that images are in the correct resolution for the mobile version.
    • Less meaningful image alt attributes may negatively affect indexing.
    • Make sure your images and videos are easy to find on the mobile version of your page.
  • Check out those mobile snippets – You need to know where your audience basically comes from. Is it from the desktops SERPS or mobile search page results? Make sure to check this in your Google Analytics. If your search traffic is mostly from mobile search result pages, make sure to optimize your mobile snippet in your Google preview.

In conclusion, mobile-first indexing is here to stay and the more you can communicate what it means to your designers, developers, and others in your team, the easier it is to address the best-practices that are recommended before they become an issue. 

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