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Google’s Latest Update: Mobile First Indexing

Mobile First

Until now, Google has been indexing the desktop version of a page’s content, even though most people search from their phone and receive mobile results. What happens when the mobile version of a site has less useful content than the desktop version? There’s an issue, because Google’s algorithms were evaluating the desktop version—and presenting those results to the mobile searcher.

Beginning in September 2020, Google is going to primarily rank pages from their mobile version. So, if your mobile site is different from your desktop site and has less information that adds SEO value, that could mean you’ll lose valuable traffic. Additionally,

How Webmasters Should Prepare for a More-Mobile-Focused Index

If your site is responsive or dynamically served, your content is the same across mobile and desktops. You are in good shape. Otherwise:

  • Ensure that your mobile and desktop content is identical. If it differs, you should likely begin making changes to your site. If you intend for your mobile page to have less content than the equivalent desktop page, be aware you can lose traffic when your site is enabled mobile-first indexing.The easiest way is to ensure your site is built responsively from the start, or create a mobile site. Your SERPs won’t be great without one—the time has come!
  • When developing a mobile site, think about the user’s experience. That screen is small, so your design will be different than that for a large desktop screen.
  • When adding structured data to your mobile site, be sure it’s relevant to your content and ensure Googlebot can access your mobile version by running the robots.txt testing tool.
  • Use the same meta robots tags on both desktop and mobile versions.
  • Ensure your mobile version is added and verified in Search Console.
  • If you’re going to build a mobile version of your site, be aware that a broken or incomplete mobile version is far worse than if you’d just maintained your desktop version. If you want Google to crawl your urls, don’t use ‘disallow’ on them.
  • Take care with copy for your mobile site as well. According to Yoast, use larger fonts and plenty of white space; “…you’ll need to have mobile-friendly copy. This means short sentences and compact paragraphs.”
  • Don’t lazy-load primary content! Obviously, Google won’t load content that requires user interactions such as clicking or swiping.

Questions People are Asking About Mobile-first Indexing

Does mobile-first indexing add mobile pages to a separate mobile index?

No. There’s still only one index, to which Google adds content.

Will only my mobile site be ranked now by Google?

No. Your mobile version will now be primary.

Wait! How will mobile-first indexing change strategy and ranking factors going forward?

There’s a feeling that Google won’t be so dependent on URLS and links, but rather that API-like entity of structured data. If your pages contain relevant structured data now, there’s no need to worry. If not, you might want to look into adding structured data to your site.

Don’t Panic! Sanctuary is here to help.

If this is far more than you yourself have time to do, remember that we are always here to help you implement any changes needed, and beyond that, come up with a solid digital marketing strategy to help increase leads for your business. Contact us today!

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Morgan Staples
About Morgan Staples:

Morgan Staples leads written and verbal content efforts for digital marketing projects and campaigns, delivering highly effective copy that drives leads and sales. She has always loved reading, writing and research papers, and now she gets to put that to use every day.

Learn more about Morgan.

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