Google’s New Mobile First Index: The Facts

John KennertySearch Engine Marketing

Over the last few months, Google has begun mobile-first indexing which uses mobile content for all search rankings. That’s a big change as Google was previously using desktop content to decide how to rank search results.

This could have a large impact on companies who still rely on organic traffic for website visits, leads, sales and revenue.

To help answer some questions we had about Google’s New Mobile First Index, we reached out to our friend Christopher Schwarz at WebDesign499.

Here’s what Christopher has to say:

tips for optimizing for google mobile index in 2017
We are a living in a mobile world.

Everything is available at our fingertips nowadays and Google knows this and that is why Google has finally rolled out its new mobile first index.

Well truth be told it is only partially rolled out because as of now Google is slowly integrating it and there is no exact date that they have given as of yet when all the integration will be complete. They have said they are slowly rolling things over so they can monitor any changes that may or may not need to be made.

So what is the mobile first index and what will be different. I have listed the most relevant things below.

What If I Only Have a Desktop Site?

Google will now be looking mainly at the mobile version of your site for ranking signals but no need to worry for those of you out there with no mobile version of your site Google will revert to your desktop version. If you do happen to be one of the few people that only have a desktop version, your desktop version will continue to be used to index but you will not get the benefit of Google’s mobile friendly rankings boost.

Why Change?

This big change came about because the majority of searches now happen on mobile devices and Google has said that they want to represent the majority of their users. Mobile use surpassed desktop use over two years ago, so this really has been a long time coming.

Expandable Content

Google has made a change when it comes to expandable content. With the desktop version expandable content was not weighted high. This will not be the case with mobile indexing where expandable content will be given full weight as long as it is done for experience purposes.

Responsive Approach

Google recommends a responsive approach. Make sure your content is the same from your desktop to your mobile site. Also, since we are mentioning content Google has said that if your content is not mobile friendly it will not index well. Another note is that page speed of your mobile site will now determine the ranking of both your mobile and desktop site.

Get Verified

If you have a separate mobile page and you have not yet had it verified on the Google Search Console do it now. You need to let Google know that there is a separate mobile version out there. If your page is responsive and the content and structure are the same for both your mobile and desktop versions then you are fine and don’t have to do anything.

Structured Markups

Now that Google is using mobile first indexing large amounts of markups should definitely be avoided if they aren’t relevant. Landing pages should ideally have one markup per page. This will make it easier for Google to analyze the main content efficiently.

Analyze Pages

Now is definitely the time to analyze your pages for mobile friendliness. Knowing Google they will surely be applying stricter evaluation criteria soon. So stay a step ahead and use a mobile user to crawl your website.

That is the run down on the mobile first index. Eventually Google has said it plans to only have one index and it will be based on mobile content but it will serve both mobile and desktop users but for the time being there is two. Before anyone asks the question, no there is no way to control which index they will be using for your site and this will be the case until the rollout is complete. The one thing Google has said is that none of these changes should affect your rankings at least not that they know of.

More About Christopher at WebDesign499

Christopher Schwarz is the owner of WebDesign499, a national Web Design & SEO Agency based out of Wellington, FL. WebDesign499 has built more than 500 professional business websites for their clients and provides industry leading Search Engine Optimization services and solutions throughout South Florida and the USA. They are currently leaders in the West Palm Beach SEO market along with West Palm Beach Web Design.