12 October 2018
Google has been heralding it with great fanfare over the last months: the mobile-first index. But do you actually know what it is? And more important still: are you ready for this massive shift in website indexing? Garden Connect is happy to explain what is going to happen and how you can respond to it.
Until recently, Google used the desktop versions of websites in order to display its search results. These days, mobile searches account for over half [LW1] of all searches, and Google is going to be more responsive to this. The mobile-first index is not a separate list of search results, but instead means that mobile websites will be privileged over desktop versions when indexing.
What does the mobile-first index mean for me?
Usually, responsive websites contain different (i.e. less) information than the complete desktop version. Since Google will be privileging the mobile version of websites, it will therefore become important to ensure that the right content appears on both the desktop and the mobile version of the website. That’s tricky, as the mobile version usually omits information to make the website more user-friendly.
What do I need to consider?
The goal is to have the same information on both the desktop and the mobile website. We’d discourage having a separate mobile website, for example, m.yourwebsite.co.uk. Your existing desktop version should be responsive and work properly on both desktop, tablet and mobile. Check that the most important images and texts are displayed on all devices.
How do I know whether my website has switched to mobile-first?
Google itself determines when your website will switch to mobile-first. You or your website administrator will receive an email as soon as this happens, but you won’t have any say in it. You can also check the status of your website in the Google Search Console. Moreover, you can consult the “Mobile usability” report to detect any problems in the mobile version of your website.
Google is pushing you in the right direction, so take this opportunity to make sure your website is set up correctly for mobile visitors!
Do you have any questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.