Mobile First Indexing works to make the search results in Google more useful to the mobile user. The Mobile-First Index isn’t a separate index to Google’s main index, it just serves the mobile version of the content as a priority to help mobile users find what they are looking for more quickly. The mobile version of a web page will be used for indexing and ranking going forwards.
When did the Mobile-First Index Launch?
After 18 months of testing and experimentation, Google started the Mobile-First Index roll out in March 2018, initially only migrating sites that followed Google’s Mobile UX Best Practice Guidelines.
Why did Google create the Mobile-First Index?
Prior to the launch of the Mobile-First Index, Google crawled, indexed and ranked the desktop version of a web page’s content. It became evident, however, that as more people began to access the Internet via their mobile devices, some desktop websites were different to the mobile version, so as index and rank was accrued through the desktop site, the search results were sometimes not as relevant as they should have been.
How do you know if your site is in the Mobile-First Index?
Most old sites will now have been migrated across to the Mobile First Index. Webmasters were notified via Google Search Console that their site had been migrated. This should result in an increase in mobile traffic.
How do I index my new website?
From July 1st 2019, Google will default to Mobile-First Indexing for all new websites. You will need to create a Google Search Console account and get your site verified with Google. Once verified the site will be ready to be indexed. It is also recommended to submit an xml sitemap via Search Console as this works as a signpost to search crawlers and will help the search bots better understand and find relevant website content more easily.
Do I need a mobile site as well as a desktop site now?
No you don’t. Hopefully your desktop website is mobile-responsive as this will improve the mobile user experience, but a desktop site that hasn’t been adapted to work well on mobile devices will still be indexed in the Mobile-First Index. It may not, however, rank particularly well.
One core ranking factor in the mobile-First Index is Site Speed. Although not being mobile-responsive won’t impact your site rank, if the speed of your desktop site is slow, this could have a negative impact on your rank in the mobile index.
If you have a lot of content on your desktop site that isn’t really of value to a mobile user on the go, then it could be worth considering building a separate mobile site which is super-fast, displays key information and calls to action and is 100% built to serve mobile users.
What makes a good mobile site?
- Mobile-Friendly Test – Check your web pages are mobile-friendly by running them through the Google Mobile-Friendly Test Tool. This will alert you to any issues that may be presenting a poor mobile-user experience.
- Easy Navigation – Make menus simple, put calls to action in prominent positions, don’t overshadow the site with ads and promotions, if you have site search, make search box prominent at top of the page and ensure search results are relevant and add filters to help refine the search.
- Easy Conversions – Drive conversions by putting your website visitors in control. Don’t create barriers by asking for too much personal information. Pre-fill fields with existing information, provide click-to-call buttons for complex tasks.
- Easy Forms – Steam-line all forms. Add features that makes form entry easier. Offer simple input methods such as a calendar to choose a date, make forms fast and efficient for the users.
- Easy on Mobile – It is easier for the mobile user if all your web pages are optimised and designed for mobile. Don’t make users pinch and zoom text, make sure they can read it upon landing on the page. Make images expandable. Tell users which orientation works best. Don’t give them a reason to open new windows, keep them engaged on your site.
- Make It Fast – 40% of consumers will leave a page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. Optimise content delivery, test on a range of devices and if possible, build Accelerated Mobile Pages into your site which will download in super-quick time.
Whizz Marketing is a Google Partner Agency and SEO Company in Hampshire. If you would like more information on adapting your website to be mobile-responsive and to rank well in the Mobile-First Index, please get in touch on 01252 622129 or visit whizzmarketing.co.uk