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Mobile First Indexing – Are You Really Prepared?

2016 saw mobile web browsing overtake desktop web browsing for the first time. Given this fact it’s hardly surprising that concentrating on optimising the mobile user experience is the source of such effort by Google, and by any website owner who wants to remain competitive in the marketplace. Make no mistake, if you want to optimise your marketing online, you need to put the mobile experience at the forefront of your efforts, to attract custom and to fare well with Google.

For a significant amount of time, Google has recognised the importance of mobile. This became more apparent when Mobilegeddon hit in 2015. Let’s take a look at the story so far and examine what the next chapter, “mobile first indexing”, means for you.

Google’s History With Mobile

When Google determines rankings, its main aim is to make the Internet a better place for all users. It follows that as mobile web browsing has come to prominence, Google’s interest in the mobile user experience has followed suit. Although Mobilegeddon was not the big bang that many expected, it was important. It meant that Google was looking to reward mobile friendly websites in its rankings.

However, point to note that if your site is not mobile-friendly, its ranking won’t suffer on Desktop Google search but it would likely to suffer in Mobile Google Search as that Mobilegeddon meant to reward the sites in mobile search which are fully responsive and offer the best user experience to users when viewed on mobile devices.

What Does Being Mobile Friendly Mean?

From Google’s point of view, what it looks for with regard to a mobile friendly site is actually fairly simple.

  • Sites should be easy to read when using a mobile device. There should be no need for the user to scroll (horizontally) or to zoom to see the content.
  • All links and buttons should be easy to access using a touch screen. For instance, if you have used a touch screen device, you know how difficult it can be to access links that are positioned too close together.
  • Users should be able to load all content using a mobile device. Some website owners restrict the amount of content that can be viewed on the mobile version of the site so that the load time is not too slow. This does not help with rankings if it means that mobile users are missing out on certain

These factors are taken into account in Google’s algorithm, so it’s important to pay attention to them.

What is Mobile First Indexing?

Mobile first indexing is the next chapter in Google’s mobile story. There are no definitive dates for the rollout of the new process, but it’s likely to take place throughout 2017. In order to understand what mobile first indexing entails, you need to be aware of the current process.

As things stand, Googlebot searches new content and websites and the information gathered is stored in an index and used when Google produces search results. The desktop version of the website is used to gather the information.

When mobile first indexing is introduced the same searches will be conducted, but the mobile version of the website will be used. This is another major step in Google’s ethos of recognising the importance of the mobile user experience.

What does this mean for your business?

What Google looks for in a mobile friendly website is not changing. If you already have a mobile friendly website, which mirrors your desktop site, the chances are that you will not be affected that much. If your mobile site has less content than your desktop site, then you really need to start making changes.

The trick is to start thinking of mobile in the first instance, and everything should fall into place. Using responsive web design is a good place to start. It’s also Google’s recommended option. The flexible grid layouts mean that your content fits the size of the screen on which it’s being viewed.

This is only the foundation for optimising your mobile presence though. If you really want to make the most of the potential mobile audience, you need to design your website with mobile in mind, and then make adjustments for desktop, if necessary.

If you do this, then you can also ensure that you are ready when mobile first indexing is rolled out. You need to ensure that all of the information you want people to see is available on your mobile website; do not forget that it’s this content which is going to be used to determine your search engine rankings.

When designing a website for mobile, you also need to think about page load time. Do not forget that Google considers page load times as part of its algorithm. It’s also worth mentioning that mobile users tend to expect a page load time of around three seconds. They are tempted to look elsewhere if page load times are slow.

You should already be dedicated to providing a good user experience for mobile users, given the high numbers of people who could be accessing your website this way. The only real change with the introduction of mobile first indexing is that your mobile web presence will be given priority when determining your search engine rankings.

What If Your Business Does not Have a Mobile Web presence?

If you do not have a mobile-friendly web presence, you really should be questioning why. You cannot afford to miss out on attracting people who browse the Internet using a mobile device. Having said this, there are businesses that run websites that are only optimized for desktop.

If this applies to you, it’s important for you to know that Google will still use your desktop site to collect information from when mobile first indexing is introduced, as there is no mobile web presence to use.

If you are thinking of developing a mobile friendly website, do not rush the work just because of the mobile first index. It’s better to take your time and make sure you get the design and content right.

Mobile first indexing has been in the pipeline since it was first announced by Google last year. If you need to do any work, to ensure that your rankings are not adversely affected, you really should get started, so that your preparations are complete when the new indexing system is finally rolled out.

Comments (23)

  • Hi Artish

    The world is becoming mobile already and google’s so aware of that!

    89% of a website’s visitors come from mobile and even without the announce of this Google’s “Mobile First Indexing” for rankings website owners should try and make their websites friendly for Mobile users.

    Thanks for the great information.
    Prosper Noah recently posted…The Exact 1-Strategy I used to Pull 4,175 Page Views in a DayMy Profile

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  • Hi Atish,

    Yes you are correct even for my site also most of the users come from mobile only.

    Thanks to face book and whats app for that.

    Thanks!
    Poonam Kaushal recently posted…Things You Must Know About Bitcoins Before InvestingMy Profile

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  • Hello My Lovely Brother,
    What a Great Post Appreciated For the Share! yes I Totally Agreed With you, 73% of a website’s visitors come from mobile, Tablets But Your Article is Awesome,
    Well Written and Keep Up The Good Work,

    Have a Nice Day Ahead,
    Muhammad Tabish recently posted…8 Tips: How To Use LinkedIn To Drive Traffic To Your Website?My Profile

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  • Hi Atish,
    People are moving towards the mobile devices, as it becomes a lot easier to operate or work on a device which is easily carryable.
    So, the mobile first index is useful, and good is your post.

    Thanks for the share.
    Have a good week ahead.
    Robin Khokhar recently posted…HOW MUCH TIME DOES SEO TAKE TO START WORKING?My Profile

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  • Basically, only the pages affected will be pages who have a mobile version that doesn’t include the same content as the desktop version. Again, it’s important to note “page level”here. If we look at our AMPproject.org example above, we see that much of the content is a case study. If that case study had a mobile version that didn’t include all of the content that the desktop page did, then it would suffer from this change. IF, however, that case study ONLY had desktop pages – it would still rank! It’d just be ugly on mobile phones. That’s an important distinction.
    Sagar Nandwani recently posted…Make your I-Phone Touch to Work with GlovesMy Profile

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  • Great Article Atish,

    Agree with your all points, nowadays responsive design and good UI is key to success for web owners and bloggers..!!
    Saurabh tiwari recently posted…How to Come up with Blog Posts Ideas Your Audience Will LoveMy Profile

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  • Hi Atish, I taste the dish of mobile first indexing for my newly developed website that is dealing with themes themeauthor.com and as per our idea most of the time people browse such sites using desktop or bigger screen so that they could get the taste of the theme. But when we indexed the site using google console this error message appeared and believe me since then google stopped sending qualified results on our website.
    rakesh kumar recently posted…Best Gift Gallery WordPress theme-Affiliate ThemeMy Profile

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  • Good read, Atish! I totally agree with what you have shared. Zooming in to see the content of the website on a mobile devise should be a thing in the past now. Businesses would definitely gain more after applying your recommendations. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Great post Atish! Website owners and businesses should really consider making their websites more mobile friendly.
    Transport George recently posted…One Half’s Offshoring Accounting ServicesMy Profile

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  • It’s really very important to have website mobile friendly perform better in SERP’s. And also to provide best of information from the website to the mobile user. I found this article really very informative for me. Thank you, Sir.

    Reply
  • Hi Atish,

    Thanks for sharing this useful information regarding mobile friendliness. As we all know that most of the website becoming mobile friendly. And I heard from someone that amp is also an important factor in mobile SEO world. I also want to make my website mobile friendly and amp enables but I am not that much aware of it. So can you explain me about the amp and if possible please suggest me best amp WordPress plugin.

    Reply
  • Hi Atish

    The information about Mobile first has really shocked me!! I prepared my website in 2 years and now I need to create a mobile app… Things are getting harder and harder. I added a lot of free tools for professional networking, job seekers and for buyers and sellers. Now I need to optimise my site for mobile.

    Regards
    Ryan Smith
    xpo-online

    Reply
  • As u have written the Google Mobile First Indexing is about to roll out in 2017, I think they have already started testing it too. The sites having “amp” at last of their URLs are being indexed in Google SERP and also these pages loads very fast in spite of having very huge content.
    Nice Article though.
    Apoorv recently posted…How to setup CloudFlare Free CDN for your Blog – With PicturesMy Profile

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  • Hi Atish,

    Great topic to write about.

    Google is giving top priority to mobile first indexing just because of one reason: it knows that smartphone users are growing rapidly.

    Almost everyone these days are using their mobiles to browse information and buy products online.

    So if your site is not mobile-friendly, you’re losing a lot of money and traffic.

    Also make sure to implement AMP (there’s a free plugin) to get great results from mobile first indexing.

    Ultimate post and great information Atish!

    Reply
    • Author

      Hello Anil,

      Glad you liked the post. Yes, Google is pretty determined to offer the best experience to Smartphone users because the numbers growing rapidly.

      Thanks for coming by.

      Reply
  • I wasn’t aware that the mobile site could be different from my desktop website till my VA did A/B testing and informed me that some of the information that was showing on my mobile was not showing on my desktop. It was a rare case but I would like to advise others to always do a test.
    Otherwise, good write up!

    Reply
  • Mobile usability traffic is increasing nowadays when we compare to desktop users. So it is better to make the website responsive and make indexing first for a better organic result.The post is good it has really brought up the current trend recommendations. Thanks

    Reply
  • Does WP plugin of AMP gives a complete solution for AMP pages or we have to do custom? As i am wondering whether i use AMP plugin or do custom.

    Reply
    • Author

      Hello Jane,

      I am personally not using AMP yet. However, use the plugin, test things out, and if needed, you need to do some changes in the setting of the plugin.

      Reply
  • notable Article Atish,

    agree with your all points, in recent times responsive design and desirable UI is key to fulfillment for web proprietors and bloggers..!!
    Chorlatte recently posted…Udemy Coupon : 99% Off Udemy Coupons, Promo Codes & Deals, December 2017My Profile

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  • Hi Atish, We too agree that mobile experience should be put in the front of your efforts so that you can attract more customers. Your website should be mobile compatible as it is the only source which people are using in maximum. Good explanation of mobile first indexing. Got much information from your article regarding mobile first indexing. Truly impressed by the point where you mentioned how your business is going to affect you if you do not have a mobile web presence.
    Thank you for the great article

    Reply
  • Hi Artish,Now a days mobile is important one thing,simply said,you have mobile ,you have world in your hand, now a days all business based on your mobile,customer interaction is very important for business, mobile is very useful to find customers,now a days social media very useful for business,this all happened only for mobiles,day to day desktop users are decreased,Now all people have mobile.you have briefly explained mobile indexing,Very useful for us,keep going,all the best.
    Regards ,
    Kalaivani
    kalaivani recently posted…Detective Conan Filler List | The Ultimate Anime Filler GuideMy Profile

    Reply

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