Mobile-first index still months away
Google announced late last year that it will soon implement a major reform to search ranking. Experimenting with a new mobile-first index, the change will be made gradually, ensuring that the user experience is not affected. Although they have no exact timing, Google has stated that it is likely to launch sometime this year. The fact remains that all businesses will need to adjust to this new algorithm. That means making plans and taking action.
What is the mobile-first index?
Google, understandably, needs its index and search results to represent and work well for the majority of their users. The search engine index is a catalog of documents and web pages collated by crawling the web through links. Historically, Google has always crawled these links from a desktop browser perspective. However, for the last two years, mobile devices have been used for more than half of all the searches. Striving to make the user experience better for mobile users in many ways, Google has now turned its attention to the index.
Google is therefore in the process of developing the mobile-first index specifically for this purpose. Basically, this means that it will soon be splitting its index between mobile and desktop, by creating a new index based on the mobile version of content. When this change happens, the new mobile version will act as Google’s primary index. This means that it will eventually create and rank its results based solely on mobile content. Even if your users search from a desktop, everyone now needs to take a responsive approach to mobile searches.
How should you prepare?
There is no need to panic if your desktop site is not ready to be indexed for mobile. Improving the site is a relatively easy process. The goal is simply to improve the user experience for everyone, whether using a mobile or a desktop. This means firstly paying attention to the current functionality and content of all pages. Google has said that they will continue to index desktop sites accurately, even if they are using a mobile agent to view the site. They have also indicated that their goal is that the new index should not impact the overall rankings.
Those that already have a mobile site, will need to assess the content and links. They need to be similar enough on the mobile site to the desktop version. This will allow Google to locate and index the relevant content as accurately as it did on the desktop version. If there is less content on the mobile page, then it is likely that it may only see the mobile version. Google itself recommends that the content is exactly the same on both versions of your site. Existing mobile pages should all, therefore, be optimized, tested and reviewed for great content.
Mobile-first index: Let Wordapp perfect your mobile content
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