Google’s Mobile First Indexing: Bane or Boon?

| Mobile SEO

With today’s advancement in technology where smartphones are becoming an essential part of every human being’s life; Google, the search engine giant, has been making moves to shift some of its focus on mobile search.

Outdated Algorithm

As per Google’s post on their official blog, majority of the people nowadays have been using their mobile devices for searches with 56% coming from mobile while 44% still coming from desktop. However, the problem lies with the currently used ranking system which still evaluates the relevance of the content on the desktop point of view rather than mobile. It is prospected that in the future, sites having lesser content in mobile than in desktop will have a big problem on this.

Mobile First Indexing

While Google will still continue the existing single algorithm standard for evaluating mobile and desktop contents, it will eventually move its focus on “mobile first” where mobile content of the site would be the main basis of Google for ranking websites. All of the snippets that will be used would be from the mobile version of the site.

On the Safe Zone

Websites that are safe from this algorithm change are responsive and dynamic websites where its primary content and data markups are equivalent both in mobile and on the desktop version. Changes are not necessary on these sites—in fact ranking boosts are more likely to happen to them.

Should I press the Panic Button?

Apparently no, but you need to be vigilant. As per Google’s post, they are still working with this and trying to make it as fair as possible for both mobile sites and those without mobile sites. However, if you are a site owner of a non-responsive site, it is now the time to consider changing your old site to a responsive site. You cannot take this update for granted and take Google’s word, better be prepared than sorry.

How can I prepare for the mobile-first indexing?

Add Primary Contents

Since, Google will go ‘mobile first’ on how they index, you should take your time to bulk up your content now. It’s time to add missing contents from the desktop site to the mobile site.

Optimize Hidden Contents in Accordions and Menus

Do not take hidden contents in accordion and menus for granted. If it was devalued before, it would be given full-weight on the new ranking algorithm.

You can take this word from Google’s John Mueller:

“From our point of view, it’s always a tricky problem when we send a user to a page where we know this content is actually hidden. Because the user will see perhaps the content in the snippet, they’ll click through the page, and say, well, I don’t see where this information is on this page. I feel kind of almost misled to click on this to actually get in there. So that’s…the problem that we’re seeing. …we’ve gone a little bit further now to actively ignore the information that’s not directly visible. So if you want that content really indexed, I’d make sure it’s visible for the users when they go to that page.”

Go Responsive

By going responsive, you won’t have to worry about the contents on your mobile site be it lacking compared to the desktop version or not. With this move, you will be assured that both versions of your site would have the same volume of content.