With more searches occurring on mobile, Google is making a giant shift with its Mobile-First Index which could be the death of Desktop Index in the future — or not, depending on the results of the “experimentation.”
Yes, Google has begun testing its mobile-first index, where ranking signals will depend on the mobile version of one’s website regardless of whether you’re on desktop or mobile.
Mobile Version versus Mobile-Friendly
Not all websites are mobile-friendly ones. And not all mobile-ready websites are considered mobile versions. How do you differentiate these? From full standard webpages, mobile-friendly websites are also called responsive websites which adjust the size of the font, image etc in order to deliver better user experience when using other devices such as smartphones and tables that have smaller screens compared to your desktops and laptops. Mobile version of your website, on the other hand, are basically an alternate version of your full website that is best viewed and “touched” on smaller devices — meaning bigger fonts, simpler navigation, and less images to improve the loading time of the said version.
No Mobile Site? Google Will Rank Your Desktop Site
There is no need to worry if your website does not have a mobile version. Google will just use the original desktop version to rank your website. Also, there is nothing special that you need to do if your website is already responsive or mobile-friendly. Google wrote, “[I]f you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.”
Optimise If You Don’t Have a Mobile Site
Every SEO service provider knows that optimisation in all forms is imperative with every algorithm that Google rolls out. In this case, mobile optimisation is a must. Here are some things that you can do to improve the mobile experience of users and get a mobile-friendly ranking boost:
- Responsive design
- Loading speed
- Hosting speed
- Home page and site navigation; Make it easy to go back to the homepage, and easily find the page you want users to take action on
- Make calls to action visible
- Form entry — choose the simplest input method for each task
- Don’t make users pinch to zoom.
If you want to run your own tests and see what your website needs to be optimised, check these support sites by Google:
- Mobile-Friendly Websites — https://developers.google.com/webmasters/mobile-sites/
- Mobile-Friendly Test — https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly
- Mobile Usability Report — https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/6101188?hl=en
As Google is still “testing the waters,” regarding this change, be prepared and be on top of any search engine optimisation shift!