Mobile First Indexing – What is it?

Mobile First Indexing - What is it?

A few months ago Google announced they were going start indexing websites mobile first, and we’ve recently seen the first sites starting to use it. This has caused some worry about how this will affect rankings and organic traffic, but you don’t need to!

What is it?

Mobile First Indexing isn’t far from what it sounds like – it basically means that Google Search will look at the mobile version of a website before the desktop version. If your website has two different sets of content for your mobile and desktop viewers, Google will start ranking your website based on just your mobile site. If your website hasn’t been built for mobile, your cause for concern is likely still unfounded.

Will it affect my website?

This shouldn’t affect most websites, as a large portion of websites do not have separate content for mobile and desktop, however you can find out more from Google’s own best practices. The main type of website that will need to look at their search engine optimisation will be those that serve their mobile users on a separate URL. A common example of this is from social networks such a Twitter, who redirect their mobile users to m.twitter.com.

Google has already been measuring how mobile friendly your website is in a previous mobile-friendly update.

What should I do if it does affect me?

If your website does serve mobile users different content, you should make sure you follow these key rules:

  • Your mobile and desktop site should have the same content. This includes text, images and videos. If your mobile site has different content, you should update it to be equivalent with the desktop site.
  • Any structured data should be on all versions of your site. Additionally, all structured data URLs on your mobile site should be updated to use mobile URLs.
  • Ensure that rel=canonical and rel=alternate link your mobile and desktop content to avoid duplicate content.
  • Page metadata should be the same on both versions of your site.

If you haven’t done this, we do know that mobile first indexing is done on a per page basis, so your whole site won’t be moved over to this new method at once.

Why did this come about?

As mobile users represent an ever-growing part of the web it only makes sense for Google to look at the content seen by these users. Since 2015 more searches have taken place on mobile devices and this has only grown since.

Digital Provide SEO services to businesses around Essex. If you would like to learn more about upcoming industry changes, or simply need help ranking your website higher on Google, why not have a chat with one of our in-house SEO exports on 0845 557 1186.


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