December 6, 2016
Google launched mobile-first indexing on Nov. 4, linking the mobile factor to the game of indexing for better results and ranking in its search results.
For years, we have been searching on Google using our desktop platforms, and Google has never failed us. This, of course, was back before Smartphones, when all searching took place via desktop. This made it easier for webmasters, managing with a single website configuration.
But, with the rise of technology, the trends changed and mobile search now outpaces desktop search.
On this Google said:“Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues when the mobile page has less content than the desktop page because our algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.”
This answers the question of why mobile indexing is needed.
User experience is the prime factor to consider for all website owners and developers. However, in the last couple of years, things have changed, Users are searching from mobile websites and desktop versions simultaneously. Search platforms were increasing and, as s a result, user experience was degrading.
By announcing mobile indexing first, Google has certainly raised the competition level and the need to put in some extra effort.
But what about those who don’t have mobile sites? If you have only a desktop website, Google will continue to rank your website with your desktop version.
For years, there have been several updates and changes to the algorithm with the prime focus to improve user experience. At the same time, Google has provided different opportunities for businesses to improve their online business revenues. But, because more and more users are now using mobile, this indexing move has been implemented which treats both desktop and mobile search rankings separately.
How should you prepare? Ask the question to Google and it says it is prepared to help you. Follow these recommendations by Google and you’re good to go.
If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
- Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version. Sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output. When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
- Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
- Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
- If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
The question is, can mobile indexing prove to be a game changer? The answer is yes.
According to statistics, by the end of 2017, the number of mobile phone users is forecast to reach 4.77 billion. Currently there are 1.2 billion people across the globe who prefer using mobile to browse the Web.
Mobile websites were browsed and apps downloaded approximately 10.9 billion times. Eighty-five percent of new handsets sold now have the ability to access the Web and the percentage is expected to be 100 percent in the next few years.
The numbers are something you can escape but can’t ignore.
For those who are set to launch their mobile versions Google said:
“If you are building a mobile version of your site, keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It’s better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready.”
It is now time for those who ignored the importance of mobile to prepare themselves accordingly.
James Jones is a seasoned digital marketing expert who loves to write about subjects that help small businesses grow their brands. James cares about people and businesses, and tries to show it through his writing by producing both generous and accurate content. He stays abreast of industry trends and news, making it easy for him to stay relevant. When James is not spending time helping clients conquer their niche online — you can find him hanging out with friends. He also enjoys meeting new people and welcomes you to engage with him on social media through Twitter and Google+.