Why Optimising Websites For Mobiles Is More Important Than Ever with Google’s Mobile First Index
It is predicted that in 2017 74% of all Google web searches will be performed on a mobile device. Because of this exponential growth in mobile use over the last few years and the expected growth yet to come, Google is changing the way it ranks websites by keeping its results relevant to the device on which the majority of users are searching the web – welcome the mobile first index.
Google recently released a statement about its mobile first index that will change the way we look at website design, content and optimisation going forward into next year.
“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices. “– Google.
Long story short: Google is now indexing mobile content first which means that they crawl mobile versions of websites for ranking signals before they search desktop versions. Google will then use this mobile content when deciding how to rank its results, regardless of whether the user is searching on a mobile device or desktop. Now, the desktop version is only indexed when there is no mobile version available. Google’s decision to prioritise mobile devices means that the content, links and structured data on the mobile version of your site is more important than the desktop version and will have more influence in determining how highly you rank. It’s no longer a matter of whether or not you should have a ‘mobile-friendly’ version of your website; if you’re not mobile-friendly or the content on your mobile site isn’t easily accessible then you’re not in Google’s good books.
How Do We Optimise Now?
Google have previously said that content which isn't mobile-friendly will not rank as well as content that is. This remains true for the new index as ranking singles will come from your mobile site not your desktop version, meaning that it will crawl your site from a mobile perspective. When writing content, we have to be mindful of what mobile users are looking for: information has to be concise, easy to digest and easily accessible to people searching on mobile devices. If you have content displayed on your desktop which is hidden from view on your mobile site (perhaps from a page loading speed perspective), this could affect your ranking ability for various keywords. Equally, displaying ads or pop ups on your mobile site and not your desktop could be affecting the user experience which could have a negative impact on your ranking ability. Instead of concentrating your efforts on the desktop version, the focus now must be on giving the user the best experience and content possible on a mobile device.
As more and more searches happen on mobile and as more traffic comes from mobile devices than desktops, it makes sense that Google wants its index and results to represent what the majority of their users want. Instead of crawling the web from a desktop point of view, it’s now a mobile perspective that takes priority. In the future, Google have said that they plan to have only one index that’s based on mobile content, stating that “our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site.”
We can make sure your business isn’t left behind. Our services will ensure that your website is correctly optimised for mobile devices. If you’re worried about how your rankings might be affected by this change in Google indexing, give our SEO experts a call.