Improve Google Rankings with Mobile-First Indexing

Mobile-first indexing is coming for us all – don’t delay, prepare today. We share how to improve Google rankings in time for the launch.

SEO has always been about getting your stuff found online. Outsmarting the competition, and Google for that matter.

This has been an obsession of ours since the inception of the internet all those years ago. We are forever looking for the best ways to improve Google rankings for our clients.

We spend hours training staff on everything possible – the algorithms, technical SEO, content marketing and the link building (so many links!)

Then, when we think we have everything nailed on, something incredible happened. We should have seen it coming, mobile was dominating, and suddenly Google pulled out all the stops.

SEO had changed forever.

There have been several ‘pinch me’ moments over the years. We all remember Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird. What about all those changes to ranking for local SEO keywords? The biggest change, however, has been the mobile update.

So, what is Mobile-first indexing? It’s a change in the way Google looks at content. Mobile-first indexing was first introduced in November 2016. More and more people were searching on their mobiles, but Google’s ranking systems favoured desktop only.

What does mobile indexing mean for you? It turns out this will have a huge impact on your business once it’s rolled out. It goes without saying that to be in with a chance of ranking on Google, you need a responsive website.

In this article, we’ll discuss how mobile-first indexing will impact SEO and what you can do to prepare.

Why are we seeing a shift towards mobile-first indexing?

60% of all online searches are now carried out on a mobile device. Along with other similar mobile statistics, this is proof that optimisation for mobile devices is key to SEO success in 2018.

Mobile-first indexing is exactly as it sounds. It will consider your mobile version as the primary site that will be indexed by Google. It is not called mobile-only for a reason as it doesn’t completely render your desktop site irrelevant. If you don’t have a mobile version of a landing page, or your site is not optimised for mobile search, Google will still index your desktop site. But, be warned; lack of a mobile-friendly experience may have a negative impact on your rankings as Google will favour a website optimised for mobile search over yours.

With us so far? So far, so good. You may also want to consider a change in view of your mobile site. Until recently, a desktop version of a site was prioritised as it was treated as the most comprehensive version with extended content, structured schema markup and the majority of backlinks.

What should I do about mobile first indexing?

First things first, do not panic. There’s no need to worry, especially if your site is responsive already (and you are happy with your rankings.) You probably won’t notice a drop in ranking. We’re saying probably because no one can predict exactly what will happen. That said, even if you do have a responsive website, it’s common sense to run a website audit to test for load speed, image display and hidden content. Note that with mobile-first indexing, content that was previously hidden due to space limitations will be displayed on mobile.

Is the mobile-first index live now? If not, when will it be launched?

The mobile revolution has been a long time coming. We don’t know the answer to this for sure. What we do know is that Google is currently rolling out tests on a number of smaller sites based on the ability to process the update. A wider extension of the index is expected to hit later this year with a focus on responsive websites. We’ll monitor this and keep you updated with any changes. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.

We hope this overview has helped you plan for mobile first indexing. If you have any further questions, then we’d be happy to take your call. Get in touch on 01226 720 755.

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