This month Google is rolling out it’s long-awaited mobile-first indexing for the entire web.
What does that mean? What is mobile-first indexing? Do you need to do anything different?
First, let’s take a moment to explain mobile-first indexing.
Mobile-First Indexing: What Is It?
Mobile-first indexing essentially means that, going forward, Google is going to use the mobile version of sites to determine what shows up in their site index information.
Um… site index information?
That’s what shows up when you perform a search. A URL. A page title that doubles as a link. And a short description.
Google used to get that “index information” from the desktop version of sites. But from now on, they’ll be using what shows up in mobile.
It’s important to understand that there will not be separate indexes for desktop and mobile. Whatever Google indexes for mobile, that’s what’s going to show up for your site.
So the name’s a bit misleading. It’s not “mobile-first indexing” so much as “mobile-only indexing.”
Do You Need to Worry about Mobile-First Indexing?
For most people, that answer will be no. Sites with responsive design (which includes, for example, pretty much everything on WordPress) are basically the same on desktop and mobile.
Which means the index should more or less be the same.
Which means your ranking shouldn’t really be affected.
Is there anyone who does need to worry?
Yes. Those who have separate desktop and mobile sites — particularly those with different information.
In other words, if you designed a separate mobile site that only has some of the information and functionality of your “main” desktop site, this is bad. You have some work to do. And you should do it fast.
The goal needs to be parity between desktop and mobile, with an eye towards mobile-friendliness.
How Do You Know If Your Site Is Mobile-Friendly?
This one’s easy: use Google’s mobile-friendliness test.
If we have recently designed, redesigned, or completed SEO work for your site, we’ve already checked this test for you. And you’ve passed! And if we’re doing ongoing technical SEO or UX work for you, we’re monitoring your site to ensure you continue to pass.
If you don’t pass, there are a number of things you can do to improve the experience of using your site for mobile visitors.
First, check your Google Search Console. You’ll find a list of pages with Mobile Usability errors that you can address.
And from there, think about the specific task your visitors want to complete
- Make the menu sticky
- Always offer search
- Stick to two or three colors
- Stick to two or three fonts
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short
- Go big on buttons
- Optimize for speed
These are just a few of the bigger things you can do. There are plenty of others.
If you want to really get into the nitty-gritty with mobile-first indexing, Google has a page covering steps you can take to optimize your site.
Want help making sure your site is ready for mobile-first indexing? Reach out for a free initial consultation!