All You Need to Know About Google’s Mobile First Index

By Paul Morris

Google Mobile First Indexing

Google’s mobile first index means that the search engine giant will soon be organising its search results based on the mobile version of websites, only calling on desktop versions when there isn’t a mobile version to index. Whether you’re searching Google on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile, you will soon be presented with the same mobile first index.

The implications of this for search engine optimisation are potentially significant, especially for those without a mobile friendly version of their website, so let’s explore the whens, whys and hows.

When is Google launching its mobile first index?

Launch date is still uncertain with Gary Illyes from Google stating that it is ‘unlikely to launch before 2018‘, partly due to issues around maintaining ‘quality neutral‘ search results, something Google is very keen to keep. It’s also likely that the Mobile First Index will be released in ‘batches as opposed to one big switch over, with Illyes claiming the SMX Advanced conference in June 2017 that the launch could be ‘many quarters‘ away.

Google Mobile First Indexing

Why is Google implementing a mobile first index?

Google has always crawled websites to present results for the benefit of its desktop users, but as mobile search has long outweighed desktop search (and continues to grow), the Californian tech giant has decided to switch things up. The aim is to deliver the most comprehensive and efficient experience for the majority of its users; that is mobile users.

Another issue is the potential discrepancies between mobile and desktop versions of the same website. As mobile versions of a website sometimes contain less content than their desktop version, Google has recognised this can cause issues for mobile users. Mobile search results displaying results garnered from desktop-oriented sites may indicate that a particular website contains the information a user needs to access, but when they click through and are redirected to the mobile site, those key pieces of information may be missing. By introducing a mobile first index, pages that appear on desktop but not on mobile, will no longer appear in the SERPs, ensuring mobile users get more accurate search results.

What if I don’t have a mobile website?

The good news is that there’s no need to panic. If you don’t have a mobile version of your website up and running, Google’s crawlers will still automatically crawl and index your site. In a 2016 blog post Google released guidance relating to website owners on the introduction of its mobile first index. It states that it is in fact more valuable to have a fully functional desktop only website, than an incomplete mobile version.

As if to confuse things though (and Google does like to do this from time to time) it looks like Google may use some desktop signals in its mobile first search results, at least to start with. Gary Illyes has confirmed that the company may ‘smear‘ search results, as a result of less links on mobile sites, something that could throw Google’s Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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