Google’s mobile first index and SEO implications
Google’s previous announcements related to mobile search
February 2015 – Google made its first announcement related to mobile search where it stated mobile friendliness will be used as a ranking factor. https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
May 2015 – In a blog article, Google internal data confirmed that more searches take place on mobile than on desktop in 10 countries.
November 2016 – Google officially announced they will be experimenting with Mobile-first indexing.Google announced this almost a year after they officially confirmed that Google searches are more on mobiles than on desktops. In fact, more than 85% of their results are mobile-friendly and more than 50% of their search queries are from mobile devices.
So, if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site yet, your rank will somehow be affected in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
How Google evolves to mobile first indexing
Google mobile index and impact on SEO
So, what can you do to ensure your website meets Google’s mobile-first index requirement?
– The very first thing that you need to ensure is that both, your desktop and mobile versions serve structured markup data. You can verify if the markup is same across the desktop and mobile versions by typing URLs of both versions into the structured data testing tool and comparing the results.
Important Tip: When adding structured data to your mobile version, don’t add large amounts of markup, especially if it’s not relevant to the content on that page.
– The next key thing you need to remember is to use the robots.txt testing tool. This will verify if your website is accessible to Googlebot or not.
– Also, if only your desktop version is verified in Search Console and verify your mobile version as well.
– However, there’s no need to make any changes to the canonical links. Google will continue to make use of these links as guides in order to serve suitable results to users searching on their mobiles or desktops.
Moving forward, when given a choice between the mobile version and the desktop version, Google will look at the mobile version first. Hence, if content on your mobile site is lesser as compared to your desktop site, then that could pose a problem.This is one of the reasons why Google recommends a responsive site. The content will remain the same on your mobile as well as the desktop version.
The good thing, however, is that Google is still months away from rolling this out completely as they are still testing the ‘mobile-first index’ concept. This means that you have time to make the necessary changes to your website and get your website ready for mobile.
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