Mobile-first indexing is a common term amongst web designers and marketers alike. Mobile devices make up nearly 57% of all web traffic. With numbers this high, it’s hard to ignore it and Google thinks the exact same.

Google have been pushing mobile-first indexing for a long time; they announced a roll out of mobile-first indexing back in March 2018. Read the full article here.

In the article mentioned above, Google states that your website rank isn’t directly affected, but suggests that users with better content and mobile-friendly websites may be favoured. I predict this will becoming a much larger ranking factor in the Google updates to come. You heard it here first!

As part of Google’s continual efforts to improve the user experience for their users based on the latest trends and behaviours in the world of the internet, it is encouraged to support the needs of their users, hence the step in this direction.

What exactly is mobile-first indexing?

I’m glad you asked. To answer that, let’s go back. Google previously scanned each website desktop view with a crawler (which is something that Google uses to scan your website.) Now, Google is doing the same thing – but scanning mobiles first, hence the name ‘mobile-first indexing’! See the diagram below which explains this in more detail:

What does mobile-indexing affect?

Mobile Ranking

Mobile-first indexing doesn’t directly affect your ranking positions for desktop. Although, this affects your rank on mobile searches. Your competition could outrank your website if they have a more optimised site for mobile. So don’t miss out on that traffic!

Crawl Counts Increased

The number of Googlebots crawling your website from a smartphone will increase. Rather than the majority of crawls from desktop, it’s now mobile. Crawlers are Google’s robots that search the internet, indexes your pages and then sorts this data into their ranking system through a series of algorithms which determine your ranking position.

Slow Loading Mobile Content

A slow mobile is likely to rank lower than other websites that perform a lot faster. There is a bit of confusion amongst business owners and what this means for their business and their website. Discover how mobile speed is becoming a ranking factor for mobile search.

Considerate Web Design for Mobile

If the users visiting your website are presented with buttons that are too small and find your website difficult to navigate because it simply isn’t optimised well, Googlebots will pick this up because it frustrates users and gives them a poor experience.

Is desktop dead?

No, it’s far from dead! Desktop still makes up for a large chunk of all traffic (43% on average to be exact!) and it would definitely be foolish to ignore. Although, this can vary between businesses. If your market is targeting b2b you’re typically more likely to be seen from desktop.

Is your website mobile-first ready?

You can run a test on your website using Google’s Mobile Friendly Tester If your website comes back as not mobile-friendly, it will offer you insights into how to improve this.
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