After more than a year of tests and teasing the world, Google recently announced that they have begun implementing their mobile-first indexing for sites that follow their guidelines for best practices.
Ever since mobile Google searches began to overtake desktop searches we’ve known that Google would look to change-up how they approach ranking or indexing their search results. This is exactly what the new mobile-first search indexing addresses. So, first things first.
What is mobile-first indexing?
When Google first started out the only thing it considered when ranking search results was the desktop version of a website. That’s because at the time of Google’s launch way back in 1998, no one really used their cell phones for more than anything other than making calls (or the occasional game of snake). And even though, the first smart phone technically came out in 1992, the explosion of mobile device use and web surfing with those devices didn’t really hit its stride until around 2007 when a little something called iPhone debuted. I know, I’ve never heard of it either.
Anyway, after the smart phone began to take off and people began to access the internet from their phones, companies decided to start creating mobile versions of their websites. Often times these mobile versions were limited and differed from the full desktop version. Since the iPhone and other comparable smartphones have since saturated the market, more and more people are using their phones to surf the web and visit websites. Not only are they visiting websites on mobile devices, but they are regularly Googling on these devices. This is exactly why Google has begun to make the shift to mobile-first indexing.
Essentially what this means is that instead of referring to the desktop version of your website as was the norm before, moving forward Google will begin looking to the mobile versions of websites for indexing. This means as mobile-first indexing rolls out, Google will refer to the mobile site for any websites that have both a desktop and mobile version of the site.
How will this change to Google’s indexing affect you?
Now for the part that everyone is really concerned about. Will these changes that Google is making to its approach affect you? Short answer, maybe, but probably not. IF you happen to be running a website that is not mobile-friendly you could be negatively impacted by the changes, but honestly, at this point mobile browsing is commonplace so most sites are designed with mobile in mind.
If this would have been implemented a few years ago this could have potentially been a much bigger deal. But the fact of the matter is most companies out there have a done a pretty good job of trying to keep up with the times and making sure their sites are mobile-friendly at the very least or gone even further and embraced what we here at Randall-Reilly recommend, a responsive site design. What’s that?
Responsive Site Design
Responsive site design means that a website will display content in the ideal viewing format depending on what the user is accessing the site with, regardless of if that happens to be a desktop computer, smart phone, tablet, or other mobile device.
Basically what it all comes down to is how do you approach mobile? As long as you haven’t completely ignored mobile devices you probably won’t even notice it. But don’t take it from me, here’s a breakdown of how Google says things will change:
Quality content still matters most.
It’s important to note that by implementing mobile-first indexing, Google is not creating a second way of ranking or qualifying search results. Instead, it is merely switching it’s focus from that of the desktop to the mobile device. Google has always prided itself on providing users with a quality experience and has released a multitude of updates over the years to try to make sure of that.
This new update to how it approaches mobile indexing is just a logical next step in helping build the future of Google around the growing mobile culture we live in. In the end, the quality of the content you offer will still hold the most sway moving forward. Google will continue to do their best to accurately rank trusted and quality content higher than low quality content, and that will not change as they move forward with mobile-first indexing.