Google is rolling out some big changes in the upcoming months. While these new algorithm changes won’t exactly be a direct hit on ranking, it’s still affected.
Knowing that 60% of searches now come from mobile devices, Google is creating a new update. They’re now rolling out a “mobile-friendly” Google index.
What exactly does all this mean? We’ll explain what this means for your website and how you can get prepared. Let’s get into it!
What is The Mobile-First Google Index?
Indexing, for starters, is when web pages are added to a Google search. Much like the index at the end of a reference book, all searches related to that subject or category will appear.
For desktops, all websites and pages on it are crawled by Google and then indexed. Now with this new update, websites optimised for mobile take priority.
Why? With a large number of searches conducted through mobile devices, it only makes sense to show websites that are mobile-friendly.
What Counts as “Mobile-Friendly”?
Google marks a web page or website mobile-friendly when it displays correctly. That means everything fits nicely on the screen, words aren’t a jumbled mess and it loads in a timely manner.
Unresponsive mobile websites won’t be penalized but it’s still vital to have one that is responsive. As of right now, the new Google index is paying attention to sites that include the bare minimum.
The “bare minimum” includes having a good user experience. Users need to be able to load the site at a good pace, interact with (working) buttons and to read text without the need to zoom.
Especially with e-commerce stores, it’s important for your customers to be able to reach you. If you aren’t sure of how mobile-friendly your site is, check with Google.
What if I Don’t Have a Mobile Website?
If you’re concerned that not having a mobile site is going to impact you greatly, don’t worry. The new Google index will still crawl the desktop version.
You Should Be Worried if Your Mobile Site Has Less Content
Ready for the downside of this new Google index update? If they were to compare your website with the desktop version against the mobile version and there’s less content on the mobile one, you’re in a bit of trouble.
Instead of indexing the one with the most content, you need to keep in mind this is all about mobile. They will index your mobile site even if it has less content. This is important!
The best way to go about it is with responsiveness. You’ll want all the content to be the same from desktop to mobile.
As for expandable content, it’s okay to have that on mobile. The only catch is that its sole purpose needs to be for a better user experience.
How Will This Affect Ranking?
Now for the most concerning information regarding SEO and ranking. If your website is not mobile-friendly, meaning it loads slowly, doesn’t conform nicely on a small screen or is buggy, it will not rank well.
This new Google index is completely focused on mobile. You might be thinking it’s unfair, especially if you don’t have a mobile website.
But, if you created your website using a web-building service, most will automatically include a mobile version. If you didn’t, speak to us or to your web developer. You’re missing out on a huge slice of your potential market if you’re not.
Desktop Index vs Mobile Index
Right now, Google is testing to see if this mobile-first index will prove itself useful. While they do plan on using only one index later down the road, we won’t know for sure which index we as users will be seeing.
Google has great confidence they can completely switch from desktop indexing to mobile indexing. Even with it still in the works, there’s a good chance this is the future of Google searching.
When Will The New Google Index Be Here?
If you’re concerned about the amount of time you have to make these changes, don’t be. This new Google index isn’t coming in weeks, it might not even come within 2018.
An official date hasn’t been rolled out yet since Google is still nailing down all the fine details. They still have to have the discussion about links and if whether or not they’ll be affected rank-wise.
Links and content are the most essential part of any website, therefore, it’s unsure of exactly how much they’ll impact ranking. We know content is affected but nothing was said on links.
Google was very firm on being openly candid about this new Google index. Since it’s not a regional update but a global one, they’re trying to keep everyone in the loop.
How to Prepare
If you’re already scrambling to update or even create a mobile website, we have some tips that’ll help. Instead of viewing this as a need to create a mobile site, think of user experience first.
Visitors coming to your site want to have faster loading times because mobile searching is such a convenience. Let’s take a look at these tips more closely.
Which content on a website slows down loading times? Images. Optimize your images so the file is smaller and fits better on the screen.
Remember when everything used Flash? Those days are no longer. These days are ones made with HTML 5 or Java to run videos or other animated elements. If you’re still running Flash then it’s the equivalent of having an outside toilet at your house.
Ease of Use
Mobile screens are obviously smaller and users don’t scroll using a mouse. Making it easy so that visitors click on the right buttons is vital.
The Google algorithm is always changing so keeping up with it can be a hassle. SEO is so much more than devising a good strategy.
Without having the results to back it up, your website will suffer. That’s where we come in.
We have the experience that not only know what we’re doing but we have proved it time and again for our clients. Ready to get ahead of your competitors ?
Contact us today!