Google encourage webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly.
Google encourage webmasters to make their content mobile-friendly after rolling out their mobile-first indexing
After a year and a half of testing and experimentation, Google announced on Monday 26th March that they have ‘started migrating sites that follow the best practices for mobile-first indexing.’
But what does this mean? Until now Google’s crawling, indexing and ranking systems have used the desktop version of a page’s content. This change will mean that Google will now use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking to better help mobile users find what they are looking for. The change can be justified by the fact that the majority of people who use Google search today now do so from mobile devices, and have done so since 2015.
Google have been beginning to prioritise mobile sites since 2015, firstly by boosting the rank of mobile-friendly web pages on mobile search and more recently advising that a signal was being added that uses page speed to help determine a page’s mobile search ranking and starting in July 2018, slow-loading content will be down-ranked.
Google clarifies that it will continue to ‘only have one single index that they will use to serving search results’ and that they will be notifying those sites who are migrating to mobile-first indexing via search console. They claim that these site owners will see significantly increased crawl rate form the Smartphone Googlebot.
So do not fear (too much)! Google isn’t shifting all sites over the new mobile-first indexing straight away – just the first wave, also it’s called ‘mobile first’ because it’s not a mobile-only index, so even if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, the desktop version will still be included.
This isn’t to say that you should rest on your laurels as the lack of a mobile-friendly site could potentially have a negative effect on the rankings of your site in comparison to a site with better mobile experience, even for searchers on a desktop. Therefore, ensuring that your site provides an ever-growing mobile audience with a better experience is definitely something you need to begin thinking about.
You’ve got to admire them, Google’s first wave of mobile-first indexing is another step in the company’s attempt to improve search result and the user experience as more consumers increasingly turn to smartphone and tablet searches on the go. The message is loud and clear, mobile-friendly content is important, more than ever before.