What is Mobile-First Indexing and How Will it Affect My Website?

What is Mobile-First Indexing and How Will it Affect My Website?

Gemma Starkie CMS Live Services, SEO

Google’s mobile-first indexing is now being rolled out!

But what does it mean for your website?

It seems as though just when you get used to a major SEO change, another one crops up to confuse you all over again. However, this latest change isn’t as complex as you might think, and it could actually prove beneficial for your business. Here, you’ll discover everything you need to know about mobile-first indexing, and how it will affect your website.

What is mobile-first indexing?

As the majority of consumers now use their smartphones to browse the internet, Google decided it was time to make mobile search easier. Mobile-first indexing was therefore developed in 2016, to help mobile users find what they’re looking for on their device. The technology was tested for over a year before it started rolling out in late 2017.

Up until now, results shown to mobile users primarily linked to the desktop version of the sites. With mobile-first indexing, it instead trawls through mobile versions of websites before displaying them to the user. This improves the mobile search experience and ensures the sites listed are compatible with mobile devices.

Will I need to make changes to my website?

If you have a responsive website, you may not have to make any changes. Responsive web design has taken over in recent years, and it tends to be automatically used to create modern sites. So, if your site was built recently, it’s likely it already has a responsive design. However, it is worth checking just to be sure.

Example of a Responsive website designed by CMS Live Web Specialists
Example of a Responsive website designed by CMS Live Web Specialists

If your website has a slightly different markup and primary content across desktop and mobile, you may need to make a few adjustments. You’ll generally need to add a structured markup for both desktop and mobile versions of the site. This can seem pretty complex, but help is available. CMS Live can help to ensure your site is mobile ready. Contact us today to learn more.

How will it affect my rankings?

How mobile-first indexing affects your rankings will depend upon how your site is optimised for mobile viewing. If you do have a responsive design, you shouldn’t notice any real changes in your ranking. However, if your site isn’t mobile optimised, it could impact your rankings in a negative way.

An example of Google listing if your website is not responsive

Optimising your website for mobile isn’t a requirement. Google will still use the desktop index to rank your site if a mobile version isn’t available. However, it will be prioritising mobile sites. This means if your site isn’t mobile-friendly but your competitor’s site is, they’re going to rank higher than you.

An example of Google listing if your website is responsive

The good news is, mobile-first indexing is being rolled out pretty slowly. So, there’s still time to make the necessary changes. If you want to ensure you get it right, it’s worth hiring a professional to take care of your SEO for you.

Overall, mobile-first indexing can seem pretty complex at first, especially if you need to make changes to your website. However, as you can see, it could prove extremely beneficial for your rankings. To learn more or to ensure your website is mobile-ready, contact us today.

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