In 2017, Google may launch a Mobile-First Index. There have been rumors circulating about this and it is worth knowing in advance how it could affect your website’s rankings and search traffic. If this change occurs it will mean that Google will most likely create and rank its search listings based on your website’s mobile version, possibly even for listings that are shown to desktop users. Google wants its search results to serve its largest and fastest growing segment of users, which now happens to be mobile users. Google said they “primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.” However, if you do not have a dedicated mobile site, they will use your responsive desktop version instead.
This potential change will only impact you if your “dedicated” mobile and desktop sites have different content. We recommend that if possible you just go with a responsive approach. This means, the content is the same on a page-by-page basis from your desktop to your mobile site and you won’t need to worry about optimizing two different “versions” of your website.
Steps to complete this task
If the Mobile-First Index launches, it is widely thought that Google will crawl and index the mobile version of your site as its primary source for content and ranking signals. Take these steps to make sure your website is in the clear.
It is important to understand if your website is using a responsive site, a dedicated mobile site or a dynamic serving site. Test it now by opening your website on a smartphone. If you get the URLs are the same as on a desktop you have either a mobile responsive site or a dynamic site. If the URL changes to m.yoursite.com you have a dedicated mobile website.
If you have a mobile responsive site or a dynamic site and the content stays the same, regardless of whether you are on a mobile phone or a desktop, Mobile-First indexing should not affect you. Google sees the same content for ranking signals regardless of whether they crawl a mobile first or desktop first.
If on the other hand you have a dedicated mobile site (i.e. m.yoursite.com) check to see if it is as well optimized as main domain (yoursite.com). If it lacks content, tags and optimization your rankings could change significantly if and when Google starts Mobile-First indexing.
Switch to a responsive design or quickly ensure that your mobile dedicated site is as optimized as your main domain.
- Don’t lose mobile traffic to technology, master your mobile website.
- Get more mobile traffic by promoting your website on social media.
- Find people on the go by getting into Google my business.
- Coming in 2017, Google’s Mobile First Index.