It’s really happening – the experts at Google have introduced a brand new mobile-first index. Naturally, this is exactly the type of thing we cannot really afford to overlook or ignore. Long story short, once the mobile-first index has been rolled out, the SERP rankings of websites will be assessed and awarded in accordance to the quality or otherwise of the provided mobile content. And yes, the whole system will also apply to the SERP ratings displayed to desktop users.
Put simply, the index is nothing short of a radical overhaul and potentially the first step towards total mobile focus from the major online brands and businesses. At the same time, it’s definitely something the majority of professionals have all seen coming for some time and therefore it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise.
So with this in mind, what follows is an overview of the most important questions you might have about the mobile-first index and their respective answers:
What is changing?
Long story short, the experts at Google have made the decision that the time has come to begin focusing more attention on mobile web users, who now globally account for the majority of the overall Internet traffic. What this means in fact is that the mobile version of any website is what the Google bots now consider as the primary version of the website. Which in turn simply means that regarding bots which crawl the Internet and determine which websites are to be featured in the highest rankings, the focus will be awarded to content and websites that are predominantly mobile-friendly.
What happens to a webpage with no mobile version?
For the time being, they guys at Google have declared that this should not be a big cause for concern. “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site,” they recently stated. Nonetheless, the change will make it crystal clear that they would encourage every business and website out there to make the necessary effort and create a high-quality version of their websites. Put simply, if this is something you haven’t yet done, now could be time to put plans into action.
Will it become a problem if my mobile website does not have as much content as my desktop site?
Long story short, possibly. Which is indeed why Google and the vast majority of web professionals advise not to necessarily focus your efforts into creating separate mobile and desktop sites, but to go for the responsive approach. This in short means that when your page is crawled either in desktop or mobile form, the Google bots will come across exactly the same content no matter what.
Stay tuned for the second part of the post outlining the details of Google’s new mobile-first index…