Google Mobile Index

Google Tests Mobile-First index as Device Searches Soar

Google Tests Mobile-First index as Device Searches Soar 700 411 Gravitate Digital

Google have started to focus primarily on mobile content to determine search rankings.

Despite the majority of searches now being conducted via mobile platforms, until now Google have continued to analyse desktop content to evaluate page ranking. This will now begin to change, leaving those without mobile-friendly websites at a distinct disadvantage.  

“To make our results more useful, we’ve begun experiments to make our index mobile-first. Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually 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”, wrote Google.

How will a mobile-first index affect my website?

For those with a responsive site –  one where all content and markup is identical across platforms – you won’t need to take any action. Similarly, for users without a mobile site at all – desktop content will continue to be used in rankings.

If you do have a mobile site but it’s not optimised, now is the time to make some changes. To rank highly, it’s important to ensure a structured markup across desktop and mobile sites, where headers, paragraphs and site layout are made recognisable between platforms. You can test this by typing URLs of your desktop and mobile site into the Structured Data Testing Tool.

How can I optimise my site for Google’s mobile-first index?

1. Speed
Make sure your page loads instantly. Convert large images, cut-back code and remove all unnecessary characters – making sure not to change functionality – and facilitate browser caching. It’s also a good idea to try and reduce the amount of redirects, which if in excess can easily cause a reduction in speed through re-loading.

2. Design
Influence rankings using site composition. Mobile content, links and structured data will all be examined under the new system, take full advantage of these by using a responsive design template. Consider avoiding the use of Flash, as not all mobile users can view this, and ridding your site of pop-ups – frustrating, and known to lead to higher bounce rates and decreased page rankings. Finger friendly design is also important in avoiding accidental screen taps and for ease of navigation and user experience.  

3. Content
A powerful tool in on-page optimisation – high quality content, including short, concise and informative headlines and meta-descriptions are imperative in helping GoogleBot better understand your webpage. This in turn gives users a more in-depth idea of what your site offers, leading to higher click-through rates, increased conversions and improved SERP rankings.