What you need to know about Google’s mobile-first indexing

Mobile-first indexing

Mobile-first indexing has been the talk of the SEO world throughout 2018. The historic change from Google moving to a mobile-first system is currently being rolled out. It is perhaps symbolic of today’s society in that we are moving towards a mobile world. Desktop of course still plays a massive role in many industries but Google’s choice to switch to mobile-first is indicative. This change could have a profound impact upon search results. But first we must understand what we mean when we refer to mobile indexing.

What actually is mobile-first indexing?

When Google crawls through sites it organises the information on the web pages that is available to it through the search index. Think of Google as a huge library and when crawling through pages it is effectively storing webpages as you would books in a library. When we talk of mobile-first it basically means Google is choosing to crawl the mobile version of a webpage first. This is all done through the use of Google’s indexing robot Googlebot. But what implications will this have upon search results?

How will this affect search results?

With the increase in mobile technology there is ever growing amounts of people surfing the internet on their phones. This has led to webmasters making their sites mobile responsive. This throws up problems with mobile-first indexing if you have differing content on your webpage depending on your mobile or desktop version. As mentioned webmasters are moving towards mobile responsive sites, these are likely to not cause any problems as the content is likely to be the same. However, if the content is different which can occur for mobile versions then your rankings can take a hit. Google considers mobile page speed as a ranking factor so you may try and streamline your mobile version. With different content on your page there is always the risk it will impact your rankings negatively.

Google’s switch to a mobile-first indexing system is indicative of the current climate we find ourselves in. Advancements in technology means society is moving towards a more mobile heavy reliance. This in turn affects how Google indexes and ranks pages. Our recommendation here at USDigital is ensure your sites are mobile responsive and try to keep your versions as similar as possible.