On Friday, November 4th Google announced that it has begun testing its mobile first index.
This means that Google will primarily look at the mobile version of your website to determine where a web page should rank for a specific search query. If there is no mobile version, it will then fall back on the desktop form of the domain.
SearchEngineLand predicted this a few weeks back but these are the first details that we’ve heard from the big-G.
Google explained their rationale by stating that mobile (bucketing smartphones, tablets and some e-readers) searches have overtaken desktop searches for quite some time. Mobile has been an important part of SEO strategies for a while now but this underlines a mobile-first SEO strategy.
Before this, Google focused on the desktop version of the site to evaluate a page’s ranking in Google and to fix this Google will instead focus on the content, links and structured data of the mobile version – when available.
Google’s statement on mobile-first indexing
Here’s the statement from the Official Google Webmaster Blog:
“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. Of course, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.”
Ultimately this means that if your website is not mobile-friendly, it will have an impact on how you appear on the search engine results pages, and where you rank – even for desktop searches.
This is a test but Google hopes to roll it out long-term
“We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale”
Continuing with they’re likely to:
“ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience.”
Will my website be affected by the mobile first update?
Got a website which is dynamic serving or responsive? Short answer: no.
Got a website where content/mark-up is different across mobile and desktop? Short answer: yes.
You should consider making changes to your site. Keep your eyes peeled on a separate article on this from MintTwist in the future! Alternatively have a look at our digital services or how we can help with SEO efforts