Google Making Mobile First

Google Making Mobile First

On November 4, 2016 Google announced on their Webmaster Central Blog that they have begun experiments to make our index mobile-first and that:

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.

This is big news, to put it mildly.

Currently, Google’s primary search index is created by crawling the desktop versions of websites. The result is that web efforts, from design to content to SEO practices, have historically treated the mobile experience as secondary. When Google switches their primary search index over to mobile sites, your search ranking will depend on how good your mobile site is.

So what does this mean for my site?

A few things:

  1. If you have a mobile site, you should review it and ensure all of your content is accessible through it.
  2. If you have a responsive-design site that serves the same content to all size devices you’ll be fine.
  3. If your mobile site is a separate site that offers trimmed down content, it’s time to reevaluate.

So many organizations have mobile sites, but often the mobile site isn’t as content-rich as the desktop site. Responsive sites will fare better*, but this is the time to ensure that your mobile experience isn’t an abbreviated version of your desktop site.

*As long as they don’t hide important content.

When will this happen?

Google hasn’t named a date, but like their march toward HTTPS you should see the writing on the wall and take steps today to ensure you aren’t caught off-guard in the future.