In 2018 52% of all website traffic was generated through mobile phones. Google has announced that all new websites “previously unknown to Google Search” will be indexed using mobile-first indexing starting on July 1 2019. Find out what this means to you and if you need to take action.
Mobile First Indexing Explained
“Mobile first” means Google will look at the mobile version of your site first to help determine ranking factors. Instead of looking at the desktop version of the page, Google looks at the mobile version of the page. In more simple terms, Google is crawling and indexing your web page based on how it renders on a mobile phone versus a desktop computer.
Google recommends responsive web design for new websites:
“Because of issues and confusion we’ve seen from separate mobile URLs over the years, both from search engines and users, we recommend using a single URL for both desktop and mobile websites.”
How Does This Affect Me?
If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site. This is because some responsive websites hide or simplify the content for mobile use to make it a little easier to navigate. If this is you, you could be missing some keywords that currently help you rank.
Monitoring your performance
You can keep an eye on your website performance by using Google Search Console. This tool allows you to review performance over time periods so therefore really useful to see who you are doing and more importantly, what you can do to improve.
What users are searching for when they find your site?
In Google Search Console, open the performance report for your website to see a list of search queries at the bottom. If you then click the “Impressions” column, it will order the search queries showing the most impressions at the top.
Are you appearing for the search queries that you expect?
If not, this is a good indication that your website content needs some restructuring to appear for these queries.
Restructuring Your Website Content
In the scope of this article it is not possible to cover everything you should do. That said, here are a few tips to help you along.
- Ensure that your important keywords are in a text format that Google can understand. If you have important text as part of an image or a video, Google can’t read this so it doesn’t know exactly what you are explaining.
- Ensure your page titles and headings contain the important keywords. Use accurate, descriptive titles for your pages and focusing on one topic per page will help.
- Ensure your content explain the problems you solve with your product or service. Solutions to problems sell more than features do.
- Mention everything that you offer and be as descriptive as possible. Google can’t guess what you don’t include.
- Keep your site up to date. If you haven’t updated your website content for years, Google knows and may think you are less relevant that someone who has updated theirs recently.