Mobile first indexing in 2018: Now What?

There are nearly as many cell phones in operation as human beings, and 2/3rds of the world’s population has a cell phone. If that doesn’t convince you that your website needs to focus on mobile search and great responsive design, I don’t know what will. Even then, there are those in the industry who worry if that will be enough.

So to start let’s take a look at the first question:

What is Mobile First Indexing?

As incredible as this may sound coming from an industry that can’t help but have ridiculous acronyms, this one is pretty straight forward. It simply means that Google will start with your mobile website first as an indicator for mobile instead of the desktop version.

This isn’t to say that your desktop version isn’t going to to be indexed, just that the mobile version will take priority. Even websites like ours where mobile is a minimal part of our overall traffic, you should still make sure you’re optimizing for mobile visitors.

This change is focussed primarily on companies with mobile websites. Not that responsive websites won’t benefit from mobile optimizations, it’s just that companies who’ve done mobile sites need to prioritize those more than they have in the past. This means that link building to a mobile website will of focus for SEMs as we move forward.

What Do You Need to Do About Mobile First Indexing in 2018?

There are a number of things that you can do to help your mobile search rankings and optimize for a mobile-first world. Some of them are big projects and some are small. But with the right team you can have your business’ website in much better mobile shape.

  1. Change to Responsive Design – One of the biggest things you can do to help your mobile rankings, is not to have a “mobile specific” website. This will help you maintain all of your links and content instead of having to revamp it and get new links for your mobile website.
  2. Update Your Mobile Content  If you can’t update your website to a responsive site, go through your mobile content and make sure it’s as robust as it can be. If you have better content on your standard website, and your mobile one is lacking. Now’s probably the time to start updating it.
  3. Focus on Page Speed – This applies to mobile sites, sure, but this is especially important for responsive websites. Since you’re putting the same information on networks that may not be as robust as physical connections, page speed is an important metric. Truth is, you can have the most robust content in the world, but if a mobile user can’t access it quickly, they’re going to bound and Google isn’t going to rank you well.

Conclusion

Google has been talking about mobile-first indexing for several years now. They have been experimenting with this since 2016, but finally they’ve said it’s going to to be rolled out this year. If you haven’t gotten your website to be responsive, it’s the time to do so. 

If you’re unsure whether your website is ready for this transition, find the best agency partner you can to help your business get things straight. But don’t panic, you’re not going to get kicked off the Internet for not having a mobile site. Can it hurt where you rank? Sure, but chances are pretty good that if you have been without a responsive site you’ve noticed traffic decreases already. Just start the process of changing, and a good agency can help you take care of the rest.

Published 03/26/18 by Eric Lynch