Google Sets The Deadline For 100% Mobile First Indexing
Over the last few years, Google has been gradually moving websites to mobile first indexing and has recently announced that this process will finally be complete in September 2020. But what is mobile first and what does it mean for your business website?
What is Mobile First Indexing?
If this is the first you’ve heard about mobile first indexing, then you’re not alone. However, any web designers worth their salt have been acutely aware that Google has been slowly changing how it returns search results to favour those sites which work well on mobile devices.
The move to mobile first reflects the change over the years in how users use the internet. In late 2016, the proportion of users accessing websites on mobile devices (as opposed to desktop computers) exceeded 50% for the first time and has continued increasing ever since.
Google and other search engines are always striving to give users the best possible answers to their search queries and if a search is done on a mobile device, which then results in the user visiting a site which doesn’t work well, or at all, on that device, then that site was a poor choice for appearing so high in the search results.
When search engines adds content on a site to the potential pool they can draw on to return a search result, this is indexing. If content hasn’t been indexed, it won’t show up in search results, even for queries which exactly match what it’s about.
Search engines are aware of how well your website content displays and is able to be used on a variety of devices and the move to mobile first indexing means that from September, all sites will be added to the Google index with preference to those that work well on such devices. Sites that don’t will find it increasingly difficult to rank well in search engines.
How do I know If My Site is Mobile Friendly?
It’s fairly easy to see if your site is mobile friendly and as such unlikley to be detrimentally affected by the shift to mobile first indexing.
First of all, visit your website on your mobile. As yourself, is it harder to use? Does anything take too long to download? Are there pictures wider than the screen? Do you have to scroll sideways anywhere instead of just up and down? Are there elements that are too small to read or links which are so close together you might accidentally ‘click’ the wrong one? These are all indications that your website might not be quite mobile friendly.
Secondly, visit your website on your desktop. Move your browser out of full screen mode and use your mouse to drag the edges of the window around. If the site doesn’t dynamically adjust how it displays content to make best use of the size of the window it sits in, chances are it isn’t mobile friendly.
How Do I make My Site Ready For Mobile First Indexing?
If you have a Google Search console (previously known as Webmaster Tools) account linked to your website, you’ll be able to see whether your site has already been moved to mobile first indexing, whether or not it’s mobile friendly.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly, then you really need to consider making changes. Google is giving preference to mobile friendly sites in response to how people use the internet. After all, Google probably won’t buy anything from you, but people just might. However, if your website is hard to use on their mobile devices, they’re likley to leave and go somewhere else. Possibly to your competitors. With this being the case, having the best products or services in the world mean nothing if you’re putting people off before they even find out about them.
If you’d like some advice, or to find out what can be done to make your website ready for what Google (and users) want to see, then get in touch for a chat about giving your business the edge with a usable, searchable and effective website design which is ready for the change to mobile first indexing.