Google is renowned for making constant changes to its algorithms and search results.
Most people won’t notice the small ones that they do on an almost daily basis. Many people will notice the major updates – such as the Penguin update, for example – that can end up having a serious impact on your search rankings. But everyone needs to pay attention to Google’s Mobile First Index.
In this guide, we’re going to explore everything you need to know about this paradigm shift in Google’s thinking – let’s take a closer look.
What is the Mobile First Index?
In the past, Google has been happy enough to rank websites designed for both desktops and mobiles. But this is changing in a huge way, and work is already happening on their Mobile First Index.
In essence, the vast majority of people searching on Google are doing so from a mobile these days, and the search giant is having to adapt. So, your site has to be designed with mobile in mind, optimized with responsive design, whether you want to rank for mobile or desktop searches.
What do you need to do?
As we discussed above, designing your website is essential if you want to keep your rankings on Google, and failure to optimize your site will result in your rankings tanking – it’s that simple.
Responsive websites are designed so they adapt to the user’s needs, rather than the publisher’s wishes, and come with a broad range of features including fluid site grids, flexible text and images, and use of CSS media queries to ensure there are breakpoints in the right places when used on an alternative device to a desktop.
The bottom line is that if your website is still designed with a desktop PC in mind, you need to update it, either by paying for a professional to optimize your current site or by investing in a mobile-optimized website builder.
What about your content?
Don’t forget, optimizing your site isn’t just about design. Your content and media also have to be mobile-ready and responsive. Whether you are posting blog posts, videos or graphics, they have to be fit for purpose for being read on a mobile device.
Engaging content is all well and good, but without optimizing it you will lose traction, start to get fewer shares and find that people aren’t spending as much time on your site. So what, specifically, should you be doing to optimize your content? Well, start by looking at your headlines.
Desktop-focused headlines of blog posts can be long because you have a lot of space that you just don’t get with a mobile. Instead, you should try and encourage your teams to create shorter headlines, that work better and appear more suited to the smaller screens.
You should also think about using mobile applications to encourage higher engagement rates with your audience on other platforms. For example, a ‘share’ button that allows your visitors to share your content on Facebook or Twitter can help your work get more exposure.
As you can see, it’s never been as important to get your site ready for mobile indexing as it is today. It is highly likely that Google will be deploying their Mobile First Index at some point this year (2018) and you run the risk of missing out if you don’t prepare. Good luck!