Google is working on what it calls the Google mobile first index. As with any significant change in Google’s search algorithm, it could impact your business by affecting the rank of your website in search results. To help you prepare, here’s what you need to know.
Before the Smartphone Age
To understand what is happening you need an overview of how Google works. It scans all the websites and pages it can find on the internet and puts those pages into its index. Its search algorithm then matches a user’s search to web pages in the index. This is how Google produces its search results pages.
Google used to only look at the desktop version of a website. This was back before smartphones when everyone used Google’s search tool with a computer or laptop. Over recent years, however, more and more people started to use their phones when searching for something in Google. In fact, we have now gone past the tipping point – more people search on Google using a mobile device than a computer.
This change in user behaviour is driving Google’s shift in focus. In 2016, it started prioritising mobile-friendly websites when its users searched on a mobile device. The search engine is now taking this a step further with the mobile-first index.
What is the Mobile-First Index?
Currently, Google’s main index contains the desktop version of websites. In other words, it looks at the structure, content, links, and other criteria of the desktop version and uses that to determine search rankings.
The mobile-first index will change this focus from desktop to mobile to reflect the majority of its users. This means Google will crawl and index the mobile version of your site and will use that index to determine your position in search, even when the user searches with a desktop computer.
In other words, Google is working on switching its primary index of the world’s web pages to contain mobile versions of those pages instead of desktop versions.
What Will Be the Impact of the Mobile-First Index and What Should You Do?
There is a strong possibility that your search rankings could be damaged when the mobile-first index is introduced if the mobile version of your website is not fully optimised. Here are some things you need to consider:
The best advice is to take steps now to ensure your website is ready for the mobile-first index.