Google Begins Testing Mobile-First Index
Google has begun its planned shift from desktop to mobile content in ranking search results. In a blog post last week, Google announced that it has begun testing a new mobile-first index system. This new system will crawl mobile versions of websites for ranking signals and fall back to desktop versions if the site does not have a mobile version. This move has been rumored for a long time (along with pop-up penalties, another mobile-friendly move) but it finally signals the huge importance of mobile for Google searches.
Making the Switch
Search inquiries on mobile platforms now outnumber those on desktop, but currently, Google evaluates page rankings on desktop content. The algorithms will eventually start using the mobile versions of sites as the primary method for determining site rankings, regardless of whether the user is searching from a desktop or mobile platform. This may mean that companies with websites not friendly to mobile platforms may see an impact on their search rankings, even for those on desktops.
How to Prepare for the New Mobile-First Index
Right now, it appears as though those with only a desktop version of their website may not see a difference, as Google’s algorithms will continue to crawl that version for site ranking purposes. Although, it should be noted that these won’t receive any sort of mobile-friendly ranking boost Google may give to other sites. Responsive sites, or those that adjust automatically for desktop and mobile users, should not need to do anything special to retain their rankings as long as the primary content is essentially the same for both platforms.
But websites with different primary content for mobile and desktop views will have to be changed somewhat to take advantage of this change. Making changes to the primary content and matching mobile and desktop content will ensure that your website’s ranking is not affected by Google’s new mobile-first index when it rolls out fully in the future.
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