The Shift to Mobile-First Indexing: Is Your Website Ready?

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On July 1st,  Google changed its indexing default from desktop to mobile for all new domains.  This move away from desktop indexing came as part of a larger plan to prioritize mobile-friendly websites in search results as the primary method of search.  

In the background, Google has been preparing for this update by sending its smartphone bot to gather data about websites and their readiness for mobile-first indexing.  An analysis of the data gathered showed that most newly designed websites are responsive and are ready for the smartphone bot to index them accordingly.

For existing websites, Google let webmasters know through a notification in Google Search Console when your site is ready to mobile-first indexing.  A proactive approach to preparing your website for mobile indexing is recommended. 

Here are a few ways to prepare your website:

  1. Google recommends a responsive website design over separate URLs or dynamic service for your desktop and mobile sites.  While Google will continue to support these URLs, your site will perform better if it has a single URL for both desktop and mobile.
  2. Double check that the content on both versions of your site is the same and if it is not, ensure that the mobile version of your site has been optimized to communicate with search engine bots.
  3. Ensure that all of the pages of your website load quickly.  Slow-responding mobile and desktop sites are being down-ranked.
  4. Double check that meta-data is consistent across mobile and desktop.

What does all of this really mean for you?  It essentially means that if you are developing a new website, your focus should be creating a responsive website that communicates quickly and efficiently with search engine bots.  If you are renovating an existing website that may be on different URL’s your focus should be on optimizing the mobile version or redesigning with a responsive template.

Google does stress that there is just one index and the search results will reveal the most relevant sites as they always have. However, if your website is not mobile-friendly, it could impact your page rank or search position for those searching from smartphones.

To learn more about how your site is being indexed, you can run your URL through an inspection tool in Google Search Console.  This will show you when your site was last indexed and by which bot.  A mobile-first site will say crawled as Googlebot.smartphone

So there you have it.  With nearly 60% of searches coming from mobile technology, the future of website design and development is centered around conveying important messages quickly and on a small screen.

f the mobile version of your website leaves something to be desired, you can trust our expert team to help you create a mobile-responsive site that is attractive, efficient and that Google will love to crawl.

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