Back in November 2016, Google announced that they began experimenting with making their index mobile-first. Fast forward a year and a half later, those experiments are now being put into practice. Google algorithm changes always get the web development and marketing communities in a buzz, and this time is no different.

What is mobile-first indexing?

As more and more users turn to mobile as their device of choice, Google understands the need to update the way they index websites in order to keep their search result pages relevant and provide the best user experience. Mobile-first indexing means Google bots that are sent out to crawl the web for content will use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank pages from that website, where previously they were only crawling the desktop version.

How will mobile-first indexing affect my website’s rankings?

Google stated that websites using responsive web design are already set for mobile-first indexing. Desktop only websites will also be safe since users still have access to the same amount of content on mobile devices, although desktop only websites can still be dinged for usability issues. Websites that will be most impacted from mobile-first indexing are those that have different experiences for desktop and mobile devices. This includes websites using separate URLs, AMP pages or using dynamic serving. Naturally, if Google previously ranked your website based on the desktop version and it had more content than your mobile version you could suffer negative consequences once your rankings are determined using your mobile website.

What can I do to prepare for mobile-first indexing?

Responsive Website  You’re all set! Sit back, relax and ride the algorithm update wave.

Desktop Only Website – You’re safe from mobile-first indexing, however if your website is hard to navigate on mobile devices your rankings may be penalized for poor user experience.

Separate URLs, Dynamic Serving or AMP – Be sure that your mobile website contains the same content as your desktop site and your structured data and meta data is present on both versions of your website.

If you have a free website built by Avada Media then there is no need to fret. All Avada Media websites are built using responsive web design, which means that the content is the same across desktop and mobile devices while the design renders differently to best fit the display on the user’s device. If you don’t have a responsive, mobile optimized website it may be time for an upgrade. Our web design pros here at Avada Media can hook you up with a beautiful new website at no cost that will make mobile-first indexing a thing of the past. What are you waiting for? Get started on your web design project today!