Mobile-First Indexing More Complicated Than You Might Think

Mobile-First Indexing - Eyler Creative

Mobile-First Indexing More Complicated Than You Might Think

If you saw our recent post about mobile optimization, then you may already know how important it is to make sure your site is mobile-friendly in order to adhere to Google’s regulations for mobile-first indexing. If this all still sounds completely foreign to you, then read on to learn more about what all this means, and how it affects your website.

What Are People Seeing When They Search?

“Google has started to use the mobile version of the web as their primary search engine index.” To put it another way, “Google will create and rank its search listings based on the mobile version of content, even for listings that are shown to desktop users.” Meaning, if you don’t yet have the mobile version of your site ironed out, then you won’t fare as well in search results as those who’ve taken the time to clean up their (mobile) act.

One such change is the displaying of specific mobile site URLs to those who are browsing on mobile, rather than bringing up the desktop site URL for everyone. This may not apply if you don’t have differing URLs for each viewpoint, but you might consider implementing custom URLs in order to allow Google to more easily organize and display your desire site look.

What about site speed? Though it’s extremely important to consider, Google has come out and said that “the speed update” that they put out this month “is not directly related to mobile-first indexing.” Again, you should make sure that your site is as fast as it can be, but if your primary focus is the shift to mobile-first indexing, then you don’t have to be speedy to meet their requirements.

If you’ve ever been worried about utilizing a pancake/hamburger menu for mobile view, then worry not! This is another option that Google isn’t penalizing you for. Many designers use this menu in order to make things less overwhelming for the viewer, and this accordion-style is perfectly acceptable, in Google’s eyes.

Google Clarifies Mobile-First Indexing Updates

How are mobile-friendliness and mobile-first indexing related? Truthfully, they’re not… not really. Google says that although everyone should start moving away from “desktop-only” and begin to create mobile versions of sites, “your website does not need to be mobile-friendly or responsive to be included in the mobile-first indexing process.” This may sound backwards to some, but all it means is that you don’t have to spend time making your desktop site mobile-friendly in order to score well with mobile-first indexing. Rather, invest that time and energy into developing a mobile version of your site. This is where design and development is headed, and quickly!

Keep in mind, though, that mobile-friendliness does have an impact on your Google rank. This may mean that you have to choose whether to focus on your mobile-design efforts or your SEO, because it’s unlikely that you can devote that time to both simultaneously. Keep this in mind as you development your strategy going forward.

You may be wondering – with some urgency – what happens to those who don’t have mobile versions of their site. Google would like for you to have one, of course, but they won’t (yet) fault you for not having one. Instead, they’ll just “crawl” the desktop version of your site instead, and this is where mobile-friendly design really would matter.

So, what are the next steps that you should take? Get in touch with Eyler Creative. We will work with you to make sure that your desktop site is mobile-friendly, to help you to develop an entirely new mobile version of your site, and, if desired, develop and execute a marketing strategy tailored specifically to your business’s needs.

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Eyler Creative:

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