A simple guide to the Google Mobile Index

In 2016 Google implemented its mobile first index, a development that strived to make the web more mobile friendly and keep up to date with online user behavioural trends. This release has been a worry to many business owners who often struggle to understand the importance of SEO on their existing desktop sites.

To help you better understand how this will affect your website and if there are any changes you need to keep you up to date we have compiled a list of FAQ’s.

What is mobile indexing?

Mobile indexing is where the mobile version of your website is used by Google in their index to help determine where it ranks.

This does not mean that it only indexes your mobile site as not everyone has a mobile optimised site. In this instance the desktop site will be included in the index but because it is likely to be a lot less mobile friendly it may negatively impact your ranking. Websites that are more mobile friendly will rank a lot higher and resultantly traffic could be boosted on the desktop site.

What is changing?

Statistically speaking, people are increasingly using their mobile devices to search online and as such Google wants to use its index and search results to reflect these mobile searchers. This means that Google is now using the mobile versions of websites instead of the desktop version as their main search engine index.

What happens if I don’t have a mobile site?

You don’t need to worry just yet if you don’t have a mobile site as Google will continue using your desktop site in their indexing system.

If, however you do have an existing mobile site that is not fully optimised and is simply a version of your desktop site, you may notice that you aren’t ranking as well as mobile friendly sites.

If you choose to leave it without adequate optimisation you may start to notice that your overall ranking for your desktop site and mobile site is decreased as the index will see you site as having a poor user experience.

What do I need to do?

This update isn’t as drastic as you think so there is no need to start panicking.

If your mobile and desktop site are virtually identical you may not have to make any changes, provided you are content where you are currently ranking.

If, however you do have a separate mobile site you will need to consider analysing several areas to ensure you rank competitively. You will need to ensure that your content on your mobile version is relevant and high value – the same as it would be on your desktop site.

Making sure that all your data is consistent on your desktop and mobile sites is vital whether it be titles, descriptions etc. This will also include your social metadata such as your tags, social media data should be the same on both sites.