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All You Need to Know About the New Google Mobile-First Index

December 1, 2016 3 comments

If you have been following our blog these past couple of weeks, you’d know that Google has started rolling out its new mobile-first index. We recently covered this news.

Since then we have been receiving many questions about the Google mobile-first index and how it is going to impact overall search rankings. As these are still early days, not many webmasters know about this update and its possible impact on the search engine world.

To answer all those queries and more, we decided to publish this blog post. Following are all the important details you need to know about the new Google mobile-first index.

What Is The Mobile-First Index?

 

In the digital world, mobile searches have been on the rise. In fact, mobile searches have now surpassed desktop searches in numbers. So Google decided that they want to its index and search engine results to represent mobile users first — which is the majority of their users.

So, now with this mobile-first index, Google has started to use the mobile version of the web as the primary search engine index. In other words, Google is now primarily crawling the web from a mobile browser view.

If You Do Not Have a Mobile Website

 

Ideally, you should have a mobile website. Google wants you to have one. However, if you do not have a mobile website, it will crawl your desktop website instead.

You will eventually need to have a fully functional mobile website. But, at this stage, Google wants you to have a proper desktop website instead of a broken mobile website.

Make Both Versions Of Your Website Similar

 

If your desktop website has more content than the mobile version of your website, then it may become a problem. Google will just see your mobile website with less content.

Ideally, both your desktop website and mobile website should have similar contents. A responsive website approach works best here.

The Problem With Expandable Content

 

Many websites use expandable content, such as accordions, expandable boxes, and hidden contents. In case of desktop websites, the Google mobile-first index will not regard that content very highly.

However, in case with mobile version of your website, Google will not discard this content if it improves user experience.

Our recommendation would be to steer away from expandable content as much as possible. Only use it if it significantly improves user experience.

Will It Change Google Search Engine Rankings?

 

Nope. At least this is what Google officials have to say about it.

According to official claims, Google search engine rankings will not be changed because of this. Their main goal with this recent mobile-first index change was to ensure that rankings do not get affected.

Having said that, it is still too early to confirm anything. We will keep you posted if the Google mobile-first index changes Google search engine rankings.

When Will Google Mobile-First Index Roll Out Completely?

 

The Google mobile-first index has already started rolling out.

Google is not giving us any official date at this stage. Although they have started rolling it out for some users, they are going to push it for more and more people as they become more confident.

Mobile-First Index and Mobile-Friendly Content

 

Earlier this year, Google introduced its mobile-friendly algorithm that deems how mobile-friendly a webpage or website really is.

The newly introduced mobile-first index seems to be a part of the overall shift towards mobile devices in today’s digital world.

According to the previously released mobile-friendly algorithm, Google will not rank any content highly that is not mobile-friendly. Similarly, content that is not mobile-friendly will not rank very high as per this mobile-first search index by Google.

Rankings Signals Will Come from Mobile

 

This is one of the most important things that you need to know about.

As per this new change, ranking signals will come from mobile view. For instance, the page loading speed of your mobile site will determine the rankings of your mobile site as well as desktop site in Google search engine listings. Previously, it used to be the ranking signals from the desktop site that used to determine this.

An End To The Desktop Index

 

Previously, Google used to only have one index — the desktop search index.

Now, Google has introduced the mobile index as well and made it the primary index. Eventually, Google plans to end the desktop index and keep the mobile index as the only option out there.

As Google grows in confidence regarding the mobile index, the desktop index will eventually vanish.

Is It a Region-Specific Update?

 

No. The new mobile-first index update is a global rollout. It’s not a region-specific update.

If you haven’t seen the update, be sure that it is coming soon to you.

Hopefully this post would have answered most of your questions. We will keep you updated about this important change in the search engine world as we continue learning more about it.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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