As technology evolves, so do the ways we use it. In the past, going to a desktop version of a website was commonplace. This has been changing over the years as smartphones have become the primary tool we use to navigate our day to day lives. Google knows this and has been developing mobile-first indexing for quite some time now. 2018 is the year mobile-first indexing will finally be available to the general public and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Last year, Stone Temple Consulting released a study that concluded that 55% of all internet traffic is coming from mobile devices and this trend will continue to grow in the coming years. Before we get into what to expect and how you can prepare yourself for the change, we want to provide a brief overview of what mobile-indexing is for those of you who may not be in the know.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
Mobile-first indexing is probably what you think it is. It prioritizes the mobile version of your website and is the jumping off point for what Google includes in their index. It is also the baseline for how they determine your rankings. The reason it’s called Mobile-First (and not Mobile Only) is that it’s not just for your mobile site. The index prioritizes it, but if your business doesn’t have one your desktop site is still included in the index. However, not having a mobile-friendly website may impact negatively on the rankings of the site, so we recommend having one.
How to Prepare for the Change
There are tons of things you can do to prepare for the change but we wanted to outline a few key items that should be on your radar:
- Content – You need to make sure the mobile version of your website is as high quality as your desktop site. This means videos, images, text, and any other content you deem valuable
- Metadata – You need to make sure that your meta descriptions and titles are similar on both the mobile and the desktop version of all your pages. Of course, on the mobile version of your website, you want to optimize the titles and make sure you keep a lower character count.
- Structured Data – The data markup on the mobile and the desktop version of your site should be the same. The URL in the structured data on the mobile website should be the mobile version of the URL.
- Verify your Search Console – You need to verify the mobile version of your website in Google Search Console as well as your desktop site.
Be Ahead of the Curve
It is always important to be ahead of the curve. Make sure you know what’s coming, how it will affect your business, and how you can benefit from it. Read this post on the Google Webmaster Blog or other posts on the topic to prepare as well. If your website configuration where your primary content is different on mobile and desktop, make some changes to your site. Make sure you content is equivalent on both versions and of the best quality.
Of course, these are just some of the ways you can prepare and be ahead of the curve when Mobile-Indexing goes live. In the tech world, we are accustomed to changes and welcome them, and this is certainly one of those welcomed changes that will help propel us into the future.