Google recently announced that it's shifting its search results index to give preference to mobile results in search rankings. While this is currently in the testing stage with Google, we know this change will soon be coming down the pipe, and it could have a dramatic impact in the way that Google ranks your website.
There's nothing new about Google and its affinity for mobile-friendliness. Not too long ago, Google announced that it is now giving preference to mobile-friendly websites in search rankings. In a mad dash to not be impacted by this search engine algorithm update, many businesses transitioned to responsive website design or created a separate mobile-friendly website. However, with the news that Google is now testing mobile-first indexing, we'll soon see another update to Google's search algorithm that will impact the way that your content is ranked.
What's the difference between a mobile-friendly website and mobile-first indexing?
Since we now know that Google gives preference to mobile-friendly websites in search rankings, making your website mobile-friendly needs to be a priority for your search engine optimization strategy.
However, mobile-first indexing takes this one step further by giving preference to content in search rankings that has been optimized for mobile viewing. So, if you have a web page that shares specific content with desktop users but excludes this content from mobile users, you'll be impacted when the mobile-first indexing update takes place.
How can you prepare for the mobile-first indexing update?
1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
Google's preference is responsive website design, which automatically adjusts the website to the screen size of the visitor in order to provide the optimal user experience.
2. Create content with the mobile visitor in mind.
Typically, content created for the mobile user is short and concise. However, keep in mind that quality and authority are two key factors that also play into how Google ranks content.
If you have any content on your web pages that's not compatible with mobile-viewing (Flash, for example), make sure to remove it.
Include a mix of content on your website, such as video and audio, in addition to text. This will not only enhance the user experience, but will also help with search engine optimization.
3. Make the factors that will impact the mobile-first indexing update a priority.
The mobile-first indexing update will be all about improving the user experience on your website for mobile visitors. With that being said, there are 2 key areas that you should make a priority: website speed and user engagement.
If your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you're going to lose your mobile audience. To speed up your website, be aware of the weight of the content on your web pages as this directly impacts the load time.
The level of engagement that users have on your website will signal to Google the relevancy of your website, therefore impacting search rankings. Make it a priority to keep visitors on your website by serving them with compelling content that keeps them engaged.
While the mobile-first indexing update is still just in the texting phase right now, it's very likely that Google will be rolling this algorithm update out in the near future. Therefore, take the time now to be proactive in enhancing your website to appeal to the mobile visitor.