What is mobile-first indexing?
Mobile-first indexing is an initiative launched by Google in 2016, which involves indexing websites based on their mobile version.
Previously, the desktop version was prioritised, and the mobile version was considered secondary. However, with the increasing use of smartphones for internet browsing, Google decided mobile experience should come first when deciding how a website appears in search results.
This means that Google takes into account the content, structure, and usability of the mobile version of a webpage to determine its placement in organic searches.
What does mobile-first indexing mean for your business?
If your website’s mobile version is outdated, loads slowly, or, worse, is nonexistent, Google might perceive your website as less relevant or of lower quality compared to others that are well optimised for mobile.
Moreover, if people are searching for services or products like yours and encounter a difficult-to-navigate or slow website on their mobiles, they’ll likely turn to your competitors. This not only impacts your brand image but also your sales opportunities.
Specifically, if your mobile website is not optimized:
- It may drop in Google’s search rankings, meaning when users search for keywords related to your business, your site might not appear on the first pages of results.
- It could result in a decrease in web traffic. Fewer visits mean fewer chances to convert users into customers.
- Even if users find your site, a poor mobile experience (text that’s difficult to read, inaccessible buttons, or a confusing page layout) can deter them from taking the desired action, such as completing a purchase or subscribing to a service.
Key steps to succeed in the mobile-first indexing era
To ensure you are in tune with this new era, you should:
- Review your web design: Ensure your website is responsive. This means the design should be fluid and adapt perfectly to any screen size. Test on various devices to ensure a consistent user experience. You can try the Mobile Simulator Chrome extension to view your website on various devices.
- Improve mobile experience: Every second counts. Optimise loading times, simplify menus, and ensure that buttons and links are easy to use on touchscreens. Intuitive navigation is key to keeping users engaged.
- Test and adjust: Use tools like Google Lighthouse to understand how Google views your mobile page and make necessary adjustments.
Mobile-first indexing is not a passing trend but a reflection of current user behavior. It’s a wake-up call for all businesses that have yet to consider mobile optimisation as an integral part of their digital strategy.
Take the step and secure your place in organic search results. Contact us for a complete audit of your website and start your transformation towards a more mobile and successful future.