After a protracted test period spanning several years Google have finally announced they’re moving wholesale to a Mobile First index. This means instead of using the desktop version of your website for its ranking algorithms, the content displayed on the mobile version of your website will be used instead.
Why has Google done this?
Personally i suspect the reason is three-fold:
- Mobile consistently makes up a majority of all website traffic
- Mobile websites tend to be a stripped back version of a desktop website meaning less code to wade through and easier indexing for the company (Think of the power savings alone!)
- They want you to spend more on mobile ads. Mobile ad revenue from PPC is always lackluster as using last-click goal tracking other channels typically convert better. They’re trying to shift your focus from last click to a more balanced measurement that highlights each channels worth in the conversion funnel.
What does this mean for me?
Let me ask you a question… The last time you have your website updated was the focus on the mobile version? My guess is probably not.
In the initial phase of the switch over you’ll probably see a lot of ranking movements before things settle down. At this point you’ll be able to take a measurement of your new ranking position for various keywords. Just make sure your rank tracking software is capable of differentiating mobile and desktop traffic. We use seranking.com (no affiliation) as it does this and more like search language and local rankings based on postcode etc.
What can i do to minimise the risk of negative ranking movement?
Short of a complete overhaul of your website and putting mobile first in your UI, UX, CRO and content strategies there’s a few things you can quickly do to mitigate any risk.
- Check if your Mobile First – Look for notification in Google Search Console.
- Get mobile friendly – Check and fix mobile issues listed in Google Search Console (beware of false positives)
- Speed test key pages within your website using the Google PageSpeed Insights Tool – Speed is now a ranking factor
- Switch all your reporting to Mobile First
- Look where desktop content is hidden on your mobile website and see if anything needs to be elevated back into visibility
- Check your popups – Google penalizes mobile websites that go against their popup guidelines.
If you want to discuss how the Mobile First index has affected your website pop me an email firstname.lastname@example.org.