Google has just started rolling out the new mobile-first version of its search engine. This means Google will now start to prioritize mobile content ahead of any other in its search results (SERPs.)
What Does This Mean For You?
Quite simply, if you don’t have a mobile-ready, responsive website then your business may just disappear from the search results and your business will suffer.
What is the mobile-first index?
If you didn’t already know Google crawls your website to add pages to its index. It does this with a bot that surfs around your site as if it is a real user. It checks all the pages and follows the links on your page.
However, Google previously pretended to be a desktop user to surf your site – the big difference now is that it will crawl your site as if it is a mobile user.
Why is that so huge?
Simply put, your website might display completely different on a mobile device than it does on a desktop – some websites don’t display at all on a mobile device! Your desktop version may include links that don’t appear on the mobile version so Google will never know to index those parts of your site. This will result in your site taking a nosedive down the search engine rankings.
Google uses a variety of different factors to determine how well your site should do in the SERPs but rest assured if your site is not mobile-friendly, and that includes slow loading times on someone’s cell phone, your ranking will take a hit and so will your business.
“The message from Google is loud and clear: Now is the time to adapt to a mobile friendly site.”
Why would Google do this?
Google knows we live in a mobile world, indeed, the number of mobile users actually surpassed desktop users a few years ago. The biggest users are mobile rather than desktop. They are simply catering to their market.
I have an old site that isn’t mobile-friendly – so what now?
Don’t worry (too much!), your site will still get crawled and indexed, but by a mobile user agent.
If your site isn’t responsive you should seriously consider switching over to a responsive website. Let’s face it if Google says most of it’s users are mobile then your website needs to be accessible on that platform.
How long do I have to get ready for the mobile-first index?
Whilst Google is rolling out the mobile index there will still be two indexes – the mobile index and the desktop index. Some users will see the results from one whilst others will see the other index – in reality, you won’t know which one you are seeing. Eventually, Google will move to the mobile index only.
Google hasn’t specified a date when the rollout will be completed but it will take months before it is fully implemented. So, there is plenty of time for you to rethink your website and make it mobile-friendly.