Hey! Are you aware of Google’s mobile-first index? Must be! That is, after all, doing the rounds since the previous year or so. What’s buzzing now? Well, it’s that this search engine giant has moved a step ahead in this venture. Yes! Now, the big news is Google has started its experiment of making their index mobile-first. Based on that data, a website’s ranking result will be decided against a search query.
Okay! Wait! Let us get to the facts one by one.
Rewinding the story back:
It was earlier reported that Google would be focusing more on mobile content to decide on a site’s ranking. Since the time of its launch 20 years back, the search engine has always used a website’s desktop version for determining ranking signals. But as you can see, the scenario is much different today, when users are more into mobile searching than desktop. So, the company has decided to change its indexing methodology.
What’s the latest update?
Well, the latest update is that the search engine company has kicked off their experimentation of the venture. As they have stated, recently, mobile searching have become a major part of any SEO strategy. So, a mobile-first indexing is essential, and they are going to make it their primary index.
However, they are unlikely to rush into things! Google will be taking small steps over the next few months to move ahead with their project. After careful experimentation, they will finalize this change only when they are confident about a better user experience.
How will you prepare yourself?
Of course, you need to prepare yourself! Considering the change that is to come, there are certain modifications you would have to do on your part. Check those out!
1. Do you have different site configurations?
Having different site configurations mean markup and primary content of your desktop version are generally distinct from the mobile version. In that case, these are few changes you need to do, as Google suggests.
a. Structured markup –
You should have a structured markup for both versions. Now guess how the sites can verify this? They can authenticate its equivalence by writing URLs of desktop and mobile versions into Structuring Data Testing Tool. After that, both outputs will be compared.
b. Avoid markup of large amounts –
This is when structured data will be added to the mobile version. As per Google’s instructions, you should not add large amounts that are mostly irrelevant to the respective content or document.
c. Can Googlebot access it?
If you don’t know then; Googlebot is the spider that crawls through different pages to track the new or updated ones and adds those to Google index. So, making sure your mobile site is easily accessible to Googlebot is crucial. Use the robots.txt testing tool for verification and authentication.
d. About canonical links –
No! There, you don’t have to make any such changes. Those will function as guides and will be used by Google to give accurate search results to users – both on mobile and desktop.
2. Do you have a responsive site?
Often we term it as a dynamic serving site, most websites today are responsive in nature. The main content, as well as markup, are same in both desktop and mobile. If you have a responsive internet site, lucky! No need of making any changes or modifications.
3. Do you own a site?
In other words, if you own a site, you must have already verified your desktop version. Do the same for mobile versions as well – get it verified in Search Console.
“Oh God! But I don’t have a mobile version of my website.”
Relax! You don’t have to worry if there isn’t any mobile version of your site. In that case, your desktop version will be considered for search results. To put in another way, Google will only search for the mobile version when it is available. But only thing is that they will use mobile user agent for viewing your desktop version.
So, isn’t there any difference? Well, it’s just that you cannot have the advantage from mobile-friendly ranking boost. No! There is no need to scratch your head over this. You can always create a mobile version.
As of now, be prepared for the necessary changes as per Google’s recommendations and wait for the results now. Google has promised to keep us updated and we promise the same to you.
Webmasters; Get ready! It’s time for some real work now!