It has been almost a year since talk about Google’s release of their mobile-first indexing system and they finally announced that the platform is now being implemented, but what is mobile-first indexing and how will it affect website owners and end-users alike? Let’s take a sneak peak on what the system brings to the table.
What is Mobile-First Indexing?
In the simplest of terms, mobile-first indexing is a system or platform that forces a website searched on a mobile device to automatically redirected to the website’s mobile version. There are multiple reasons behind this as well like, data allocation, loading time, and cheaper transmission costs. With the ease of access to the internet through mobile devices more accessible than ever before, the amount of data being transferred to mobile devices compared to their desktop and notebook counterparts are steadily increasing. Which means a lot of unnecessary data which the desktop versions preload are also being preloaded on the mobile devices.
We all have seen at one point how the desktop version of Facebook looks from a mobile browser. You can barely read anything unless you zoom in. Which is also the sole reason why certain websites have mobile apps or mobile versions. To let users load the platform easily. So not only the amount of data transferred is drastically reduced, the loading times, and clutter while using a mobile device is reduced by a large amount as well.
So this will be another Index to consider when dealing with SEO?
No, Google still has one same index as before, the only difference with Mobile-First Indexing is how each entry in the index is treated when the search engine is used. Think of it as simply having a yes or no option under each index entry which will determine if a desktop version or a mobile version will be loaded.
How does this affect all available websites?
Take note that more than 95% of all websites do not have a mobile version. The reason being is that these are the types of websites that will either have a dedicated mobile application, or it has the same type of content whether it is their mobile or desktop version. Let’s take the most common example, Facebook when you try to browse Facebook using a mobile browser you will always be redirected to their mobile site rather than the desktop (unless you force the browser to load it by searching facebook desktop on Google).
So it is not exactly a bad thing for most website owners, administrators, and the management. As the platform will not negatively affect their website in a negative way. So the only ones that are going to be affected are the websites who exactly have http://m.website.com and http://website.com URLs
The only problem is for SEO purposes, the affected websites will now have to adjust and follow Google’s guidelines about mobile-first indexing, which is available on their developer’s website. Not to worry as Google will also notify websites who are affected by a message via notifications.
Some important things to remember and know about the new system
A, Ranking is still processed the same way
Some may think that due to the difference in sites that are going to be loaded, the overall rank of the website will be affected, this is not true, as Google intricately explained that while both metrics are going to be monitored, the desktop ranking will still be the main driving metric that determines the ranking. Traffic to the mobile version will just determine the web site’s mobile friendliness.
So owners that do not offer a mobile version should have not to worry as they are perfectly fine.
Content for The Desktop Websites are still going to be monitored
Remember that most mobile sites only offer ease of access and the most basic of the services. So the main thing to develop is still the desktop content of your website. Unless all of your content is offered on your mobile website as well. It will still be the best choice to continue improving the desktop experience, especially for service and product-oriented websites. This is only untrue for social media websites who need to constantly improve both their mobile app, mobile version and desktop app.
If a mobile site is available, it always is part of the top results when a mobile device is used.
This is self-explanatory, the bottom line is, expect to be greeted by the mobile version of the website you are looking for when you are using a mobile device. Note that some websites disable access to the desktop version of mobile devices as well. The best example is Upwork, you can never access their desktop site without a PC or a Laptop.