On March 26, 2018, Google announced that they are rolling out their new mobile-first indexing. What does this mean exactly? In the past, Google has used desktop versions of content in their crawling, indexing, and ranking systems. However, mobile use is on the rise. Google users have gone from being primarily desktop users to now primarily mobile users. Because of this, Google is changing their algorithms to mainly display the mobile versions of the page in search results.
Will this mobile-first indexing directly affect your website?
According to Google software engineer Fan Zhang, Google is still in the process of rolling out this new indexing. They are implementing it in a more broad and general way at this time. It is also operating independently from Google’s mobile-friendly assessment. Zhang states that “sites that are not in this initial wave don’t need to panic. Mobile-first indexing is about how we gather content, not about how content is ranked. Content gathered by mobile-first indexing has no ranking advantage over mobile content that’s not yet gathered this way or desktop content. Moreover, if you only have desktop content, you will continue to be represented in our index.” The good news is there is no need panic if some of your content is not a mobile version at this exact time. This new algorithm change isn’t fully complete, and it will take a little while to affect your website and search rankings.
However, this doesn’t mean that your website will never be affected by this. Now is the time to start giving priority to creating mobile versions of your content. Furthermore, Google is constantly encouraging web-developers to make their content as mobile-friendly as possible. Google’s current ranking algorithm does prioritize both mobile and desktop versions of the content based on how mobile-friendly it is. Websites whose content is more mobile-friendly are ranked higher in search results. Google also recently announced that in July 2018, slow-loading content will be ranked lower.
To summarize, Zhang says it is important to keep these things in mind when it comes to this new mobile-first indexing:
1. While this mobile-first indexing is being rolled out broadly and may take some time, having mobile-friendly content for both desktop and mobile content is crucial for those who want to improve their SEO results.
2. Fast-loading content is a vital part of having your content shown in a search result.
3. As always, ranking uses many factors. Google may still show content to users that’s not mobile-friendly or that is slow loading if their many other signals determine it is the most relevant content to show.
Want us to check out your website to see how mobile-friendly it is? Reach out to us today to schedule a free consultation.