How Does Mobile-First

Indexing Affect Your Website?

The aim of any website is to get to the top of Google’s organic search results for a desired keyword or phrase, but how to achieve that is somewhat of a mystery for many.

Google uses algorithms and ranking signals to deliver web pages ranked by relevance each time you ‘Google’ something. (Crazy that the brand has now become a verb!)

Google makes thousands of changes every year to its algorithms and one we’ve been hearing a lot about lately is mobile-first indexing. But what does this mean?


What is ‘mobile-first indexing’?


Mobile-first indexing means that when Google’s bots trawl your site to index your data, they will look at your mobile site first and this will be the baseline for how they determine its ranking.

If Google doesn’t find a mobile-friendly site, it will go on and trawl your desktop site and rank it accordingly. However, a site without a mobile-friendly version is likely to rank lower than one that does, not just on mobile searches, but on desktop too.


How Does It Impact My Website?


It is not possible to comment on every eventuality for every site, but as a general rule, if you have a responsive site, then this change should not have a significant impact.

Google said:

If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.

Responsive sites change automatically to fit the size of the user’s screen, so as well as offering an optimised browsing experience, they rank well on both mobile and desktop because they hold the same content. At Hyphen, we build responsive sites as standard to provide users with a consistent experience across different platforms and as benefit to search rankings.

If you have a separate mobile version of your website that has less content, less tags, different structure, fewer backlinks etc, then the mobile-first indexing may have an impact.


What Do I Need to Do?


If you have a responsive site, then it is likely you won’t need to do anything.

If your site isn’t responsive, then you may need to think about transferring the information to a new site to minimise the chance of losing search rankings. Feel free to chat to our team about your concerns or requirements.

If you have a separate mobile site, we would recommend that you start by reviewing your sites to see if any work needs to be done. For example, is the same content available on the desktop and mobile sites?  Is your SEO data on both sites, e.g. titles, descriptions, alt-tags? If not, then some work will be needed to avoid a potential decrease in rankings when mobile-first indexing rolls out.


If you want to discuss your website, please contact us for some advice, and we will be happy to offer a quotation for a responsive website.

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Hyphen's other services please contact us.

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