and how does it impact SEO?
If you’ve never heard of the term mobile-first-indexing or if you’re simply not sure what it means, you’re not alone. In short, it refers to an initiative by Google to, among other things, make the Internet more mobile-friendly given that more and more people are choosing to use their smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices to navigate the World Wide Web.
But what does this mean to you, exactly, if you’re a small business owner who has a website where you sell your products or services? Read on for a look at mobile-first-indexing, how the development could impact you, and what this all means for your SEO strategy.
Mobile-First-Indexing…What is it?
Mobile-first-indexing is really a concept whose time has come. What it means is that Google will establish as well as rank its search listings by referencing the mobile version of your website. The world’s biggest search engine company has already kicked off the process of using the mobile version of the Internet as its main search engine index. In case you’re unaware, a search engine index refers to a group of pages or documents that are discovered by the search engine. And this is mostly accomplished courtesy of scouring the web through links. In yesteryear, Google pursued its search engine index function from the desktop computer perspective, but the increasing popularity of searches being conducted via mobile browsers is such that the company is now crawling the Internet from the mobile browser perspective.
How Could it Affect You?
It’s important to note that mobile-first-indexing is not the same thing as mobile-only indexing. So, if you don’t have a mobile version of your desktop site, Google will include your desktop site in the index. However, the lack of a mobile site could have an adverse impact on your ranking. It’s also critical to understand that simply having a mobile site is not enough since sites that are not deemed to be mobile-friendly will also be adversely impacted when it comes to ranking. If you have a desktop version and a mobile version, Google will regard the latter as the main version of your site. So, you will be impacted to some extent if you have a business website.
The good news is that you have some time to get up to speed on mobile-first-indexing since Google is introducing it in phases, and the rollout is still relatively new. Another bit of good news is that you might not have to make any changes if your desktop site and mobile site are pretty much the same. However, this only holds true if you’re satisfied with your rankings as they are.
How Can You Optimize Your SEO Strategy?
While there’s no rush, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be proactive and ensure that your mobile site is optimized and that your SEO strategy is geared towards this new mobile-first-indexing reality. Here is a handful of things to consider to make your SEO strategy more effective:
Content: When it comes to your mobile site, ensure that it matches your desktop site in terms of top-quality content, and use formats that are not only crawlable but also indexable. This includes using alt-attributes if your sites have pictures.
Structured Data: Your desktop site and your mobile site should both include identically structured data markup.
Metadata: For best results, use equivalent titles and meta descriptions on both your desktop site and your mobile site.
Social metadata: Social metadata, such as Twitter cards, need to be included on both your mobile site and your desktop site.
Yes, the era of mobile-first-indexing is now upon us, and it’s important that you optimize your mobile site for SEO is that it ranks well in search engine queries. While the rollout will be gradual, it makes sense to get your ducks in a row sooner rather than later to boost your rankings.