Preparing your Website for Google’s Mobile First Index

As early as last year, we heard whispers of Google’s plan to roll out a ‘mobile-first’ version of its index. What this means is they plan to prioritise the mobile version of a website in their search listings.

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The majority of people who use Google, and indeed the internet as a whole, do so on a mobile device so this shake up has been on the cards for a long time and doesn’t come as a complete surprise. Their aim is to deliver the most efficient and seamless experience for users who use mobile phones and tablets to search the internet.
As the end of 2017 fast approaches, it’s difficult to know when Google plan to make this change,  there has been much speculation but no firm date. In their own words, Google indicated a launch date “many quarters away”.

The good news

The good news is that if your website is mobile friendly or in other words responsive, you are ready to take on the changes ahead without it affecting how Google crawls and ranks your site. This is because the content on your desktop site is the same as on your mobile site and your URL’s are the same.

If your website is not mobile friendly, don’t panic just yet, Google suggests there is still plenty of time to prepare, the changes will be rolled out over an extended period of time. Although Google want you to have a fully mobile friendly website, it will continue to crawl and index the desktop version instead, remember the change is mobile-first not mobile-only.

So what does all this mean for your business and how can you best prepare for the changes ahead?

If you’re looking to embrace the future changes but are not sure where to start, here are a few points to consider:

1. Ensure your website is mobile friendly.

Whilst you could opt to create a mobile website to run along your desktop version, the recommendation from Google is to have one site that works across all devices, streaming all your content and retaining a consistent tone of voice to your overall brand.

2. Consider your content.

If you’re running a mobile and desktop version of your website, content discrepancies can cause issue. Ensure your content reflects the same messages on both sites and is not prioritised on one site over another. Making it easy for the user to find what they are looking for will help Google favour you. A responsive version of your site will eliminate this problem altogether.

3. Consider your website loading times.

Speed is everything, especially as the emphasis shifts to mobile. If your site takes longer than 2 seconds to load on a mobile device, now is the time to re-evaluate. Here at Wider, we build all of our websites with speed in mind for optimum performance which is an important metric to Google.

It sounds to us that Google is a little way from fully rolling out its mobile-first index. Whenever they launch the change, it’s not going to happen overnight which gives you plenty of time to consider making your website mobile-ready, visible and transparent for Google to find.

Need some direction to prepare for Google's mobile-first index?

If you’re not sure if your website is mobile friendly or you need some advice on how to prepare for Google’s mobile-first index, then get in touch and find out how we can help you.

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