Mobile First indexing – What It Means For Your Website

Do you do a double-take when you see someone sitting at a cafe on their laptop these days? Most people are on mobile now, in fact, the number of users vouching for their mobile devices continues to grow year-on-year, so it might seem strange to see someone perusing the internet on their laptop!

While desktop web browsers are still an important consideration in the creation and maintenance of web design, mobile versions of the websites are becoming more important in the ever-expanding realm of the internet. For small and medium-sized business owners, this is especially important because they need to ensure their websites – both desktop and mobile – are easily found and indexed by Google. Otherwise, they might as well shut down.

Mobile Vs Desktop Usage Demographic Breakdown

Source: ComScore

What is Mobile-First Indexing?

When you first create a website and launch it on the internet, you need to ensure that Google indexes it so it can be found by users searching for products or services like yours. As of 2018, 50% of small businesses do not have a website, meaning there are potential for many new websites to go live moving in the future.

While most small business owners are more likely to design and launch their desktop versions of their websites first, many more are moving toward mobile-first design and then supplementing the mobile site – and indexing – with their desktop versions. This tells Google that you want the mobile version to be what people can find first. If you don’t have a mobile version of your website, Google will still work to rank your desktop version, but you are more likely to have greater success online if you have a mobile version.

What are the Potential Benefits of Mobile-First Indexing?

Because the majority of internet users are now accessing the internet through their smartphones, it makes sense that Google has continued to evolve its indexing platform and protocols to ensure that users get what they want. While it can be confusing to stay on top of what search engines like Google want and need from a website, staying abreast to things like mobile-first indexing can mean that small business owners can overtake their competition online faster by knowing what the search engines desire and prioritize.

If you are on top of what is going on with Google and you continue to make adjustments to your website, specifically your mobile site, you will have better results over the long term of your business.

What are the Drawbacks of Mobile-First Indexing?

Largely, many small business owners rely on responsive web design to accommodate their mobile phone users when visiting their websites online. However, responsive design simply means that the web browser moves things around and reorganizes the desktop version of the website to be viewable on a phone, but it doesn’t account for the structure, SEO and other components of your website’s backend to be found on Google and other search engines.

This means that you can have the most beautiful, informative website on the planet, but if you aren’t operating according to what Google needs and wants, especially when it comes to mobile, you might live on page 20 of the search results for the rest of your operating existence – Ouch. To make this point even clearer, here’s how much traffic (average %) your website stands to acquire by the position you rank at on the first page of search results:

⦁ Your website ranking at position #1 = 32.5% of the traffic
⦁ #2 = 17.6%
⦁ #3 = 11.4%.
⦁ #10 = 2.4%.
⦁ < #11 =1%

Source: Mr. SEO

Mobile-First Won’t Make You Rank Number 1 – That Still Takes Time

One thing to consider is that even if you get a leg up on your competition related to mobile-first indexing, it will still take considerable effort, time, and even money to rank on the first page of a Google results page. This is just one more way that you can work toward that goal. Certainly, small and medium-sized businesses are working toward ranking better at all times, but sometimes, that work gets pushed aside for more pressing things, like making payroll and finding new suppliers.

It’s important for all businesses, regardless of size and function, to put time and effort into their website and mobile site design, launch, and maintenance so that they have a better chance of being found by those who can benefit the most from their services.

Consider how you can take advantage of these fairly new changes in your business, and consider how you can implement them as soon as possible. Surely, this is just one of the many changes that Google is going to be making in the coming months and years. How do we know that? Because they are constantly evolving.

About the Author

This article was written and contributed by Ben Maden, Managing Director of Matter Solutions in Brisbane, Australia.

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