In this technological era, where mobile devices are increasingly used, it is essential to work with Mobile-First indexing. This will allow you to be within reach of those people who use their smartphones or tablets to surf the Internet.
Why is it so important to implement it? Especially because Google will take it into account when ranking you in search engines. If your website is not optimized for mobile devices, it can be a problem for your positioning.
The Internet giant has been working on Mobile-First indexing for several years. This has given a twist to the way people search and navigate the web, thus expanding the adoption of mobile devices in almost any part of users’ lives.
Knowing Mobile-First Indexing?
This is the mobile version of your website that Google can include in its index. Also, it is the baseline for determining ranking on the results page. In short, it means that famous search engine predominantly uses the mobile version of content to index and position.
Previously, the Google bot relied on the desktop version to determine the relevance of a page to a query. However, as mobile technology has advanced, they found it necessary to modify it for mobile variants.
It should be noted that Mobile-First indexing is not a mobile-only index. This means that if your site does not have a version compatible with this type of equipment, the desktop site can be included in the index.
But not having a mobile-friendly experience could negatively impact your website ranking. Also, keep in mind that a site that has a better mobile experience is capable of receiving a ranking increase.
Keys to working with Mobile-First indexing
Knowing how Mobile-First indexing works is essential to start optimizing elements on your page. In this way, it will be much easier to execute it and you will see the results in Google search engines.
For this reason, below you will know some keys that you should take into account:
1.- Check if your site uses Mobile-First indexing
The first thing you have to do is check if your website went to this indexing for mobile devices. If you already have it, you will see a notification from Google Search Console that tells you. But if you can’t find this confirmation, what should you do?
A simple way to do this is by opening the Search Console and running a URL inspection for one of your site’s pages. You can do this by going to the text box at the top of your screen.
2.- Indexing cannot be disabled
Keep in mind that when you move to mobile indexing there is no going back. You will not be able to escape from it; the only option you have is to adapt. It is something that you can do automatically from the application.
This implies that when developing the design of your website you have to take mobile devices as a starting point. Also, when planning the content you will publish, consider how it will be displayed to users on their mobile devices.
The good news is that most sites don’t have to make radical changes. And it is that Google itself reassured those who have a responsive site or one with a dynamic publication. In this case, the main and marked content are equivalent on mobile devices and desktop, so they would not have to modify anything.
A tip to keep in mind
Some may despair of not knowing how to work with this new indexing. If you also feel this way, it is recommended that you talk to your team of developers and designers about this modification.
Make them understand how mobile device indexing can directly affect the way they work. In addition, they must be very clear about what they can do and what they should avoid. It is not about scaring them, but about preparing them to work based on this mobile version.
3.- There is only one Google index
Many had the false belief that the mobile indexing proposed by Google since 2016 handles two indexes. That is, they thought there was one for mobile and one for desktop. But this is far from reality, since it works only with one.
This indexing is related to the Googlebot, which is responsible for crawling and indexing your website, but not with the website index that Google manages. This means that when the websites have content aimed at both mobile and desktop, they will not undergo any change when they go from moving to Mobile-First indexing.
Google has always tracked by taking the desktop version first, thus leaving the mobile version as an alternative version. But with this mobile indexing everything took a turn and now it turns out that your mobile site is the main version.
4.- Make sure your site is mobile-friendly
You have to verify that your website is compatible from a mobile point of view. This can be done with the help of the Google tool that is intended for that. There you will enter the URL of the page and any existing mobile usability problems will be identified.
It should be clarified that mobile usability and mobile device indexing are not the same. This is essential so that they can understand how Google tracks your mobile versions.
You always have to make sure that the relevant resources are not blocked by robot.txt files. This can prevent the Googlebot from accessing them and can have a big effect on how Google views the page.
In case you want to carry out an analysis of the usability of your mobile site, you can do it in the corresponding tab that you will find in Search Console. It is located under the category of «improvements». There you can see errors that you should pay attention to.
5.- Offers the same experience on mobile devices as on desktop
Another aspect that you should take into account when working with mobile indexing is that the experience presented in both is the same. This means that the user must navigate and enjoy the same thing on both mobile and desktop devices.
Developers and designers often focus on the single website user experience, and that’s fine. But sometimes many items on the desktop are hidden when a page is displayed on a mobile device. This leads to different types of problems with Mobile-First indexing.
To achieve a good experience in both versions, it is necessary that everyone involved in a site is educated on this topic. They should understand that content needs to be displayed in a mobile-friendly way, rather than hiding and removing it.
Here are some keys that can be very useful to achieve consistency between the mobile and desktop versions:
- Structured data.
- Meta’s robots’ tags.
- Ad localization.
- Pictures and videos.
6.- Optimize the loading speed
If there is something you should take care of and optimize, it is the loading speed of the website, since users will not wait more than 3 seconds to see a page loaded. It is important that you do not forget that nobody likes to navigate on a slow page; they are always going to opt for fast websites.
In addition, it should be noted that this is a factor that is very important in web positioning. In fact, page speed is one of the aspects that is considered for mobile indexing. So, make sure to optimize it for users and not just for search engines.
When the page speed is slow you get negative results in the bounce rate, in the time that users spend on your website and in the conversion rate. These figures can be found through a site performance report.
Still have questions about Mobile-First indexing?
You may still have some questions on this topic. And with that in mind, Google offers a guide called ” Mobile-First Indexing Best Practices “. In it you will find the following key points:
- How to ensure that the Googlebot can access and crawl your content.
- How to make sure content is the same on desktop and mobile.
- Check your structured data.
- Put the same metadata on both versions of your site.
- Check the location of your ads.
- Check visual content.
- Additional best practices for separate URLs.
- Troubleshooting for Mobile-First.
With all this information you can now feel calmer to face the activation of indexing for mobile devices. And you can start working on your digital marketing strategy in one place and in an integrated way.