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How to Best Prepare for Google’s New Mobile Search Index

Mobile Optimization - 16 Nov 2016

How to Best Prepare for Google’s New Mobile Search Index

Google's New Mobile Search Index

Is your business adequately prepared for the mobile search index coming to Google? Following a number of other recent developments, such as the much talked about Penguin 4.0 algorithm update, Google has unveiled another piece of important news regarding their search indexing. Their announcement advises that within the next few months, the mobile index will be the primary index for determining website rankings, for both mobile and desktop search results, sending waves of reaction through the web development and search engine optimization (SEO) industries.

While continued development can only be seen as a good thing in the long run, the short-term effects have seen many companies and businesses frantically trying to ensure they are ready and equipped for the change.

How it Will Work

Although much of the key information has not been released, there will be a fundamental switch from prioritizing the analysis of the desktop version of your website, to analysing the mobile version to determine page value and search rankings. This is in line with the majority of site visits and searches now being done from mobile devices and this development has been expected for some time.

As a result, elements of your website, such as site speed and mobile optimization are now even more crucial to your search rankings than ever before. If you maintain a separate mobile website, the content on that version of your site will govern your desktop search rankings, as well as your mobile search rankings, so it is important to ensure that your mobile site is not lacking in content and optimization.

The Importance of Mobile

There is little secret that mobile is one of the largest and fastest growing user areas on the internet, with an increasing number of people no longer using a desktop PC, or laptop.
Consequently, catering to mobile devices has become essential for web designers and marketing teams, as they seek to capitalize on this growing market.

What Should You Do?

Now that you know the change is coming, what are the next stages to be adequately prepared? The first and most important step is to ensure that your website is fully optimized for all mobile devices. This includes testing it with the various mobile browsers at different resolutions, ensuring that you have a fully responsive design (unless you have a separate mobile website version). If your website isn’t fully mobile responsive, then you should seriously consider investing in a new one, or you are highly likely to be left behind in the long run.

If you already have a responsive website which is ranking well, then you are likely in good shape to retain your rankings once the mobile-first index takes over, as your site will have the same content and SEO features, regardless of the platform on which it is being viewed.

If you have a separate mobile website, you should ensure that it has the same valuable content and optimization features as your desktop site, as it will govern your overall search rankings, once mobile is the primary index used.

If you don’t have either a responsive site, or a dedicated mobile site, your desktop-only site will still continue to be indexed and ranked. The mobile-first index means that the mobile site will be the primary index for rankings, but if only a desktop site is available, this will be the version that is indexed. However, when it comes to mobile search results, shown to searchers using mobile devices, Google already favors sites which are mobile-friendly, so a responsive site should still be on your to-do list to rank well for mobile searches.

Mobile devices are the platform of the future; not being sufficiently optimized and prepared might see you plunge down the mobile search rankings, taking your customers, clients and profit with you. If there wasn’t enough information previously to outline the importance of a mobile-friendly and optimized website, then this should serve as a wake-up call as to its marked significance, now, and even more so in the future.

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