Mobile-First Indexing Tips – The Tricks of The Trade

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In case you didn’t know, we are living in a mobile era. Gone were the days when you had to scramble to your desktop computer to search for something over the internet. Yes, mobile searches (or the number of them) have finally overtaken desktop searches, and this has greatly changed the atmosphere of digital marketing, SEO and other stuff pertaining to the online promotion of goods and products.

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Therefore, it does really make sense for Google, the most powerful search engine (to date) to index and rank content based on the mobile pages. For obvious reasons of course – more people are looking, surfing, and using the mobile platforms compared to their desktop counterparts.

The next question is this: is your website ready for this? Or better yet, is your website on mobile-first indexing ready?

We have gathered some information from top websites on you can ride the wave. However, let’s get back in time and see how this move from Google started. This year (2021) is the culmination of the top search engine’s efforts to use mobile-first indexing. Here’s a short timeline:

  • November 2016 – This was when mobile-first indexing was first announced.
  • March 2018 – The time when mobile-first indexing first rolled out.
  • December 2018 – During this time, 50% of the sites that were crawled were now placed in mobile-first indexing.
  • July 2019 – Time when mobile-first indexing was a default for new sites.
  • March 2020 – By this time, 70% of the crawled sites are now on mobile-first indexing.
  • July 2020 – Due to the pandemic, the 100% rollout of mobile-first indexing was moved to a later date.
  • Finally, last March 2021 – The mobile-first indexing was tentatively released 100%.

Based on the information given, it’s clear that Google’s direction will be on mobile. As an internet marketing buff, this has and will have a huge effect on your business. Most websites today are optimizing for mobile-first indexing, and you shouldn’t fall last.

Here are some mobile-first indexing tips that you might want to be aware of. Just like anything in life, it all boils down to preparation. The reader you are, the better. However, just be aware that Google doesn’t have a separate mobile and desktop index. There’s only one and the search engine giant is slowly transferring to mobile indexing of sites instead of desktop versions.

For some, this might become an issue there are contents that aren’t visible in the mobile version of your website that may not be counted after the big switch. This isn’t a problem for responsive websites but for complex ones. So, what are the things to check?

Technical checking

Be sure that a lot of your technical elements are in place for your mobile website. There are available tools that you can use if you are not sure that your website is mobile-ready. You can have your site crawled by a desktop or mobile user agent and see the difference. This way, you’ll be able to make the necessary changes, solve issues and make your mobile site as prepared as ever.

Contents checking

Know that there’s usually a difference between how a website appears on mobile platforms as compared to desktop versions. That is because it’s hard to show everything from a desktop site to a mobile because of the small screen sizes. Usually, there will be no spaces for other features like sidebars-, or special menus – the result is that mobile websites would tend to hide certain bits of content that are usually present on desktop versions.

Therefore, you need to realize that your mobile site’s content doesn’t need to be the same as the desktop. However, be sure that any important content should be presented in the mobile version. In the past, if content didn’t show on a mobile version by default, it would be counted as lesser than the visible content. However, with this big shift called mobile-first indexing, everything changed. Now, there are more design options like tabbed content. Google will not discount the contents that are hidden to improve user experience.

Navigation checking

Don’t worry about the external links to your website. They should come in together properly and be counted for your mobile version if the canonical tags are there and are correct. But it’s not the same with internal links. Here, you want to make sure that all the important links are still existing on the mobile version. Mobile websites tend to use smaller menus and options as compared to desktop versions. This could affect the rankings as they may change how PageRank crawls in your site.

At this point, you should just check if your website is already on mobile-first indexing as you won’t have anything to worry about. However, if not, then the above suggestions will greatly help, and you should do it now while you still have time. Google’s behavior, the trends and the technologies are changing quickly as they appeared.

What’s in today might not be in tomorrow so it’s important to really be on top of your game. Besides, if you’re in a huge competition called internet marketing, no amount of mobile-first indexing tips can stop the others to step down on you. Though it’s hard, it’s better to be one step ahead of the game.

Google’s way of handling billions of web pages and ranking them really is astounding. You’ll see that it goes wherever the trend is and though it seems impossible, at least we can see a glimpse of the direction it’s going. For example, who would have thought that websites would go smaller, compact, and mobile?

In the past years, we can’t access them without our desktop computers but now, they are right at our fingertips. So, regardless of how you treat this internet marketing game, being aware of your advantage from every possible angle is a must. Just be familiar with the tricks of the trade and you’ll be in good hands.

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