Tips For Preparing For Mobile-First Indexing In 2018
The mobile-first index is designed to rank websites according to how the mobile version has been crawled by Google rather than the desktop version. Google plans to roll it out in 2018 although it was first mentioned back in 2016.
Google will be creating and ranking search listings based on the mobile version of website content in the foreseeable future.
Mobile-first indexing in 2018 represents a significant shift regarding how Google discovers, prioritises, and evaluates content. If you are a website owner, Internet marketer, or SEO professional, you need to be prepared for the changes.
Compare the content in your desktop and mobile versions of your website. You should ensure that the experience is consistent across both versions such that users always access engaging content irrespective of the device they are using. Google has stated on several occassions that responsive websites are the better option over a seperate mobile version. A responsive website adjusts to all screen and device sizes so the site can be viewed easily on desktop, mobiles, tablets and laptops.
2. Structured Data
Structured data helps Google and other search engines to categorise and index your content and can help improve the presentation of your pages in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). If you have separate versions of your website i.e. mobile and desktop, you should use the Google Structured Data Testing tool to check both versions. Ideally, you want to have it both on the mobile and desktop versions of your website and ensure that URLs are updated on mobile.
3. Internal Linking
Verify whether the mobile version of your website uses separate URLs from the desktop version or dynamic serving. If readers find it harder to find content when viewing the mobile version of your website compared to the desktop version, it can lead to user experience problems and internal linking issues. Simply put, the internal linking should be consistent if you don’t wish to experience the negative effects of the mobile-first index.
4. Mobile User Experience (UX)
One of the most important factors is page speed, which has even greater importance on mobile. The mobile and desktop versions of websites hardly ever have similar performance regarding page load times. If the mobile version loads slower than the desktop version, Google’s new index is likely to affect you negatively. It is important to do everything possible to make sure that pages load as quickly as possible on the mobile version of your website.
The Bottom Line
The introduction of mobile-first indexing in 2018 will be a significant change. Whether your website will be affected or not depends on several factors. The important thing is to check the user experience on both versions of your website if it’s not responsive and ensure both versions are user-friendly.