Mobile-first indexing means that businesses with a website that is not mobile-friendly could lose their search engine ranking on both mobile and desktop searches.

Mobile First Indexing

On March 26, 2018 Google announced the rollout of mobile-first indexing of websites—but what does that actually mean?

Historically, Google looked at the desktop version of your website to determine where to rank your site in online searches. Then, they added the caveat that your website should be mobile-friendly—or they would lower your ranking on mobile searches. All in an effort to encourage website owners to provide a good user experience for the ever-increasing number of people who view websites on their phone.

But the rules have changed again—mobile-first indexing means that Google is now turning up the heat once again and intends to look at your mobile website first (as in before your desktop website. And here’s the kicker, your mobile website will determine where your site should rank in ALL online searches, both mobile and desktop.

It’s a game changer that could directly and dramatically impact your business.

Why The Shift to Mobile-First?

This decision was made because the statistics show that since 2015 the majority of people who are searching on Google are doing so from their mobile devices—possibly as high as 63% in the US.

Google wants to ensure that their users are finding what they are looking for, and prioritizing mobile-friendly sites does just that.

Google plans to make the transition in waves, notifying site owners of the changes through Search Console (the tool that your webmaster should be tracking), if you are not the webmaster and you don’t have one—you may be unaware of the impending changes. However, once the shift occurs, the mobile version of your website’s pages will be shown in search results—and that may not be pretty for some companies.

The Impact of Mobile-First indexing

If you currently have two separate sites: a desktop site, and a mobile site, and the mobile site doesn’t have all the same content as the desktop site, your ranking might take a dive because of that missing content.

If you have one site, and it is not a responsive website, you might want to look into getting a new site fairly soon (like yesterday!)

Responsive websites automatically re-configure to display correctly on different devices. On desktop, there is more space to present content side by side, but on mobile devices, people prefer to scroll up and down. Having one site that covers all devices also makes it much easier to manage content and content additions—there’s only one place to worry about.

The Bottom Line

Responsive sites are the way to go—don’t risk your Google rankings by ignoring the issue. Make a plan and implement the necessary changes now! And, if your competitors are lagging behind, soon you’ll be reaping the benefits. On the other hand, if your competition already has a responsive website, the gap is widening every day.

If you would like help, we are offering a FREE website assessment—we’ll let you know where you stand today and what your options are moving forward.

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Ocean 5 creates websites that are fully custom, technically advanced, responsive (mobile-friendly), professionally designed, and provide an outstanding user experience. We use Growth Driven Design to build a digital platform for accelerated lead generation.

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