As our technological world changes more and more, so do the rules. Google rolled out mobile-first indexing last year. But, what exactly does this mean? To put it simply, mobile-first indexing means Google now predominantly uses the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking. This is a change from desktop indexing, in which the algorithm primarily used the desktop version of the provided content when determining relevancy to a search query. The switch to mobile-first indexing has taken place because more users now use Google on a mobile device than on a desktop computer.
Google hasn’t created a separate index or algorithm for both mobile and desktop users; Googlebot crawls the web and indexes websites it finds using the smartphone agent, but stills provide the URL that is most appropriate to users, whether it’s a smartphone link or desktop link.
Some of Google’s best practices include having the same content on your mobile and desktop sites. If your mobile site contains less information and content than your desktop site, you may want to consider updating it so that the two sites are equivalent in the information they share. This includes text, images, and videos. Another one of their best practices states that structured data should be present on both your mobile and desktop sites. Make sure that URLs in the structured data on mobile versions are updated to the mobile URLs. Lastly, metadata should be present on both forms of your site. Make sure titles and meta descriptions are the same across the two versions of your site.
This change has been in effect for more than a year, so now is the time to make your updates if you haven’t. At first, Google was only rolling out the changes for websites that were ready — but now it seems everyone is fair game. According to Google’s latest guidance on the topic, if your mobile and desktop websites are identical, you may not have to do anything at all. That being said, you’ll still want to make sure your page speed and load time are up to spec and that your images and other media content are optimized for mobile viewing.
It’s vitally important now more than ever to make sure your mobile site is being optimized with every change you make. Your rankings and SEO will start to depend on you putting your mobile site first, no matter how much traffic you get on a mobile device versus a desktop.