For the past five to six months the search industry has been buzzing with talk around the greatest change to Google search results for quite some time – the mobile-first index.
Amidst this commotion, it is easy to get lost with what you really need to know about the update.
This post will give you a quick outline of what the update involves, as well as the main things to check for on your site to prevent a misfortune in traffic.
The mobile-first index is a change in the way Google is going to index content.
Presently, Google takes a gander at the desktop adaptation of a site and afterward bases how it will rank the mobile site according to that information. When this update reveals, the opposite of that will happen. Google will begin looking at your mobile site and from that, will rank the desktop site.
While we are as yet waiting for an official release date, we do know the update is in the pipeline and being tried.
Whenever Google gives us facilitate news on when the update will be released, they repeat the message that it is still "months" away. From their comments, we can assume the release will be in the second 50% of 2017.
Almost two years back Google declared more searches happen on mobile than desktop.
As mobile is now the predominant way for individuals to search on Google, it bodes well for them to guarantee the experience on this gadget is as great as it can be.
In heaps of situations, sites provide a more terrible or thinned down user encounter on the mobile gadget, that is not as great as the desktop site. This happens more on mobile sites where separate URLs are used or where dynamic serving is being used.
Content. Take a gander at the mobile rendition of your site. Is the content from the desktop variant visible/open? You should be providing a predictable affair for users regardless of the gadget they get to the site on.
Something to consider is the real content on the site. If you are at present removing or hiding content on your mobile site, think of ways in which you can have this content on both. You in a perfect world need content to be available paying little respect to how the site is gotten to.
Ensure you additionally consider the best way to move this content over to the mobile site. You do not have any desire to sacrifice your user encounter just to meet this prerequisite.
For instance, do not put a content square with 300 expressions of content at the top of an online business category page, pushing every one of your products way down the page. Consider moving the content drop down the page or halfway hiding it with a 'read more' button or in an accordion. (I'm not a major advocate of read more buttons, but rather do whatever works best for your site!)
Alongside the real content on the page, guarantee your headings (H1s) and titles are not missing and are set as you need them to be.
The speed of your site is a basic thing to consider to help enhance usability, especially on mobile. Google already considers page speed when ranking a page, and this will be just as important when the mobile-first index is completely live.
Personally, I feel it would bode well if this ranking factor was mulled over more when the mobile-first index is live. Accessing a site can be a painful affair on a mobile gadget when not associated with Wi-Fi, and it would bode well for Google to prioritize this usability factor more.
To check whether you have to activity anything with this issue, test your site in Google's PageSpeed Insights Tool.
If your site is not loading in around three seconds, I recommend looking into the reasons behind this and investigating why your site is loading slow.
A notable issue with sites that use either dynamic serving or separate URLs for their mobile site is that the internal linking is vastly different to the desktop site. This can cause some user encounter issues for readers as they battle to find content that can be easily found on the desktop rendition of the site.
Comparative difficulties are caused when Google crawls the mobile site. If your internal linking/information architecture on the mobile site does not closely replicate the desktop, this can cause internal link equity to be ineffectively distributed throughout the site, which will cause a drop in rankings.
In a considerable measure of cases, organized data is expelled from the mobile rendition of the site. Unfortunately, you are going to have to move all your organized data over to the mobile site, as Google will begin looking towards that for organized data.
Use Google's organized data testing tool on your mobile and desktop site to check whether the organized data is the same crosswise over both gadgets.
While the Firebox site is responsive, presently it conceals content on category pages with no real way to get to it once you visit the mobile gadget. This conflicts with what Google is recommending. Here is an illustration:
The New Look website experiences comparative issues to Firebox, aside from this time they are additionally removing internal linking alongside content. See cases below:
They not just expel content from the genuine main body of the page, the internal linking from the main navigation has likewise been lessened on mobile so it just links to the parent categories.
This is causing an extensive number of pages to be an increased number of clicks from the landing page, which is not as much as perfect. See below:
There are a lot of further cases over multiple sites. Unfortunately, as Google noted in their original blog post on the mobile index, sites have a tendency to provide vastly different content on the mobile form of their site.
While I believe that adjusting components and the prominence of them for mobile users is something that bodes well, such as promoting search further and hiding components in dropdowns/accordions, you have to guarantee the experience is at least steady. Abstain from removing center parts of the page such as internal links and content.
Given what Google has already declared regarding the mobile index update, it is apparent the main issue they are trying to handle is poor usability of the mobile site.
Over the past year, there have been multiple updates that target sites that are ad-overwhelming, with low-quality content. These updates include the center/Phantom updates as well as the as of late released mobile interstitial update in January.
Considering the smaller screen space on mobile, I imagine Google is just going to get more forceful in penalizing ad overwhelming sites with intrusive interstitials.
I expect that future center updates will be harsher on sites that ruin the mobile experience of the site with ads. If this is something that you do, update your sites so ads are less intrusive. It's bad for your brand, users and traffic. There is a way to execute ads without ruining your site.
The mobile index will be a significant change in the way Google ranks sites. To guarantee you are not negatively affected, ensure that your user experience is comparative crosswise over both the mobile and desktop site.
If you do not have a responsive site, ensure you verify whether you have any of the issues above. It may likewise be a decent time to consider creating a responsive site to benefit from decreased maintenance.