The use of mobile search continues to increase and Google has definitely taken notice. As a result of this trend, Google has been moving steadily toward a mobile-first indexing algorithm, something that most website marketing services need to observe. Today’s marketers are well aware of the need for mobile-friendliness, since this has been a factor for a number of years. Yet the bigger question that website marketing companies need to answer is whether their client websites are optimized for mobile-first indexing, because there is a difference.
What Is Mobile-First Indexing?
Simply stated, mobile-first indexing is Google’s way of catering to the larger demand for mobile search by giving priority to websites that possess the most user-friendly characteristics. Although most website marketing services have been moving in that direction for quite a few years with the adaptation of responsive design and a number of other elements to increase mobile-friendliness, mobile-first indexing goes a step beyond this.
According to Google, this means that website marketing companies must begin optimizing all websites to include a list of critical elements in order to get the most consideration in a mobile search. This even includes desktop sites since the change is reportedly going to apply to all searches. The list of elements to include are responsive design, content designed specifically for mobile search, and AMP (accelerated mobile pages). Sites that possess these qualities will take precedence in the SERPs over those that do not.
How Should Marketers Prepare?
The basics of preparing for mobile-first indexing is first to understand this will essentially be replacing desktop indexing once the change goes into full effect. The key factor the new algorithm is looking for above all else is whether a site is mobile-ready or not. With this in mind, website marketing services can bring their client websites up to speed in the following ways:
- Understand Mobile-First Priorities - The main goals of mobile-friendly design are to present pages quickly, provide good information, and allow necessary engagement. Considering these priorities that dictate the other two steps to being mobile-first, website marketing companies must make UX and engagement on smaller screens the priority.
- Build Mobile-Friendly Websites - Since the goal of mobile search is to serve pages that are fast and easy to use on smaller devices, the place to begin is with the creation of a responsive design that is built with mobile use in mind or creating a dedicated mobile app. Design should focus on fast-loading pages with elements that make navigation and site use easy.
- Create Mobile-First Content - In addition to designing a responsive main site or creating a dedicated mobile site, marketers should also consider developing some content that is optimized specifically for mobile. This content is generally shorter and more concise, but should offer the same valuable information that standard pages offer. Video and audio content may be useful in accomplishing this. AMPs, which are simplified versions of more code-heavy content, are also recommended to increase a site’s optimization for mobile-first indexing.
Although the switch to mobile-first indexing has not yet been fully unveiled, Google has been steadily moving in that direction, suggesting in its various communications that this change is on the way. Website marketing services have already seen the start of this with the most recent algorithm update (the one referred to as Mobilegeddon), which began differentiating between mobile and desktop search and prioritizing them differently in mobile search.
Website marketing companies will need to beef up their mobile optimization skills for all of their clients now, helping to ensure their websites get the attention they deserve, regardless of the device on which they are accessed!