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Mobile First Indexing: What the new Google rule means for your website's visibility

What has been leaking through for a few years and what I have been taking into account in all my website projects for my clients from the very start, Google now officially puts into practice: mobile first indexing is coming in September 2020.




WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?


Whereas Google crawled and ranked a website’s desktop version in the past, Google will use a website’s mobile phone version to crawl, index and rank a website from September 2020 onwards.


Hence: If content A and content B are important for you and you have A and B on your website’s desktop version, but only content A on your website’s mobile version (due to space limitations maybe), your website will be found for content A, but NOT for content B any more. Your website ranking in the Google search will go down because of that.


Let me quote Google here: "WARNING: If it’s your intention that the mobile page should have less content than the desktop page, you can expect some traffic loss when your site is enabled mobile-first indexing, since Google can't get as much information from your page as before."



IS MOBILE REALLY AS IMPORTANT AS EVERYBODY SAYS?


Sistrix mentioned in a recent blog article that Google already switched to mobile first indexing automatically for about 70 per cent of all websites as the Googlebot found out that websites already fulfill mobile expectations and standards. On the other hand, that means, that approximately 30 per cent of all websites are not ready for mobile yet - we’re talking about millions of websites here that will have to be worked on in the upcoming months.


However, it’s wrong to believe that most people visit a website using their smartphone. Simply take a look at your Google Analytics or other tracking tools. There are massive differences between B2C and B2B as well as regional discrepancies. Checking your website’s analytics will give you more insight on that. However, mobile first indexing is definitely a very important aspect to consider for all web designers and website owners.



HOW DO I KNOW IF MY WEBSITE IS OPTIMIZED FOR MOBILE OR NOT?


The Google Search Console gives you the answer. If you have no idea what this means, simply ask your web designer. The following screenshot shows what the Google Search Console has to say about my website www.hcg-corporate-designs.com :



"Nutzerfreundlichkeit auf Mobilgeräten > 0 Fehler". That’s German and translates: "User friendliness on mobile devices > 0 errors". That’s how it should be and how it definitely MUST be by September 2020 if you want your website still to be found, indexed and ranked by Google.



WHAT HAS TO BE DONE?


Same content on desktop and mobile version! This is the key. And I’m not only talking about the content (copy and images), but also titles, meta tags and ALT text for images for your SEO optimization. The best content on your website is useless if it can’t be found on mobile and won’t be seen and indexed by Google.


The challenge is to use the small space of your smartphone display wisely and place as much content as possible on as little space as necessary. Well, happy designing, I would say!


If you want to skip the headache, hire a professional to create your website which is 100 % fit for mobile first indexing.

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