What Does the New Mobile-First Google Index Mean for My Business?

An image showing the google search engine who have just announced their latest google index update

What Is Google’s Mobile-First Index?

It’s no secret now that Google is now deciding rankings based on their mobile sites rather than desktops with their new mobile-first google index. Back in November, they decided that Google will now judge the mobile version of your site first and base rankings depending on it.

We heard about this over a year ago as it made the rumour mill, but now it’s in full force, despite it being announced as an ‘experiment’. They announced that for the first time mobile searches have overtaken desktop searches on a daily basis using Google, causing them to now focus on mobile searches first. Currently, Google crawls the desktop version of your site and ranks you accordingly. However, now they’re beginning to check the mobile version of your website and analyse the data, content and links if a mobile version is available.

This means your mobile content is being analysed and ranked accordingly, even for desktop users. Google is no longer making mobile-friendly adjustments for mobile sites, so it’s time to get yourself a mobile-responsive website.

What Does This Mean for My Business?

If you don’t currently have a mobile-responsive website, fear not, as the new Google index will still crawl your desktop site if there’s no primary mobile-version. However, this is a strong indicator that mobile is the future for Google and will be focusing heavily on it, so in order to rank better, you will need a mobile version.

If you do have a mobile version of your website, it’s important that the content matches the desktop version as much as possible or it could affect your rankings.

What If I Don’t Have a Mobile Version?

Well, if the new Google index is mobile-first then you’re going to need one. Head to our web design page to see how Bulletpoint Marketing can help improve your rankings by creating a bespoke mobile-responsive version of your website.

How Can I Prepare?

There are a number of factors you need to be considering with the new google index announced. We’ve listed a few below:

  • If you already have a mobile-responsive version of your website, then you don’t need to do anything. However, you need to check all the content is the same across both formats.
  • If you have WordPress or site configuration settings, try to ensure all content matches each format so Google doesn’t affect your rankings.
  • Use a robots.txt testing tool to check that the mobile version of your site is being indexed by Google.
  • You do not need to change your canonical links, as Google will know these serve appropriate results for each format.
  • Use Google Console to verify the mobile version of your site if you have only verified the desktop version.
  • What Is a Responsive Website and How Does It Differ from Mobile Friendly?

    A responsive website is designed and created for both desktop and mobile viewing, allowing a website to respond to a user’s mobile screen, orientation and user experience. The practice uses a combination of flexible grids and intelligent CSS media to create a responsive website. A mobile-friendly website, however, is a separate website format built specifically for mobile phone screens.

    Will There Ever Just Be One Google Index?

    In the future, Google plans to just use one index which analyses mobile content and will use that to rank you accordingly. Currently, the mobile-first index is an experiment and is currently being trialled, however, if this works successfully they will no longer use the second index to crawl your desktop site if a mobile one is not available. It is possible that they may retract back to their desktop index, seeing as this is still currently in its trial stage.

    Visit the Google blog if you would like further information about the new mobile-first Google index. Here at Bulletpoint Marketing, we specialise in mobile-responsive websites and content delivery so give us a call today on 0161 979 0589 and see how we can improve your rankings.

    I have recently had a new website designed by Bulletpoint Marketing. Prior to making a decision to use Bulletpoint I considered various other companies, some much cheaper. However, I value good service highly and was impressed by the clear communication I received from the initial enquiry made. I am delighted with the results and in particular the care and attention I received from Steve the designer throughout the process. I would have no hesitation in recommending their services.

    Anne Lapham