Recently, we’ve been hearing a lot about Mobile-first Indexing, If we talk about Google, it has been working continuously to make the web pages more mobile-friendly and reflect a user behavior trends. Google is steadily moving towards a mobile-first index on an incremental basis.

Mobile-friendliness is an important factor in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), since mobile devices have surpassed desktop computers. As an average business owner, those who are not in the industry might be confused and may not understand what this means. So, they are likely to miss out on traffic.

Wondering, do I have to change everything?

<pDon’t Worry. To help you get ready, in this article, we will dig deeper into what Google’s mobile-first index is and what it means to you. We’ll then talk about the actionable tips on how to prepare your WordPress website for the change.

Ready to hear more? Let’s dig in!

WHAT IS MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING?

To get ready for the Google’s mobile-first index, you first need to understand what it is.

In 2016, Google first announced its plan for mobile-first indexing, as mobile traffic historically surpassed desktop traffic for the first time. While Google confirmed that the announcement wasn’t immediate, and they would roll it out slowly and after a period of thorough testing. In March 2018, Google has officially announced and started implementing their new mobile-first index.

Mobile-first indexing means it is exactly what it sounds like. Google primarily uses the mobile version of your WordPress website for ranking and indexing purposes.

Basically, it means that when it comes to indexing content for relevance and quality Google will give more priority to the mobile version pages over everything else. So, if your website is optimized for mobile, then you’ll rank well on both desktop and mobile. On the other hand, if your website isn’t optimized, then your site rankings will sink on both desktop and mobile.

Indeed! It’s a significant change and a great move by Google, but necessary.

In the past, Google’s ranking systems were based around the desktop for ranking and indexing, however, in the future, the search engine will evaluate your website by the mobile version first. Although, for the complete site, it will not be just the mobile version.

The purpose of Google is not to have a desktop index as well as a mobile index, but rather, just one index only. With that in mind, Google will continue to prolong a single index for all websites. Meanwhile, along with this, it shall keep using its algorithms to rely more on mobile web content to:

  • Web page rank of the website
  • Identifying the structured data
  • To uncover bits from the web pages in result

Searches commencement from the desktop will all be using the similar search methods.

Google use, “classifiers”, to discover if the website is prepared for taking in the mobile-first index. Classifiers are the ones that identify how similar mobile, or desktop websites remain concerning post, web links, multimedia, etc.

WHY THE CHANGE TO A MOBILE-FIRST INDEX?

The biggest change of all has been mobile evolution.

This isn’t a huge surprise! Mobile devices are getting more important, as most people were using Google on their mobile devices to happen at home or work compared to desktop.

However, prior to this, Google’s ranking systems were based around the desktop for ranking and indexing which leads to some issues, now Google uses a smartphone agent to crawl and index your website.

Many websites do not have the same content when it comes to the mobile and desktop version, and therefore results in a bad experience. So, when we search for an article from a mobile device, it may route customers to some website that does not contain the relevant information or the content may not be viewable on mobile phones. Sometimes, the WordPress theme that we are using may not support that format from the content. Google is trying to restrict the poor customer experience.

To be more specific, both your desktop and mobile websites should contain the same content and features. With the new mobile-first index update coming fast, you have to make sure that your site has to be mobile responsive.

In this way, customers will be able to find your content after the rollout of Google’s mobile-first index.

But if your site isn’t mobile responsive, don’t panic. You can solve this issue quickly without breaking the bank or overhauling your entire website.

INFLUENCE OF MOBILE-FIRST INDEXING

Well, Google will still index desktop sites, even if you don’t have a mobile site to be in the mobile-first indexing. However, it’s going to be difficult to rank if your website is not mobile-friendly, as in the near future Google will majorly focus on mobile content. Therefore, keep in mind, if your website comes up with a shoddy mobile experience, your SEO efforts will sink both on desktops and mobiles.

What will you do then?

Let’s break down the points that implies to mobile-first indexing for WordPress:

  • Google bot will crawl the mobile version first, as the mobile version of your website has become the primary version of your site. It shall go back to the desktop version only at a time when the mobile version of your site is unavailable.
    Hence, when any search will be initiated from web search, if a mobile website is ranking high then it will appear on top than the one with the lesser mobile ranking.
  • Google’s mobile-first index of your WordPress website will most certainly have a greater impact on the branding of your site
  • By Smartphone Googlebot, Webmasters can notice an increase in crawling. Accordingly, the snippets which appear in search results will be from mobile pages, while it will still be the same with content on Google cache pages.
  • Well, you have to make sure that your WordPress website is mobile friendly and you have no other option. A mobile-first index may be the best alternative approach, based on the users you bear in mind. Don’t forget, Google is the #1 biggest ranking factor considering the mobile-first index of your WordPress website.

How to prepare your WordPress Website for Mobile-first Index

Do not panic! If you feel horrible about the mobile-first index Google is rolling out and unprepared for the upcoming changes.

However, the next step is to make your site fully responsive and this should be your primary goal. Now, let’s see what applies to your WordPress website in ship shape for the Google mobile-first index and make sure to implement it ASAP.

Spend in Mobile Friendliness

Here are the key points, we recommend you to check it and follow its advice.

  • Make Your Site Responsive (i.e., website design that changes according to the size of the screen that is being viewed on)
  • Test plugins for mobile compatibility
  • Optimize images to load fast and display correctly on the mobile version.
  • To make your site as fast as possible, continue to focus on Website Performance
  • Use a different approach to collect email subscribers, avoid full-screen popups on your site.
  • Make sure to check the mobile version of your website.

Consequently, you will satisfy most of the requirements of Google’s mobile-first index, with the above-mentioned tips.

Conclusion

Don’t worry about the mobile-first index, Google is rolling out. If your website is responsive, then your content will be similar on both in desktop and mobile versions. And still, if you have not converted your desktop website to a mobile-friendly and responsive then do not hesitate to reach us out. We will help you to develop fast loading responsive website, which will definitely be loved by Google.