Mobile-first index – a few words regarding the planned changes within the search engine
Websites and mobile devices are often discussed as a duo across various blogs that are devoted to the industry of internet marketing. Nowadays ‘mobile devices’, such as smartphones or tablets allow fluent and uninterrupted internet browsing, because mobile-optimisation is now a standard. Optimisation significantly reduces the time and effort spent when information is loaded and traversed on these devices. Essentially you should be able to enter a web on your phone and browse the Internet responsively and at anytime. In the end, smart-touch devices are extremely popular, they are comfortable and easy to use; and many customers rely predominantly on these means of browsing.
It’s no surprise then that Google plans to introduce a mobile-first index – to Google it’s essential and vital, because they wants to make all users feel comfortable and confident when it comes to browsing the internet on their search engine. This means that they will naturally prefer and bolster the websites that have such optimisation.
Having a mobile version of your website isn’t an ultimate obligation just yet, but soon this will change. We are already approaching an era of technology whereby our lives are surrounded by devices that provide easy internet access. This means that Mobile-first index will soon be a priority, revolutionising the internet we know today. If a business will want to stay relevant it will have to act accordingly to the common algorithm, and the word is that Google’s search engine bots will only scan the content of mobile optimised websites, all others will be forgotten. Getting checked by Google bots is paramount because it determines the position of the site in the Google rankings.
What exactly is mobile-first index?
Changes to the way Google works are likely to be introduced at some point in 2018. Mobile-first index won’t remove the desktop-responsive websites from the rankings (at least not immediately), but will significantly reduce their position and prioritise the sites that have been optimised.
It’s still unknown what will happen to the sites of the businesses that own two of the same websites, each optimised for either traditional desktop or mobile. When and how this issue will be solved at this point is still unclear. Mobile sites are certainly to be considered first, but they are often compact and basic, containing far less info and interactive elements than a desktop site might have. So perhaps a day will come when most traditional websites will have to be modified i.e. they’ll still be simplified and compact but other content/features will be crammed into blogs or sub-pages.
How to deal with this problem?
As mentioned above, the simplest solution is to build a singular responsive site from the start. This means one that displays the same features/content on all devices, including traditional desktops. With the use of the RWD technique, there will no longer be a need to create a separate page which will only be operated on mobile devices. It’s now much easier and less stressful to kill two birds with one stone and just design one website that will respond well to all computer-based & smart devices. Nevertheless, you need to remember to balance out the requirements for both types and introduce elements that will be pleasant both for desktop as well as touch-pad users. The size and resolution of the screen is not of the utmost importance, navigation is key! So it’s crucial to design a site that will be easy to browse even on a tiny screen, but when expanded on a desktop browser it won’t seem small, over-simplified and cramped. You can learn more about optimising mobile websites in other parts of this blog.
Do we know the exact date of the mobile-first index introduction?
Google has been informing us about planned changes for a long time now. The first news regarding this issue arrived already in 2016, and all website owners were advised about the necessity to slowly start making changes with accordance to the upcoming plans on browser navigation. Google employees have clearly noticed that the number of people using internet through mobile devices has rapidly grown, so websites must respond to their needs in order for the marketing cycle to work.
Last year specific announcements appeared online that indicate that the mobile-first index will be introduced at some point this year. This means that website owners don’t have much time left to make appropriate changes. But not to worry, it’s assumed that the mobile-first index won’t be introduced violently and immediately, without any warnings. In fact, it’s said that the changes in the indexing method will be introduced gradually in batches and stages. Perhaps the new algorithms will first enter the US internet, then GB and rest of the Europe? Who knows. Google is likely testing the new solutions now, so we should find out more info fairly soon.