Google is Shifting to a Mobile-First Index. Is Your Business Ready?

Design & Development | SEO

Last month, Google announced a major change to the way its search index will rank sites: it will go mobile-first. As the company explained at the time, Google’s algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a website’s content to rank its pages on both desktop and mobile. If your mobile experience isn’t already as fast or complete as your desktop experience, now is the time to prepare.

What Is the Mobile-first Index?

Since its inception, Google and other search engines have been desktop-first. They indexed and ranked websites — regardless of whether it was designed for mobile, tablet, or desktop devices — based on desktop ranking signals. At the time, this made sense because searchers were primarily using desktop computers.

Now, however, the reverse is true. More Google searchers use smartphones than any other device. Therefore, Google is swapping out its entire index to a mobile-first orientation. Not only is Google’s index now ‘mobile first’, a significant update to this in 2018 will make mobile speed a ranking factor. Is your website ready?

What to Look For:

  • Aim for a Loading Speed of Less than 2 Seconds
  • Make Sure Your Content  is the Same from Desktop to Mobile
  • You no Longer Need to Block CSS, JavaScript, or Images
  • Use a Responsive Design
  • Consult Your SEO Specialist

What to Do Now

Google hasn’t announced a launch date for its mobile-first index and there are many unanswered questions. Google has said that it will provide notice before switching, but in our view the launch could be as early as the first quarter of 2018. The end of the first quarter is a few months away.

How long did your last website redesign take to strategize, create, and develop? It was probably longer than a few months. If you operate a separate mobile site with limited content, or if your separate mobile website is not optimal, you need to start planning mobile improvements or a move to a responsive website. Don’t wait until Google makes its announcement, which may not leave you enough time to prepare.

Get Your Websites Ready For Mobile-First Indexing

Contact your Account Manager or SEO specialist to get your FREE mobile-friendly report to see if your website is ready for the switch.