Google has been talking about mobile first indexing for a while now, and they have finally released it to the public.

So, what does this mean for your website?

Simply, Google is now ranking websites based on their mobile versions instead of their desktop versions. This means that if you don’t have a mobile friendly website, you are going to start seeing a decrease in your Google rankings.

To help you out, in this blog post, we will discuss what Google’s Mobile First Indexing is and how you can make sure your website is ready for it!

What is Google’s Mobile First Indexing

Google’s mobile-first indexing approach entails using the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking.

Historically, the index has relied on the desktop content of a page’s content to rank its relevance to a user’s query.

Since the majority of users access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot will primarily crawl and index pages with the smartphone agent.

Considerations Going Forward

Follow the best practices outlined in this blog to ensure that your consumers have a positive experience, as well as you gaining further improved rankings on SERPs.

Mobile First Indexing (1)

Googlebot Access and Rendering

To begin, use the same meta tags on both the mobile and desktop versions of your website. If you use a different meta tag on your mobile site (particularly the noindex or nofollow tags), Google may not crawl and index it when your site is set to be indexed in the mobile-first index.

Further, don’t lazy-load primary content upon user interaction. Content that requires user action (for example, swiping, clicking, or typing) to load will not be loaded during indexing, meaning that you will miss out on potential rankings. So, make sure Google can see lazy-loaded content.

As always, let Google crawl your resources to begin with. However, historically, some of your resources may have had different URLs on the mobile site from those on the desktop site. Now, if you want Google to crawl your URLs, make sure that you’re not blocking the URL with the disallow directive, and keeping the link the same on both devices.

Same Content for Both Mobile Devices and Desktop

Continuing the theme of the blog, consider upgrading your mobile site to include more material than your current version if it has less content than the desktop version.

Here, you may have a different design for mobile to improve user experience (for example, shifting information into accordions or tabs) as long as the material is equivalent to that on the desktop site.

Structured Data Checks

If you have structured data on your site, make sure it’s available on both versions. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Make sure your mobile and desktop sites have the same structured data. Start with Breadcrumb, Product, and Video Object structured data if you have to choose which sorts of content you’ll include on your mobile site.
  • URLs in structured data should be correct. Further, make sure the mobile URLs in structured data on the mobile versions are changed to match the mobile URLs.
  • Train Data Highlighter on your mobile site if you use it. However, check the Data Highlighter dashboard for extraction errors on a regular basis if you use Data Highlighter to give structured data.

Consistent Metadata Across Devices

Make sure the descriptive title and meta description are identical on both versions of your site.

Visual Content Checks

Make sure that the photos on your mobile site are appropriate according to best practices of using imagery online. We recommend that you:

  • Make sure that the images on the mobile site are of good quality. This means, on the mobile site, don’t use pictures that are too tiny or have a low resolution.
  • Make sure you’re uploading images in a supported format. Similarly, don’t use tags or formats that aren’t supported. For example, Google supports SVG graphics, but their systems can’t index an image inside an inline SVG file using the JPEG format.
  • Don’t make image URLs change with each page load. Here, if you use constantly-changing URLs for your resources, Google won’t be able to process and index them correctly.
  • Make certain the mobile site has equivalent alt text for pictures as the regular site. Similarly, on your mobile site, use descriptive alt text for photos in the same manner you do on your desktop website.
  • Make certain the mobile page’s content quality is comparable to that of the desktop version. This means the same descriptive headings, captions, file names, and text relevant to the photos on the mobile site should be used.

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