In the beginning of the 21st century, most of the search queries were performed using a desktop device. But now, a few years after the introduction of smartphones and tablets, most search queries are done on mobiles. In March 2018, Google announced that they would start mobile first indexing after one and a half year of experimentation. It’s an effort to make the Internet mobile friendly. This blog goes over the basics of mobile search indexing in SEO and its impact on businesses.
A majority of search queries on Google are done through the mobile. But the results rank according to the desktop versions. The main problem for users in this case, is that web pages appear differently on mobiles than how they would appear on a desktop.
With the arrival of mobile first indexing, the priority shifts to the mobile version of the pages, for convenience. Simply for providing a better experience to mobile users. This means that the Google bots crawls and index the mobile version. And in case a website does not have a mobile friendly version, it crawls and index the desktop website. Mobile first indexing is for enhancing presence of mobile sites in SERPs due to the increase in number of mobile searches.
How does mobile first indexing work?
Basically, the Google bots crawls and index the mobile version. And in case a website does not have a mobile friendly version, it crawls and index the desktop website. Not having a mobile friendly version can have a negative impact on the rankings as it is one of the MOST IMPORTANT AND EFFECTIVE ON PAGE SEO TECHNIQUES FOR SEO SPECIALISTS.
A website which is mobile friendly and provides a better experience for people, might get a boost in rankings.
Mobile first indexing in SEO: How it affects a website
Its impact on a website depends on whether you have done SEO for mobile website or not. If you make the design of website responsive enough, then the rankings will not be affected at all. However it will impact those businesses which have different mobile and desktop pages based on what device the visitors are using.
It might affect search engine rankings negatively because the content is different for mobile and desktop, your page lacks structured data or metadata, or the mobile version is not verified in the search console.
There are times when the optimisation of pages are poor. Or, the links are weaker than the desktop versions. Either of the two reasons, may lead to a drop in rankings. The major issue here is poor search engine optimisation for mobile website. Instead of taking that much risk, you may contact a professional for your website work that will handle all such tasks.
Things to look out for in mobile first indexing in SEO
- Content: It is essential that the mobile version of your website has high quality, valuable and relevant content. This includes text, images, videos, ebooks etc. All of the mobile content must be optimised and easily crawlable.
- Structured data and metadata: Ensure that URLs within the structured data on mobile friendly pages are the URLs of mobile versions. Unless the structured data is relevant to the content of a webpage, do not add it. Similarly, the search engine friendly title tags and meta descriptions must have the same information and relevant keywords as the desktop version, but it’s not necessary for them to be identical.
- Sitemaps: Make sure that sitemaps are accessible from the mobile version of the website as well.
- Google search console verification: Add and verify the mobile version of website in case you have only verified the desktop site.
Best practices for search engine optimisation for mobile website
- Responsive design: A responsive web design changes the website according to the device that the user is viewing it on. An advantage of having responsive web design is that they rank well on both mobiles and desktops. They include fluid site grid, flexible content, and use CSS media queries for changes.
- Get a mobile optimized website builder: A mobile optimised website builder detects the device a visitor is using. Then, it adjusts the layout according to the device. It basically makes the website responsive to mobile devices.
- Optimize content: It takes more than just a responsive web design to do SEO for Mobile website. Develop high quality content, use infographics, videos, GIFs, blogs etc to engage with the audience. Optimise your content and the page loading speed as well. As long as you deliver value to users, they are sure to convert better.
Thus, optimisation for mobile devices is essential. It doesn’t help you to improve desktop rankings. However, it’s a good idea to deliver better user experience to mobile users. It not only increases engagement but also improves CTR and conversion rates.
Do check our next blog on how to IMPROVE SEO WITH LATENT SEMANTIC INDEXING. It will help you to understand how to boost your mobile as well as desktop webpages.