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Mobile-first Indexing by Google – What Does it Mean?

If you already have a mobile friendly, responsive website (like those offered by MDSITE) you may have received an email from Google indicating that Mobile-first indexing was enabled for your website. So what does that mean?

In the email sent from Google they state:

This means that you may see more traffic in your logs from Googlebot Smartphone. You may also see that snippets in Google Search results are now generated from the mobile version of your content.

OK.

A little history. When Google first announced mobile-first indexing:

“To recap, our crawling, indexing and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.” – Webmaster Central Blog

Essentially, it comes down to the fact that the majority of Google searches are made on mobile but the results had been formulated by a system that ranked desktop pages first. The problem is, mobile pages often are different from their desktop alternatives and it isn’t smart to send people to pages optimized for desktop when they’re using a mobile device. This is good news for those that have mobile friendly websites. First, your search results will be optimized to the site that your visitors land on and second you’ll be able to monitor your success better through Google Analytics. (By the way, did you know that your MDSITE website has Google Analytics preinstalled, just enter your GA# – or ask us and we’ll do it for you).

Of course, this does not mean that Google is going mobile-only or creating a different index for mobile and desktop results. It simply means mobile pages will be crawled first and Google will fall back to desktop if no mobile version is found. But this clearly shows that Google takes favor on mobile-friendly websites and the lack of a mobile-friendly experience could impact negatively on the rankings of that site, and websites with a better mobile experience would potentially receive a rankings boost even for searchers on a desktop.

Did you know that your MDSITE website has Google Analytics preinstalled, just enter your GA# Click To Tweet