Sunday, January 29, 2017

Google Mobile-first Index Kills the Desktop SEO

With the proliferation of mobile devices and the number of mobile searches conducted, Google finally decided to launch the so-called “mobile-first” index, which is going to change the way your site gets ranked in the search engine results pages (SERPs). To optimize the website accordingly, here is some information that you need to know.  

To begin with, what is a mobile-first index? Most of us may have the knowledge that Google crawls to the websites as a bot to surf around like a real visitor and follows links on the pages. The purpose of doing so is to add pages to the Google index which helps to better the search results. However, with the advance of the mobile-first index, Google not only visits your website as a desktop user but also as a mobile user. That is a distinction with a huge difference, negligence of such a huge shift may lower the rank of your website in the SERPs. 

The reason why we should care much about this shit is that your site will be presented differently on desktop versus on mobile devices. For instance, some links that appear on the desktop might not appear on the mobile version, which is terrible because Google bot will not trace links that are not there, thus lowering the rank of the website in the SERPs. Additionally, keep in mind that Google also uses other signals to determine the ranking of your website in the organic search results. Factors, such as slow loading speed, and incomplete texts will all affect the ranking.

Google mobile-first index also possess the capacity to read expendable texts, which is a new development. Putting content under a “read more” link used to result in that content not being indexed by Google. However, with the advent of the mobile-first index, content hidden in tabs and accordions will have the same weight as content that’s plainly displayed on the page. This makes perfect sense for mobile users since the texts might not be shown complete on a tiny phone or tablet screen, and that is the reason why companies do not punish webmasters who take advantage of those design features, which is a big win for SEO.
With the promising future of mobile-first index, is there any need for the desktop index? The answer is no. Currently, Google is running both indexes, and some users will see results from the mobile index, while other users see results from the desktop index. The reality is that people from both subsets have no idea which index they see results from. Google will slow down the desktop index and phase it out when the company feels more confident with the mobile index. But there is one thing for sure, mobile is everything. 

What if you don’t have a responsive website? The Googlebot can still index the desktop version of your site, even though it’s using a mobile user agent. But, anyone who’s serious about making a statement online needs a website that adapts to a mobile platform.

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