Google made a significant change to how it rates websites in 2018 – does your website stack up?
A couple of years back, Google started hinting that mobile devices were the future of online browsing, and websites should start making changes now in order to be prepared.
Now that time has arrived and Google has introduced its Mobile First Index in order to meet the latest technological and social trends.
This change is very likely to affect your business, so if this is the first time you’re hearing about it, don’t worry.
We’ve created this article to help you understand what’s going on, why it’s happening, and what you can do about it.
So what is Mobile Optimisation Indexing?
Ten years ago, everyone on the internet was using a desktop computer or laptop to log on. Some people had online access through their phones, but this only made up less than 1% of all internet traffic.
Fast forward to today, and over half of all Google searches are made from mobile phones.
There are an estimated 3.5 billion searches online every single day (over a trillion per year), and with more and more people around the world gaining access to the World Wide Web, this figure continues to increase day by day.
To adjust to the higher use of mobile phones for browsing, Google are prioritising websites which are not just mobile friendly, but optimised to be as efficient as possible for mobile browsing.
Why wasn’t I told about this?!
Okay, don’t panic.
Google has been warning people about this for a couple of years now, but mostly, this has been limited to SEO blogs and specialist development and web design sites.
Web developers, SEO agencies, and online marketers should be ready for this, but everyday business owners might be taken by surprise.
We have already seen some early results and as expected, businesses with outdated mobile website versions are seeing a drop in performance.
Likewise, websites that load slowly on mobile and do not give a good user experience are seeing similar negative results.
How will this affect my website?
Well, it depends.
If you have a modern, up-to-date website, it should have been developed as a “Responsive” website and it’s probably already optimised for mobile.
If you’re not sure, you can check by going on to your website (using your phone of course) and seeing if all your content is there, the pages load quickly, and all the links and redirects work.
If they don’t, you might need to call your developer
Google has decided that mobile browsing is the future, and are therefore building their search results around that.
If you don’t have a mobile friendly site, you need to start thinking about getting one.
Every website is now rated for quality based on the mobile rendering of the website. Sites which aren’t mobile responsive will lose out in ranking, dropping down Google’s search results to be lost along with the other thousands of sites which no one visits.
What Google wants
It’s important to note that the new mobile index isn’t a separate index for websites; rather, it’s a different way of rating sites.
In Google’s mind, the perfect website works on desktops, phones and tablets, looks the same, and loads quickly with all the information readily at hand.
However, Google sees the future of search being driven by mobile and the growing number of users who use voice search.
Google also sees a future where home assistants and artificial intelligence become a part of our daily lives.
Fast, accurate, relevant and smart is the focus.
And Google has given SEOs and developers some valuable tools to optimise for this future.
Structured data is a key tool that all websites should be using in 2019.
This is where you get to clearly articulate to Google exactly what your page content is about, who it’s for and the solutions it offers.
It also gives you an opportunity to say more about your business through location details, reviews and more.
And AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) are becoming a must-have for most sites.
What do I need to do to keep up?
So, long story short, you need a mobile responsive version of your website. But, that’s just the start.
It needs to serve up the right content at the right time and it needs to be very fast. It also needs those little optimisation tweaks like structured data to ensure Google understands what each page is about. Your content might also be a candidate for special features in search like Voice Search, Answer Boxes, People Also Ask and Local SEO results.
Fortunately, you have the perfect team right here to help you with all this.
We know the ins and outs of the internet, especially when it comes to Google shaking things up.
If you have any questions about the Mobile First Index, how it will affect your rankings, or even if you’re not sure if you already have a mobile version of your website, give us a call today.
If you would like to know how your Google rankings could be improved, we have the skills and experience to help.
Or if you want an audit of your website to see how you stack up in today’s ever-changing online world, drop us a line and let’s get the ball rolling.
We can have a friendly chat about your unique situation and lay down some options moving forward.
With experience in everything from graphic design to teenage counseling, Gary finally settled on writing as his main weapon of choice. “But writing is just one part of this job, which is why I love it so much. It’s hard to get bored with so many irons in the fire. If I’m not researching an article, I’m on Social Media, or working behind the scenes to optimise a site for Google’s latest algorithms. I learn something new every day, and each day brings with it new challenges.”