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Google's New Mobile First Index and your SEO Strategy

By Louise on January 27, 2017

At the frontier of the digital world Google are constantly updating their search engine and algorithms to reflect the needs of today's average online user. The majority of online activities are now carried out on a mobile device, therefore it comes as no surprise that Google are actively developing their services to cater to those users. Google have just released their 'mobile-first' index, which is seriously changing the game when it comes to your SEO. What is the mobile-first index? Google collects information on every web page in a massive catalog, known as an index, which it then uses to formulate and display search results for various queries. Up until recently, Google primarily viewed web pages through the eyes of a desktop user, treating mobile pages as important, but secondary to those desktop pages. Now, Google is treating the mobile versions of each page as the primary page to index, with desktop versions being secondary. The mobile first index has already rolled out to some users, but like with most of the search engine’s major updates, it is being rolled out gradually. Though no firm dates have been given, experts suspect the rollout could take place over the next several months. The Impact of Mobile-First Google have stated that the new mobile-first index will not penalise your website based on your mobile friendliness, instead the impact of the new index system will come into play if your mobile and desktop sites are vastly different. The mobile version of your website will now be treated as the primary version, which could have a bearing on your visitors' impression of your business if your mobile website has less content. Recommendations Thankfully, the new mobile-first index isn’t so disruptive that it will alter your entire SEO strategy if you’ve already been following best practices for SEO. However, we would recommend doing the following to ensure your business website isn't effected by the changes: - Ensure full mobile compliance. Ensure you have a fully-functioning mobile version of your site — preferably using a responsive web design on your site that automatically flexes based on the device used to access it. If you want advice on a new responsive design, feel free to drop us an email: - Ensure your desktop and mobile websites are equal. If you end up using a separate mobile version of your site, you’ll want to ensure the two versions are as similar as posisible. Make your mobile version your “primary” version, and ensure it’s always updated first in future revisions. - The mobile-first index may not affect your site much directly, but it’s important to understand its effects, as well as what it means for the direction and priorities of the search engine giant. Continue prioritising your mobile users, and you’ll remain on Google’s good side!