The Mobile-First Index is here! PANIC!!!
Hang on… Why are we panicking?
What is the Google Mobile First Index?
Well, it’s not quite as complicated as people think it is.
Google crawl your website. This means that a little piece of software called “Google-Bot” will go on to your website and look at it.
It will, in basic terms;
- Read your content
- Test the website speed
- Follow your links
- Take all this information back to the Google servers.
All this was done on both your desktop and mobile version of your website.
Mobile Version of My Website?
Most websites are now responsive, which means that your desktop website it almost exactly the same as your mobile website except it’s formatted in a way which makes it easier to read on a mobile device.
This is slightly different if you have a separate mobile website. You can usually tell this if you have a different domain like “mob.yourdomain.co.uk” or “m.yourdomain.co.uk”.
This means that you do have a different mobile site than a desktop site. Which makes the effects of mobile-first a little more interesting.
So How Does This Effect Mobile-First Indexing?
Google, traditionally, would crawl the desktop version of your website first then it would crawl the mobile version.
Which made sense when the majority of people using Google would use a desktop or laptop.
Now however, things are a little different when the inevitable happened and mobile searches surpassed desktop searches.
What used to happen was your mobile site would play second fiddle to your desktop site. Google would crawl your desktop site then crawl your site as a mobile user.
Now Google will treat your mobile site as the priority and use that to define your rank in both the desktop and mobile rankings. If you don’t have a “mobile version” then your desktop site will be crawled.
So, this is not some kind of MOBILE-EGEDDON.
If you take your own experience of searching from a mobile device, the worst experience you can have is when you land on a highly ranked page which isn’t usable on a mobile. It’s one of those things which makes my blood boil.
Like I said, in the most part, the majority of websites don’t have two versions, they are one site which is optimised for both desktop and mobile, “responsive website”. So, you won’t really see much of a problem.
Unless you have a fundamental issues with your responsive website.
How Do I Know If I Have Mobile Issues?
Well, Google have kindly given us a useful set of tools to determine such things.
This is a tool which test your site as if it were being viewed on a mobile device and will give you a simple “Yes” or “No” answer to if you have a mobile friendly website. A very good top level tool to use.
Now, that Google have forced our hand to focus more on our mobile traffic we should be focused on optimising our website speed for the two audiences.
Running it through this tool will give you a good idea about how fast your website is. A nice little score out of 100. If you get a low score then site speed is something you will need to look into. Which is best looked at by a developer. Don’t go messing about with this stuff without some prior knowledge as things could go horribly, horribly wrong.
What Other Things Can I Do?
Look At Your Website On a Mobile
it’s surprising how many people don’t do this. However, simply look at your site on a mobile site will do things the world of good. Look at your mobile site in the eyes of one of your customers and make some notes.
What do they see? Can they navigate easily to the important places? Is all the content a suitable size to read?
Look At Your Mobile Content
Many of the “things you should do on a mobile website” cross over on to your desktop site. One of these is looking at the length of your content.
Remember when your English teacher would tell you to write different depending on who you are writing for, well the same applies it’s just you are writing for lazy fingered mobile scroller who have the attention span of a puppy (like myself).
The rules of writing for this audience is simple…
- Don’t write more than two sentences in a paragraph, otherwise your paragraph is too long.
- Don’t go on and on and on. As you will be using up vital finger scrolling energy.
Quick and to the point.
This will help save your mobile website.