Mobile First? Google’s Indexing Changes May Impact Your Content Visibility
The rise of mobile web browsing is a multi-faceted development in the world of e-commerce. On one hand, mobile devices allow consumers to access business platforms from wherever, whenever, all over the world, instead of only at their desks. On the other hand, increased mobile popularity is changing the way search engines such as Google value content. Hello, mobile-first indexing.
Google has announced that, as of July 1, 2019, its crawlers will consider a platform’s mobile-friendly content to be its primary content.
Any sites debuting after that date will automatically have their content indexed with mobile in mind, but older platforms will receive updates when their work has been re-cataloged.
So how does this change the way you need to be interacting with your online platforms?
First: ‘Mobile-First’ Doesn’t Mean ‘Mobile-Only’
Your non-mobile content isn’t going to fall by the wayside. In fact, any non-mobile content you have will appear on mobile as it does on a desktop.
This is a double-edged sword. The good news is that your compatibility won’t force you to miss out on mobile traffic. The bad news is that, if you don’t adjust your platform’s settings, consumers won’t be able to navigate through your content as easily.
Content that’s mobile-compatible will be considered the primary version of your content. Even if there’s a desktop equivalent, Google will show consumers the mobile pages before the desktop pages when the consumers in question are using their phones.
What does this mean for your platform?
- Desktop-only content won’t disappear from the internet and instead will appear on phones as it does on a desktop
- Responsive content will remain unchanged and versatile between platforms
- AMP HTML content won’t change
- Platforms that utilize separate URLs for mobile and desktop content (m-dot content) will see their mobile content indexed before their desktop content
- Platforms using dynamic servicing will have their mobile content indexed and prioritized over desktop content
- AMP and non-AMP dual platforms will have their mobile content indexed and prioritized over desktop content
In short, you don’t have to change the way your platform is classified. You may want to, though, if you want it to remain accessible to mobile consumers.
How to Move Forward with Mobile
Given that the mobile-first indexing deadline has come and gone, there are a few things you can do to make sure your content is accessible to mobile viewers:
- Make sure your mobile content, regardless of its form, details the same information as your desktop content
- Update your structured data URLs to be mobile compatible as opposed to desktop-compatible
- Ensure that your metadata appears on both desktop and mobile versions of your content
The switch by Google from desktop-indexing to mobile-indexing reflects broader changes in e-commerce and SEO. If you want to continue ranking well on SERPs and attracting consumer attention, your platform needs to be mobile compatible.
Image attribution: ipopba – stock.adobe.com