Google's Mobile Indexing and What It Means for Your Business 

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Is your company's mobile website being easily found by potential customers on their devices? If not, it's time to make some big changes because Google is now ranking business websites based on the mobile version rather than the desktop site.

Google announced this "mobile-first" change in late March. Mobile-first means its Googlebot will crawl your company's mobile site first for search engine optimization (SEO) indexing and ranking. Historically, Google has used the desktop version of your website's content for its crawling, indexing, and ranking practices.

Why the change? Not every company is using responsive web design for its mobile site, and, according to Google, that was causing issues for mobile searchers. So Google is switching to mobile-first content gathering, and recommending to site owners to make their content mobile-friendly as fast as they can.

Remember, this is mobile-first, not mobile-only. Google will still index your desktop site content, but keep in mind you're likely to lose out against more mobile-savvy competitors. Google's change is a reflection of the immense growth of the mobile web. It's estimated there are now some 10 billion mobile-connected devices in use around the world, which is leading to big growth in the ecommerce industry. 

Let's take a look at what Google's mobile-first indexing means for your content, and what steps you need to take to stay on top of SEO development.

Understanding Mobile-First

Having mobile-friendly and fast-loading content can help your mobile search results perform better. Typically, search rankings are affected by your site's load times, mobile-friendliness factors, relevant content, low-quality visuals, and proper meta tags, among other factors. If you gain site visitors from ads you've placed, do you want those mobile visitors to visit a site that loads slowly, enables pop-ups, and isn't overly optimized for mobile? Of course not! That's why your site needs to speed up its mobile capabilities.

One way to check how well your site is performing in mobile is through Google's Search Console service. If your site is already optimized for mobile, you likely have been notified via Search Console that mobile-first indexing is enabled for your site.

How Your Site May Be Affected by Mobile-First Indexing

Your site might be affected by this indexing move to mobile-first if you haven't made the necessary changes to your site's design. Here are some of the possible ways:

●      You maintain a separate mobile site (or sites) for your company. Does your company still use highly optimized, separate mobile sites? If so, you'll need to revamp this into a unified responsive design because the content, structured data, and meta data needs will all change.

●      You do not have a mobile site yet. If this is the case, why not? It's time to hire a website designer to get your site mobile-friendly, because that's where you'll find more potential sales. If you're unsure of what to do, use this free Google tool to check your site's mobile-friendliness factor. 

What It Means for Advertisers

Advertisers should pay close attention to becoming mobile-first. If you're offering a poor mobile user experience, you'll lose conversions and your bounce rates will soar. That could lead to a much lower pay-per-click (PPC) ad quality score, and higher cost per click (CPC). Ad budgets will shrink. Over time, all of these costs will accumulate, leading to higher costs per acquisition. That has a serious impact on leads and sales, and can put your business out of business.

So it's time to make changes. Try testing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for your site. This will help your site's indexing. Also, try using AMP ads. They load faster, and can lead to a better user experience and higher click-through rates for advertisers. Getting a more responsive design for your site will help you join the mobile revolution.