In line with the world’s gradual switch from desktops and laptops to their mobile devices, Google announced that they will soon be rolling out a mobile-first index. This is good news for a lot of on-the-go users who struggle with the mobile version of most sites they frequent.

Mobile-First Index Coming to Google Search Engines

Here are some of the ways the Mobile-First index will change things for Google users.

Search Listing

Currently, Google ranks its search listings based on the desktop version of the content. So, if you’re a company who wants to do well in the world’s biggest search engine, you will tell your developers and copywriters to focus on the performance of the desktop version of the site instead of the mobile version.  Now, rankings will be based on the mobile version first, which will change things for both searchers and companies.

This move has not been a surprise. In fact, a lot of sites predicted this because more and more users are mobile only. What that means is they use no other way to access the internet than their phone. In contrast, a lot of desktop users also used their mobile devices to visit sites.

Changing Design Expectations

That fact has promoted a lot of companies to use a mobile first approach to designing their site. It seems that those companies’ decisions will now pay off because Google will be ranking based on the mobile version first, even for listings shown to desktop users. Although Google has confirmed that no changes will be made until 2018 at the earliest, some groups are already questioning this approach.

Improving Mobile Capability

For users, the most popular concern with mobile design is content and features. A lot of mobile first sites are stripped down. Even their desktop counterparts are very minimal, reducing what users can do on that site. Google encouraging companies to switch to a mobile-first design to rank higher in their search engine will encourage perfecting the mobile design and capabilities.

Conversely, site owners are worried that their ranking will fall just because they don’t have a mobile version of their site. While Google says not to worry because they’re a long way from implementing this approach, a lot of businesses are now scrambling to upgrade the mobile version of their site.

However, this is great news for mobile users. Businesses online have to learn new strategies and implement a lot of changes on their desktop first sites. They need to look at the content of their mobile site page per page and compare it to the desktop version. Expandable content needs to reassess. Even the graphics and the features of the sites will most likely change.

This is an exciting time for all sites, whether they’re mobile or desktop first. They get to revisit what makes them tick and try to translate that to the mobile version of their site, just in time for Google’s transition.

Sources:

FAQ: All about the Google mobile-first index

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Steve Scott is the CEO & Director of Training at the New York SEO Training Academy. He has taught SEO skills to people from around the world and currently offers his hands-on search engine optimization training workshops in New York to individuals and businesses of all sizes. Corporate SEO training classes and consulting are also available.
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