Mobile has become the new standard for organic searches and general browsing on the web. That’s why Google has taken the past several months to talk about shifting gears to a mobile-first index. More than half of Internet users choose search engines on mobile devices over those on computers. Many companies will be inevitably affected, especially those who rely solely on the web. Your company may have to make some changes to adjust to the new system.
Google rankings are currently decided partially by the computer usability of a business website. Now that mobile devices are receiving a larger chunk of customer website perusal, the usability ranking element will be decided based on the website’s mobile format. This becomes a problem for companies who haven’t bothered to make a mobile-friendly website , or those who have done so but have left out vital pieces of information.
There is no set date for the switch, and Google’s only criteria to instigate it is for results to be quality neutral. This will likely happen by the first few months of next year, though the tech giant originally planned to make the change at the end of this year. It’s also possible that the transition will occur in phases, slowly changing with each new group of switched sites.
It may seem like Google isn’t going about this big change the right way, but in fact, their approach is wise. Changing the process all at once can be very damaging if it ends up not working. The only ones who have any real reason to be worried are those who don’t have a mobile-friendly version of their site. If you’re not in that boat, prepare for the changes using the tips we’ve given you below.
Take the time to first read through Google’s Webmaster blog post on the subject. Google is clearly the best source for information about the change, since it’s the one rolling it out and has been transparent about its plans related to it. The post mentions responsive desktop sites, which change to suit the needs of mobile devices. If your website is neither responsive nor paired with an identical mobile-friendly site, you’ll have to update a few things to keep your ranking. Be sure that the mobile version of your site includes the most important information from the original version of your site.
The mobile-first index change brings with it one very convenient thing: it eliminates the penalties associated with tab or accordion menus. For a long time, Google wasn’t fond of tab menus because they hid content away and made it more difficult to rank websites. Now, companies can use accordion tabs to their heart’s desire and have the information in them considered regular content. Businesses are given more organizational and stylistic freedom this way.
It may sound intimidating at first, but Google’s switch to mobile-first indexing won’t have a negative impact on most companies. If you make sure your website is mobile-friendly and includes all the important information, you’ll be golden.