What is Mobile First Indexing and Why Does It Matter?

mobile friendly websiteWith so many of us using smartphones and other portable electronic devices to access the internet, the way we’ve used search engines and browse websites has changed dramatically.

 

As such, there’s been an increased emphasis on mobile responsiveness — the ability for websites to automatically adjust depending on the device on which they’re viewed. This can provide a more consistent and positive experience for web users, which means that a responsive website will often rank higher in search engine results. Conversely, a website that isn’t mobile friendly can end up hurting your ranking ability.

 

Mobile internet use has become an important part of how we interact online. In fact, 48% of web users say that if they navigate to a business site that isn’t working well on mobile, they take that to mean that the business doesn’t care. As a result, they’ll often abandon the website in favor of another option that can serve their needs.

 

Google, of course, has taken notice and has subsequently rolled out changes that reward sites for their ability to appeal to these mobile users. One such change was the company’s shift to “mobile first indexing,” which first began in July 2019. In today’s post, we’ll talk about what was involved in this change — and why it matters when designing a new site (or updating an old one) for your business.

 

What is Mobile First Indexing?

You probably already know what a mobile friendly website is. It’s a site that’s designed to provide the exact same experience across all devices. (This isn’t to be confused with responsive web design, which is intended to change the website viewing experience based on the device being utilized.)

It’s now more important than ever to have a mobile friendly site. That’s because Google made changes to the way its bots crawl and index sites — an essential part of allowing your website and its many pages to be found online. With this change, Google’s crawlers will look at the mobile version of a new website and index those pages instead of viewing the desktop version first. That said, this doesn’t mean only the mobile version will be crawled; if you don’t have a mobile website, the desktop version will still be indexed. Older sites may or may not already be moved over to mobile first indexing, depending on readiness.

 

Why Does Mobile First Matter When Designing Effective Websites?

Now that you understand the basic concept, we can delve deeper into mobile first and how it affects your business.

One obvious issue that some businesses might face is failing to consider mobile friendliness when having a new website designed. If a new site doesn’t work well on mobile and the mobile site is indexed first, that can have a big impact on search engine rankings. Keep in mind that you’ll also be doing your business a disservice by ignoring mobile users, as a huge portion of web traffic (and subsequent sales) come from mobile.

 

Another possible problem occurs when you have two different versions of your site. If a mobile friendly website doesn’t actually contain all of the same content that can be found on the desktop version of that same site, your rankings could be negatively affected. You’ll want to make sure that if you have two distinct versions of your site (rather than just one responsive one), the two versions are perfectly aligned and provide the same experience for users.

 

While having a mobile friendly website might seem like a small detail, it’s actually incredibly important — particularly if you’re planning on a redesign or are launching a new site. While an older site will have already been indexed by Google and will be moved over to mobile first eventually, a brand new site needs to be designed with mobile first indexing in mind. Otherwise, you’ll be starting off at a disadvantage.

 

You shouldn’t let outdated design stand in your way. And if you can’t appeal to mobile users, you’re going to have a tough time ranking in search engines or converting what traffic you do get. If you’re considering a complete rebuild or will be launching a new site, you’ll need the mobile friendly website design NC businesses can count on. For more, contact us today.

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