Since 2015, Google has been putting more emphasis on mobile devices when it comes to their search results. Back then, they updated their algorithm to favour ‘mobile-friendly’ websites. And now, the search giant has fully transitioned to mobile-first indexing.

What is mobile-first indexing?

Mobile-first indexing is where Google prioritises mobile versions of a web page when crawling and indexing the content, rather than the desktop version. This means if your website isn’t optimised for a high-quality user experience, your Google search rankings will suffer.

Why have Google done this?

It’s no surprise Google have implemented this indexing and have been working towards it for some time. Since 2012, mobile phone website traffic share has increased from around 10% up to 60% today.

google mobile phone traffic

Data from Leeline Sourcing.

So, with more users turning to their mobile to access websites, it makes sense that their experience would play a part in how a site is ranked in the search engine.

What do I need to do for my website?

Google haven’t suddenly switched to mobile-first indexing – the transition has been occurring for some time. So, if you don’t have a website optimal for mobile, you likely would have already been experiencing sub-par search results.

Talk to our team if your business still needs to convert to a mobile-responsive website design.

According to Google:

While it’s not required to have a mobile version of your pages to have your content included in Google’s Search results, it is very strongly recommended. These best practices apply to mobile sites in general, and by definition to mobile-first indexing.

Google have also stated that for the small percentage of sites still don’t function well on mobile, in the short term, they will keep crawling their desktop versions. But over time, this will be reduced further to conserve resources.

What if my desktop and mobile versions are very different?

If your website has a mobile version with a lot less content, it can actually harm your traffic. As Google will be exclusively using the mobile version of your site to retrieve information, it will no longer be able to get as much information as when it was indexing content from your desktop version.

Google strongly recommends ensuring the main headings and primary content on your mobile version is the same as what is on the desktop. Our SEO agency can provide a technical audit of your site and ensure it is setup optimally for the new mobile-first indexing.

With the continued growth of mobile phone use, it makes sense to tailor the user experience to mobile devices.