If you follow Google and keep a track of what it says, you may have definitely heard about its intention of switching to a mobile-first index. But if you have missed out on that, here are some key points about Google’s forthcoming switch to this kind of indexing.
Why has Google come up with a mobile-first index plan?
A majority of people are using their mobile devices and smartphones to search on Google. But, the ranking system of the search engine today still looks at the desktop version of a page’s content, which may or may not be the same as the mobile version, to evaluate its relevance to users. It is less likely that the content on both mobile and desktop versions be the same. This is when there are many issues faced. Mobile content generally has much lesser content than the desktop page. Therefore, when Google ranks a perfect desktop page on the first page and users are led to its mobile version, they see great disappointment as they don’t find what they expect there. Google’s algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by mobile searchers. The reason why publishers don’t include all the content from their desktop version on their mobile site is because they want to make their mobile site more streamlined. But, this results in great problems on the user’s front because they don’t get the content they are looking for.
What are the requirements for the mobile-first index plan?
- Google has said that the content not immediately visible to users on page load will not be counted for ranking, but keeping in mind the mobile user experience, Google has decided to rank content in dropdowns. So, you must be able to design your page in a way that it allows Google to see the content. Remember that if it is not in the rendered Document Object Model, Google won’t be able to see it.
- You must serve structured markup for both desktop and mobile versions. However, while adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific content of each document. While markup doesn’t offer ranking benefits, it definitely alters the presentation of your content in SERPs and increases the chances of Google correctly interpreting the content on your pages.
- A responsive or dynamic serving site with equivalent markup and primary content present across both desktop and mobile doesn’t require any changes. Moreover, you don’t need to make any changes to the canonical links as these links will serve as guides to bring appropriate results to users searching on desktop or mobile.
Generally, designers who work upon creating a mobile site make their designs highly UX-centric. But, in the process other aspects of site design are left out. One of the examples is discoverability of content. Mobile sites provide a “Load More” button at the bottom of the page to provide navigation to the previous posts of a particular category. This results in click depths of pages going up to 200-300 clicks! Obviously, Google won’t be crawling that far to find content. The maximum it may go to would be 25-30 clicks from the home page. Because Google and the users won’t be going that far, those posts and the content present in them go completely invisible!
We are months away from the mobile-first index plan becoming a reality, but that doesn’t mean we keep waiting for it to strike. We must utilize this time to start working on the audit of our mobile site to see how it will match up when the switch occurs. So, get yourself ready in advance by hiring companies providing professional SEO services in Bangalore who can bring up the best ranking benefits for both your mobile and desktop sites.