Since July 2018, Google has been implementing a new index: the mobile-first index. What is the impact of this new index on your website?
What is the mobile first index
When your site switches to the mobile first index, the indexing and analysis of the content of its pages is done from the mobile version and no longer from the desktop version as was the case before.
Your site will then be crawled by mobile robots rather than desktop robots; if your site has two versions, the mobile version will be visited more often.
No mobile compatibility is preferred (see below for the different forms of mobile compatibility). If your site is not mobile compatible, its desktop version will still be taken into account for the analysis (but do not expect to have a good positioning).
Switch to mobile SEO
If you want to improve your website SEO today, you need to switch to mobile SEO. But what is mobile SEO?
Mobile SEO consists of optimizing a website for searches carried out on phones or tablets. Mobile SEO is essential today for two reasons: the evolution of web uses and the implementation of the mobile-first index by Google.
As for uses, the number of searches carried out on mobile has exploded in recent years. Today 58% of searches made on Google are from a mobile device. And this trend is constantly increasing. You therefore understand the importance of mobile SEO to be visible to your potential prospects.
Google now capitalizes 95% of searches on mobile. To keep this hegemony, the Mountain View firm is evolving its algorithms to refine its results on mobile. After the Mobile-Friendly update , Google is moving to the Mobile-First index.
With the mobile-first index, all search results (whether the search is done from a mobile device or a PC) will be based on data collected on the mobile version of your site by Google robots. Google therefore relies on the mobile version of your site to determine its positioning.
Is this a problem for the SEO of your site?
Not necessarily. Google has implemented many updates since 2015 to promote sites with versions suitable for mobile.
If you have a responsive and mobile-optimized site, you shouldn’t be impacted by this new update.
The criteria that your site must meet
For this your site must:
- be searchable on all types of devices (do not offer elements in Flash for example, blocked by mobiles)
- do not hide content on its mobile version
- load quickly in mobile connection
- have optimized navigation and ergonomics for all devices (readability, design …) – you do not consult a site in the same way on mobile and on PC
For Google, a mobile device is a phone. Most of the time, tablets are excluded from their definition and are more closely related to computers.
What is a mobile site?
You have 3 options:
- a totally dedicated site designed for browsing on the phone (m.monsite.com for example). The computer version is completely separate from your mobile version and the two versions are managed as two independent sites. Your site detects the device used by your visitor and redirects them to the correct version. This solution is not good for your SEO because it can cause duplicate content problems.
- a dynamic site on which your mobile and PC content is on the same URL but only CSS and HTML code adapted to your visitor’s device will be displayed. The difficulty of this solution is to keep the content up to date and ensure proper detection of all devices to avoid the display from a desktop version to mobile.
- a responsive site whose design adapts to the resolution of the visitor’s screen. You have no separate URLs or specific content to manage.