Have you heard about Google’s announcement about their mobile-first indexing? If you’ve been engaged on SEO’s remarkable purposes for a fair amount of time now, you’ve probably heard of the terms crawling and indexing. These are two essential tasks when doing SEO as they make your webpages and entire website known to Internet users.
For easier understanding (if you’re a newbie), crawling is basically when Google’s spider crawler tracks the entire site, going as far as following the pages linked on your webpages. Indexing, on the other hand, is when Google finally puts your website in the search pages. If you’re only starting to venture into the world of SEO, know that you’ll need to understand what they really are to better wield their use, especially now that Google is about to roll out mobile-first indexing which is something we’ll talk about more below.
Why do mobile versions of websites need crawling and indexing?
Ever since their conception, crawling and indexing have been made for desktop or laptop computers as these are what the majority of the users have to use search the World Wide Web. This was before. Now, the usage of mobile devices is seeing over desktops and laptops. In fact, 58% of site visits in 2018 were made via mobile devices. One reason for this switch is the fact that mobile devices are easier and handier to use.
Just like desktop and laptop indexing, mobile indexing and crawling are rudimentary to serve users better and be part of Google’s search engine results. And for this to happen, you need a mobile site that actually fits mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and the likes.
What is Google’s mobile-first indexing?
Fresh from Google’s headquarters is the news of mobile-first indexing that should be applied to all websites starting July 1, 2019. What is this? And how will it affect your SEO endeavors?
First off, it’s the desktop edition of websites that are always seen as the official version. This changes now as with Google’s mobile-first indexing, your mobile site is pushed to the forefront, meaning your mobile site is now treated as the official version. Don’t be hasty on a violent reaction though as Google will still crawl and index old and existing websites until they finally have a mobile version. It is the new or the old but unrecognized websites that will be under mobile-first indexing. Now if your desktop and mobile sites are identical, you need not worry as your rankings will not be affected.
Google’s mobile-first indexing has been a thing since 2016 when the company announced that they were experimenting with the innovation. This is the first development of the search engine giant to bring better focus on mobile as it is slowly being clear that it is the future of Internet use.
What does this do for your business?
Now, unless you wanted better search engine rankings, you do not need to change a thing if your website has already migrated or has a mobile version equivalent. But if you do want to be in the top of search results pages, you should optimize your site better by banging more on content, making sure that page loads fast, and the site is well adjusted to mobile screens.
The slight dilemma comes to new websites and ones that are not yet distinguished by Google as they need to ensure that their websites meet standards to be crawled, indexed, and eventually appear in search results pages.
Google isn’t too harsh, though, and while it should be common knowledge to make your site mobile friendly with the mobile-first indexing rolling out, you actually don’t need to do so (at least for now)—no need to go into panic-mode with your website services provider. Google announced that speed for mobile sites are currently out of the equation for mobile-first indexing, as well as making your site thoroughly mobile-responsive. Still, they encouraged everyone to embrace mobile and its principles, hinting for a full-on mobile system very soon. Good metadata, structured data, and verified versions of your site in Search Console are also some of the guidelines Google expects digital marketers to follow.
Google’s mobile-first indexing opens a lot of possibilities and is obviously a gateway to a future where mobile is in zenith. We’re sure it sounds daunting but Google had proven that its revolutions are top-tier catalysts for better SEO operations in the future. It’s still under experimentation anyway and Google will wait for your site to be crawled and indexed when it’s ready, so you definitely have time!