Google Only Ranks Mobile Content in Search Index

by | Nov 4, 2016 | News | 0 comments

by | Nov 4, 2016 | News | 0 comments

Google has long been warning all webmasters to make sure that a mobile-friendly version of their website exists. While this mobile content definitely helps the user navigate around your site, it’s clear that Google had more than just the user in mind when pushing us all to work on a mobile version of our websites.

Only Mobile Content Will Be Ranked

Google announced that they are testing mobile-first indexing to make their results more useful. Right now their ranking system is still looking at the desktop version of a page’s content, but this will be replaced by mobile content only in the coming months.

Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.Doantam Phan, Google Product Manager

This is a huge shift for Google, one that every webmaster should be aware of, especially if your content differs from the desktop and mobile versions of your website. Even if your potential customers primarily use a desktop to search, their search results will be affected by whether or not your website has a mobile-friendly version, and if the content that appears on the mobile version of your site is relevant to their search query.

When Is This Happening?

We understand this is an important shift in our indexing and it’s one we take seriously. We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience. – Doantam Phan, Google Product Manager

We heard the same type of rhetoric with Google AMP, but AMP didn’t take long to become the norm. This is sure to follow suit and will most likely be completely integrated within a matter of a few months.

Does This Affect My Site?

The answer completely depends on how you are serving up the mobile version of your website, if you are serving one up at all.

Responsive Design – If you have a responsive site where the content stays the same regardless of the device you are using to view it, you shouldn’t have to change a thing.

Dedicated Mobile Versions – If you have a mobile version of your website that serves up different content than your desktop site, this change absolutely affects you. Google suggest the following:

  • Make sure to serve up structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version. When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the content of each page.
  • Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that the mobile version is accessible by Google.
  • In Search Console, make sure to add and verify your mobile version if you only have a desktop site verified.

Desktop Site Only – While your users will suffer, Google says you don’t need to change anything as they will continue to index your desktop site just fine. However, it is important to note that Google is ranking mobile friendly sites above desktop sites, so you will see a hit in your rankings if you decide to never provide a mobile version.

Mobile Content Is Now King

From a content perspective, making sure that your mobile website content is SEO optimized is more important now than it has ever been!

With Google only indexing the mobile version of websites, if you run a site that serves up different content for both desktop and mobile, getting your mobile content on par should take precedence!

What Should I Do?

For larger websites that are in this predicament, updating all of your mobile content quickly needs to be done ASAP! Updating and optimizing all of your content can seem daunting, but luckily BKA Content makes this process easy!

Contact us today to get your mobile content optimized so that you don’t see a loss in rankings.

Update Your Mobile Content NOW

Our teams can help you to get your mobile content on the right track quickly and efficiently. With Google rolling this update out within a few months, you have no time to lose!

Greg Secrist
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