In 2016, mobile traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time in history. It only makes sense that this trend has greatly influenced Google’s algorithm changes over the past few years. As mobile traffic grew beyond desktop traffic totals, Google announced that their search engine indexing would transition to mobile-first.
Currently, 21% of small business sites aren’t optimized for mobile use. 😲 If Google suddenly flipped the proverbial switch to mobile-first indexing, the vast majority of sites dominating the competition would face an SEO Great Depression, potentially destroying their current modus operandi. Fortunately, Google confirmed that the Mobile-first indexing isn’t going to be an immediate update and would roll out slowly as testing was underway. It’s been over a year and a half since the original announcement but Mobile-first indexing is coming quickly and it presents serious changes to the status quo of website indexing.
So, what does mobile-first indexing really mean?
Google has noted that the majority of people worldwide are browsing the web on mobile devices and are therefore visiting the mobile versions of websites more than the desktop versions. But currently, Google’s entire indexing system looks at the desktop version of a site first when assessing quality and relevance for users.
This is causing a huge disconnect for Google users. If most people are using mobile devices to browse, yet Google indexes the desktop version of a website for relevance and quality, it’s likely that mobile users are getting a sub-par experience. And remember the previous statistic: 21% of small business mobile sites aren’t optimized. That means that many Google users are inevitably visiting low-quality mobile sites. Google and business sites can’t afford to let that happen anymore. Not when 85% of users won’t return to your site after having a poor mobile experience.
For these reasons, Google will slowly roll out changes to make mobile sites first priority when it comes to indexing content for relevance and quality. Google will still index your desktop site versions, but they’ll give mobile the first priority.
How do I know if my website is mobile friendly?!
Don’t stress, if your website was developed by Partek within the last 5 years, it is very likely your website is responsive and mobile friendly. If your site is mobile-friendly or mobile-responsive, meaning your content dynamically updates between desktop and mobile, you won’t have to make any fundamental changes to your site.
So, how can you be sure your website is mobile-friendly or responsive? One of the easiest ways is simply using Google’s Mobile-Friendly test tool.