Google’s Mobile-Only Index and How It Will Affect You

by | Dec 15, 2016 | Google, Mobile Responsive Website, SEO

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Mobile Responsiveness

There’s no debating the fact that Google basically owns the search engine market. Approximately 80% of desktop searches and 95% of mobile searches are done using Google, so websites need to operate within Google’s best practices to remain relevant and connected to their audience. With that being said, Google has announced that they are testing a Mobile-Only Index, and if you don’t act now you’re sure to be left behind.


Why Does Google Update Their Index?

Google is the authority on all things search engine related – which tends to be the majority of the internet. So why does Google constantly update if they’ve almost completely monopolized the entire search engine market? The answer is simple. Users. Google recognizes that their role in the digital world is incredible, and because of this, they update their algorithm to ensure that websites strive to be as user-friendly as possible.

Search engine users are looking for answers to specific problems and situations that are occurring in their daily lives. Businesses compete by optimizing their site best to answer those questions related to their expertise, thus bringing qualified traffic to their doorstep. If your website isn’t ranking on the first page of organic search results, the chances of connecting with that audience are significantly lowered. Therefore, Google constantly updates their algorithm to ensure that websites are complying with typical web design best practices.


What Makes Mobile SO Important?

The proliferation of smartphones has been so great that the number of mobile searches exceeds that of desktops. This means that if your website is serving quality content for desktop users but not to mobile, then you’ll be giving a large portion of your traffic a sub-par experience. Google finally has an answer to this…the Mobile-Only Index.


What is Google’s Mobile-Only Index?

Currently, Google looks at the desktop version of a website in order to rank it in search results, and a mobile-friendly site will get an extra boost in the rankings. The Mobile-Only Index will flip the script, looking ONLY at the mobile version of a website in order to rank it in search results. If the mobile version doesn’t stack up to the desktop version, then that site will be penalized and significantly drop in the rankings (i.e. losing traffic as well).This is a response to the amount of mobile users surpassing desktop users, yet receiving an unimpressive experience.


Where Do I Go from Here?

The good news is that the Mobile-Only Index is still in the testing phase. However, it won’t be long before this update is implemented, so make sure that your website is mobile-friendly if you haven’t done so already. Here are some tips to increasing your site’s mobile-responsiveness, but only do so if your site isn’t responsive!

  • Make sure structured markup is served not only on desktop, but also mobile.
  • Fortunately, sites don’t need to make changes to their canonical links.
  • The robots.txt testing tool is useful for verifying if Googlebot has access to the mobile version of your website.
  • For structured data, stay away from including large portions of markup that aren’t specifically related to the information content of the individual documents.
  • Make sure that BOTH the desktop and mobile versions of your website are verified in Google Search Console.
  • Google has stated, “If you only have a desktop site, we’ll continue to index your desktop site just fine, even if we’re using a mobile user agent to view your site.”

So to reiterate…if you’re providing less content on the mobile version of your site than the desktop version, change this soon because the Mobile-Only Index is coming. If you aren’t equipped to optimize your web design, reach out and we’ll handle the headache for you! Your business is far too important to let your website plummet in the rankings – costing you valuable traffic and potential customers – so contact Comit Developers today!

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Comit Developers has been developing WordPress sites for over 20 years. As a result of several mergers and acquisitions, Comit has emerged as an expert in website design and development for an array of industries. Follow our company blog to learn about our team, our process, and the latest industry news.

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