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42Works Blog

Posted on January 5, 2017

Mobile First Indexing : A Startup’s Guide to Survive Google’s new Apocalypse

Did you know that nearly 60% of all Google searches are made from mobile devices?

If not, now is the time to start with the Mobilegeddon bible because Google is back with its latest apocalypse: Mobile First Indexing.

Ever since Gary Illyes dropped his mobile first index announcement, there’s been a lot of stir in the digital world – panic, confusion, and rampant speculation of theorizing about what exactly that means.

And that’s why 42Works is here to put all your conjecture on pause with this new guide.

Here we come, Google!

First, let’s understand what “Mobile First Indexing” actually means?

Mobile first indexing is a big step in Google giving mobile websites higher priority in search results. But to know how does this new SEO revolution will affect your small business, we first have to know how Google crawls and index data.

All search engines have four important components to their search algorithm – crawling, indexing, retrieval and rankings.

  • Crawling is the process by which Google follows links on the web to discover pages.
  • Indexing is where Google turns a particular web page into something useable for its ranking algorithm and stores it in their database.
  • Retrieval is the part where the engine says “give me everything relevant to this query.”
  • Ranking is where it all boils down to. It’s where they order the results based on the number of ranking factors that SEO professionals obsess over.

mobile first indexing

Right now, Google has just one index based on the desktop site. It creates signals based on Googlebot with the desktop user agent. Google then crawls with their mobile Googlebot to gather mobile friendly and other signals – but they aren’t creating a new index based on the mobile site.

This has caused some problems. There’s way too many cases where a user sees something of use in a snippet but gets redirected to the site’s mobile homepage which probably spawns an app store or newsletter popup. Though this is pretty much the norm on too many sites, it leaves behind bad user experience and frustrated users.

But with this new change Google seeks to stop that!

How will Mobile First Indexing affect your website?

When it comes to mobile first indexing, there are 3 scenarios you need to consider:

  • When a site is responsive
  • When a site has 2 versions – mobile and desktop
  • When a site doesn’t have a mobile version at all

Let’s deep dive into each of these scenarios.

1) Responsive Sites

GOOD NEWS! If you have a responsive website, then this new indexing scenario will have absolutely NO impact on your search rankings.

2) Site that Has 2 Different Versions – Desktop and Mobile

Here comes the tricky part.

mobile first indexing

If your site has different variations for desktop and mobile, then Googlebot will only crawl the mobile site and therefore the content on your mobile site will be indexed. So, if you have content on your site that is accessible on desktop only, then this will not be crawled by Googlebot. Websites which fall under this category will be impacted by Google’s mobile first index.

3) No Mobile Site

If your site has no mobile version and is not mobile-friendly, your site will still get indexed by Googlebot mobile. However, your site will not get the “mobile-friendly” designation and will rank lower to other mobile-friendly websites.

Well, Enough of Theory! Time to Get Some ‘Response’

If you don’t want any bad blood (which you DEFINITELY shouldn’t) between your website and Google, we just have one advice for you: Make. A. Responsive. Site.

And if you need any assistance doing that, 42Works is always here to help you stay mobile.


Comments

  • Hi Neel,
    Great job!
    I always thought that mobile marketing is a powerful tool for any startup to reach the top of seo ladder. Thanks to google and you for putting my thoughts in words.
    Kudos to the you and the team
    Zara

    Reply
    • Thank you for the kind words, Zara. We are glad to share your thought process. 🙂

      Reply
  • Great work. The amount of research and time you have put in this post is so showing!

    Reply
    • Thank you for the kind words, Sergio.

      Reply

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