3 Ways In Which Google’s Mobile First Ranking Affects SEO

Google has recently made changes that rank mobile friendly sites above those that are not mobile friendly, when searching from a smartphone. Now this makes a lot of sense, but may be very disrupting to marketing efforts…

If your website has not already adjusted to this new SEO’s reality, it needs to be your top priority, as SEO success plays a significant role in your online brand’s revenue and growth trajectory.

In a world where many users have online access from their pockets, search engines like Google are considering websites from a mobile perspective by making the crossover from the desktop search indexes of yesterday to ones that require mobile compatibility from the start.

Mobile search now outpaces desktop search with nearly 60 percent of searches being conducted on mobile devices, hence why Google is focusing on user experience. Their latest effort is beginning with mobile search index and modifying how it will rank websites.

Currently Google uses a single index of documents for its searches, this change will use a separate mobile search index that will become the primary, providing search content to mobile users that is more fresh and accurate.

By having such an index that is mobile focused, Google’s most significant change will now exclude extracting data from desktop content— drastically affecting the way in which sites approach SEO on mobile.

Here’s how Google’s mobile-driven search indexing system will affect SEO in 2017:

1. Mobile vs. Desktop Content Serving

Most marketers publish abbreviated forms of desktop pages on separate mobile sites as a simple approach to mobile publishing.

It was a quick (& dirty) fix, but Google’s current SEO method ranks websites by using a desktop crawler for all searches despite the type of device being used.

The process can create a significant problem for users who use smartphones or tablets and select results that appear to have the answers to their search but only provide them on a desktop viewable forum, which is unreadable to them. This is the major reason behind Google’s latest crackdown on the way it ranks websites.

Their latest changes mean that websites that drop desktop content from mobile and fail to publish the same content on both will be fit the most.

2. Structured Data

Using structured data is pretty standard for marketers who want to ensure that a search engine understands the content being served by boosting discoverability. Yet, increasing markup on a mobile site can slow a page’s load time— causing many marketers to remove markup from mobile versions in an attempt to speed up loading times.

Here’s where Google’s changes comes into play: once the switch to mobile first index is made, the structured data will no longer be visible in the mobile search results. Google has recommended that sites add missing structured data back into mobile pages but at a smaller percentage.

Marketers should:

  • avoid adding large amounts of markup,
  • take out any extra schemas that are irrelevant to the content of their pages and Google’s search results.

This will ultimately help keep mobile page load times as quick and efficient as possible.

3. Mobile Site Building

Marketers who are are currently working towards a launch of a mobile version of a desktops site may want to give their hands a break.

As of right now, no one is entirely sure when the changes will be implemented. If you’re intending to build a mobile site strategy, make sure it’s up for the task. In Google’s new world, a desktop site that is fully functional will be better for users than a mobile version that is defective.

If you intend on launching one anyway, ensure that the content you’re providing is fully accessible to a mobile user and mirrors the content you produce on your desktop site exactly.

Google will continue to index desktop pages, so don’t rush out and quickly put together a mobile version of your site for Google’s latest update. What you will want to do is ensure that your content is fully accessible.

Making sure that you’ve got every aspect of your site and its content covered will be critical with Google’s latest and upcoming SEO changes. As your customers use an ever-growing and ever-diversifying number of smart phones and tablets, make sure your online presence is flexible enough to fit anywhere.

How do you ensure your ready for the change?

The easiest way is to make use the Website Checker Tool to assess your current website and how it is placed for the Google SEO changes, it will even give you recommendations on what needs to be done – these can be shared directly with your website developer. The this tool you don’t need to be a Website expert to get a quality website, let the tool be the expert for you.

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Director at Aykira Pty Ltd
Keith is a founder of Aykira & has over 18 years experience with everything Internet. From eCommerce to security, mobile to maps; large or small. PhD in Info Systems, member Australian & British Computer Society's, ex Yahoo. Architect/Engineer/Innovator.