Google Is Shifting to a Mobile-First Index: What Marketers Need to Know to Prepare

Well, Google recently announced that its search results index is essentially being flipped and will prioritize mobile results first: This is big, so send us your questions so we know what's not clear & what we need to communicate more about https://t.co/i4krA3cgqN — Gary Illyes (@methode) November 5, 2016 With Google currently experimenting with this change, there's a lot you need to know to ensure you're prepared. What Is Mobile-First Indexing? For this change to mobile-first indexing, Illyes stated that specific mobile site versions and responsive design will work. Because results will start to primarily use mobile content first, you should consider what, and how much content, to add to your mobile version. AMP-enabled pages are treated as mobile content. See the below conversation with Illyes for more: How You Can Prepare For the Mobile-First World 1) Ensure you have a mobile-friendly website. 2) Consider if content should be adjusted for mobile. If you do not have a mobile-friendly website, Google will still index your website but the mobile crawler may appear in your Search Console. Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? User experience and engagement have become increasingly important signals for search engines.

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We’re living in a mobile-first world. For most of us, that means from the moment you wake up in the morning, your phone becomes a part of your daily routine — from silencing your alarm, to reviewing the daily news, to checking email, and so on.

And search engines are seeing the result of this trend: search queries on mobile have now surpassed desktop-based queries.

Now you may be thinking, my website is already mobile-friendly … so I’m set, right?

Sure, you are ready for mobile visitors, but your content may not be optimized for the new realities of search. What exactly do we mean by that?

Well, Google recently announced that its search results index is essentially being flipped and will prioritize mobile results first:

This is big, so send us your questions so we know what’s not clear & what we need to communicate more about

https://t.co/i4krA3cgqN

— Gary Illyes (@methode) November 5, 2016

With Google currently experimenting with this change, there’s a lot you need to know to ensure you’re prepared. But don’t panic, we’ll walk through it all below.

What Is Mobile-First Indexing?

As Google’s Gary Illyes said, this is a big change, so let’s start by discussing some of the details first. Keep in mind this update is currently in testing so you may not notice any differences at the moment.

  1. Mobile-friendly websites matter, regardless of technology. Google has previously stated their preferred method of a mobile-friendly website was responsive design. For this change to mobile-first indexing, Illyes stated that specific mobile site versions and responsive design will work.
  2. SERPs will now be primarily based on mobile content. Today, if you have a page that shows some specific content to desktop-based visitors, but excludes content for mobile visitors, you may notice a change in results because of the mobile-specific content. Because results will start to primarily use mobile content first, you should consider what, and how much content, to add to your mobile version.
  3. AMP-enabled pages are treated as mobile content. If you have Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for your website, or blog, these pages will be treated as other…

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