Nowadays, people are increasingly using mobile devices for business purposes, so they have exceeded other devices in importance. According to usage statistics, mobile devices accounted for 63% of Google’s US organic search traffic.
In light of these changing user behaviors, Google announced in 2016 that it is shifting from desktop-indexing to mobile-first indexing. This announcement was met with a great deal of uncertainty by webmasters, but the world is constantly evolving, and Google takes great pride in leading the change.
What exactly is Mobile-First Indexing?
Before diving into all of the practices that website owners should implement to ensure the smooth sailing of their sites, let’s understand the term Mobile-First Indexing. According to Google, Mobile-First Indexing means that Google primarily indexes and ranks mobile versions of data. Google has already begun indexing mobile-first data by default, and any new website added to Google search after July 2019 will initially index the mobile version of the website.
Best Practices for Mobile-First Indexing to Implement Before 2021:
Following are the practices for Mobile-First Indexing to implement before 2021 to ensure an effective and efficient application for your users.
1) Make sure Googlebot can access mobile website’s content
Make sure that Googlebot (a web crawler) can access and render your page content and resources to provide relevant data for the Google search engine. To allow Googlebot to render your content without error for mobile indexing, follow the few directions.
- Use the same robot meta tags on your desktop and mobile websites. When your website is set up for mobile-first indexing, Google crawlers may struggle to index the content if you use different tags.
- Avoid lazy loading your primary content, such as images and videos that require user interaction (clicking and typing), because Googlebot will refuse to index that content. For mobile-first indexing, follow Google’s best practices for lazy loading content.
- Allow Google to crawl your resources. Some resources have different URLs on the mobile versions and desktop versions. If you want Google to index your resources, make sure you are not blocking them.
2) Keep your mobile and desktop sites equivalent with primary content
As Google will only index mobile versions of websites, ensure that your mobile and desktop websites have the same content. Consider upgrading your mobile site if it has less content. Keep the headlines and visual content consistent on both platforms to provide users with a friendly experience.
3) Maintain a nice visual content
For indexing, visual content such as photos and videos should be in the proper size and quality in both desktop and mobile versions of your websites. Google has suggested a few best practices for images and practices for videos to follow.
- Make sure your images are in a format appropriate for smaller screens and have a high-quality resolution, as Google does not prefer low-quality images when indexing.
- Videos must be placed in a suitable format with corrects tag for Google to render them.
All visual content should be perfectly placed on both the mobile and desktop versions of the website.
Responsive websites are the latest buzz in town as these enable users to view an optimized version of the sites. Responsive website owners should have no issue with mobile-first indexing and search engine results pages (SERPs).
Mobile-first indexing is an evolved and appropriate way of analyzing all data online. Keep in mind that mobile-first indexing is here to stay, and after March 2021, all indexing and ranking will only be done by it, so you can’t opt-out of it. To prevent dysfunction errors, we suggest that you adopt these procedures as soon as possible.