Over the past few years Google has been favouring mobile, encouraging businesses to integrate a responsive version of their site to improve usability on mobile. They even started ranking mobile sites differently to desktop sites. Now they are rolling out mobile-first indexing.
On Google’s Webmaster Central Blog we were told that historically Google has utilised desktop versions of landing pages when crawling and indexing and they feel that this could be detrimental when it comes to ranking sites for users utilising their mobile, particularly if the two versions differ drastically. It makes sense that Google starts to put more stock in mobile-targeted sites, especially as we see mobile becoming more prominent when it comes to surfing the net.
When will this happen?
For a variety of sites this process has already begun. The roll-out is going to be a slow one with each site being individually analysed so that each company does not experience a drastic hit in site visitors and rankings etc. However long it takes to reach your site, the fact remains that this is happening and the sooner you are prepared for this the better. You will know when your site has been moved over to mobile-first indexing via a message in your Webmaster Tools account.
What should I do to prepare?
The most important way to prepare for mobile-first indexing is to ensure that your site is fully optimised for mobile. Your SEO agency will be able to run a comprehensive check and target areas of your site that are weak on mobile and work to optimise these.
It’s not just about SEO
Don’t forget about your PPC. Whilst a mobile optimised site does not directly impact quality score, it can be a fair assessment to say that a better user experience on mobile will make your site look more favourable in Google’s eyes; potentially reducing your cost per click.