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The Impact of Mobile-First Indexing

It’s no surprise that mobile-first indexing has had a significant impact on the way we approach SEO altogether as we search, shop and show off on our mobile devices now more than ever. It seems like we’ve called shotgun on mobile and desktop has now taken the backseat – and Google agrees with us.

This big change was implemented by Google in July 2019 and means moving into the new decade we have to shift the focus to mobile users in order to reach our customers and beat the competition.

Hang on, but what does Mobile-First Indexing actually mean?

Mobile-First Indexing means Google will now crawl the mobile version of a site for indexing and ranking instead of desktop. Google previously used the desktop version of a page when considering the relevance of a page when reacting to a user’s query in search results.

The Impact of Mobile-First Indexing

Depending on your business, the impact of mobile-first indexing will be different. If you have multiple businesses with different versions of web-pages on a desktop site and mobile site then you’re most likely to be impacted by this change. And if you’re the other side of things if your web design is responsive already then you won’t be impacted by it at all because your site will just naturally adapt to different screen sizes.

Ecrubox Tip: You can always check how your site is crawled and indexed using Search Console. 

What does this mean for you? 

Your search rankings are most likely to be affected by mobile-first indexing if you have any of the following:

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  • Your website serves different content on the mobile and desktop versions of a page. 
  • Your pages aren’t really optimised for mobile crawlers
  • Your mobile pages are lacking in structured data
  • Your pages have limited metadata (if any)
  • The mobile version of a page isn’t properly verified in Google Search Console
  • The link profiles connecting to your mobile pages are weaker than the desktop versions.

But don’t panic! In some cases, you won’t need to change anything you’re currently doing, but it’s certainly worth checking. Because even if your site is totally responsive, other factors like page speed and loading time are prioritised so it’s important these are correctly optimised for the best mobile experience.

We’ve put together a few points to check over so your SEO efforts don’t suffer in vain. Bare with as we take you through some techy terms that are important to crack down on for great SEO.

Desktop only. If your site only runs on desktop and doesn’t have a mobile-friendly version then there is no change. The mobile version will simply be the same as the desktop version.

Mobile-first. If your site has been recently designed for mobile you shouldn’t  encounter any issues 

Responsive design. If you have a responsive site,  it will automatically adjust for mobile and desktop users. There is no big change here because essentially the mobile version is the same as the desktop version.

Check your URLs. Sometimes desktop URL’s are the same but they can be different when optimised for mobile content – this is known as an m-dot site and Google prefers using the mobile URL for indexing. If that sounds familiar to you then follow the best practices by Google. 

Dynamic Serving. Depending on the device of a user, the site shows different content. Users only see one URL and Google prefers the mobile optimised content. You should check what to do with Google.

AMP and non-AMP. Your site will have both AMP and non-AMP versions of a page. In this instance, users see two different URLs. And if your non-AMP mobile version uses dynamic serving or separate URLs then this should be checked too.

Creating a great mobile user experience is key going forward this decade. With the rise of voice search and mobile search in general user expect fast mobile experiences. So gear up your site to deal with the demands of the consumer this decade.  If you need any advice or help on how to go about this, feel free to get in touch with us!



SEO & Content Executive, lover of all things dance and a mindful yogi. Laura is a green tea addict and prefers cats over dogs…