How Mobile-First indexing will affect the link graph in Google
The mobile-first index is one of the many Google adjustments that may affect websites and the algorithm. The Google team started working on it in 2016 and throughout 2017, then finally launched it.
Even though it’s been around for some time, this Google feature is still being updated. This means that as website owners and SEO experts, we must also learn to work with the new elements of the leading platform.
Alternatively, this may be the first time you’re learning about the mobile-first index, or you wish to understand it better. Either way, in this article, we’ll talk about how mobile-first indexing works and how to use it to your site’s advantage.
Mobile-first indexing: what is it?
For those who’ve never heard of it, indexing is the second step in the Google Search protocol.
In the first step, called crawling, the Google Search Engine finds all the existing web pages. Next, it tries to understand the content of these pages (indexing) to match a user’s query with a potential array of pages. Then, the engine ranks the pages based on a variety of data.
The mobile-first indexing focuses on the content of your mobile version of your website. This means that the cache memory will focus on the mobile websites, and the rankings will be affected too.
What about the pages that don’t have a mobile version? The desktop versions will be included in the index if there isn’t a mobile alternative. However, this might affect the website regarding its ranking.
On the other hand, the sites that have an improved mobile version may increase their ranking and traffic.
So, there might not be such a drastic difference if you have similar mobile and desktop versions. On the contrary, if you lack a mobile variant, this may negatively impact your page.
Why mobile-first indexing?
Initially, the desktop version was the first index of any site. At the same time, the mobile one was a particular variant of the same site. Therefore, the mobile one could’ve presented less information and a less user-friendly interface that encouraged you to check the desktop page for more options. Google even had a pop-up window to help you choose which of the versions you wished to check out.
Gradually, as phones became smarter and smarter, users often preferred apps and mobile versions. I mean, why would you open your computer just to read an article that you could’ve read on your tablet or phone? Obviously, for a good user experience, the mobile version needs to have all the necessary elements and adjustments.
Google (and most web giants) have noticed a shift in the demands and started to update the website’s functions. So, even though the desktop versions were seen as the most whole in content and SEO practices, the introduction of mobile-first indexing marks a new era.
How can you use mobile-first indexing to your advantage?
Whether your mobile page is on point or not, take a look at these tips that help you work with mobile-first indexing:
- Don’t change your links just because the index preference has changed. Your links are still valid and will show up as a user’s query response when needed. Also, even if your desktop version is the only one you got, Google will use an agent to convert it into a mobile site. So, the users can still access your page from their phones. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to prepare a mobile page. The agent only “translates” your desktop version in a version to suit the user’s device, but this might compromise a lot of your content and structured data. Either way, aim to have a high-quality page, even if you don’t have a mobile version yet.
- Use the testing tools, such as robots.txt, to ensure that users can access your mobile site. Also, continue to match the content of both your pages with SEO standards. Just because Google favors one of your pages more doesn’t mean that the whole search engine system has changed. For example, keep adding inbound and outbound links to your blogs, A writers sites, and in the tag section.
- Make sure that your main content and markup are consistent on both versions. All you need to do is type in the URLs of your variants in the Structured Data Testing Tool. Then, you can compare the output of the two. If you’re trying to complete the data on one of your versions, avoid abusing the markup.
- Verify your mobile variant. Since more and more people like to access sites on their phones, develop your mobile pages. You can also take it further and verify the mobile one if you haven’t done that already.
Mobile-first indexing may not be the end of the world. Nevertheless, you should try to optimize your websites as much as you can to improve your traffic. Try these tips and stay tuned for more Google updates.
Claire Ferray is an experienced journalist working for the best essay writing service, a newspaper, and a blog. She specializes in science news and technology updates. Claire loves to run, watch movies, and play video games in her free time. When she’s not working for her essay writing service, Claire is probably outside enjoying a good run in nature.