SEO is all about things changing constantly and when you think that you are making a good progress with your new strategy, Google comes with an algorithmic update and the whole game changes. Mobile first indexing is the next buzz in SEO industry as Google has been taking efforts to make the web more user-friendly. But there is a lot of confusion regarding mobile first index. Let’s go ahead and clear up things a bit.

What is mobile first indexing?
In simple terms, Google will start indexing web pages by considering the needs of a mobile browser. A desktop version will be different from its mobile version and many owners don’t pay attention to the mobile version at all. Due to poor mobile optimization of a website, mobile users face difficulties in browsing the website from their smart devices. Brands focus only on enhancing the desktop view of a site. To avoid such negligence, Google rolled out the mobile first index. Google will use the mobile version of your website in order to rank it on the search engine. This means if you have a mobile-optimized site, you will rank well on both desktop and mobile. However, if your website doesn’t perform well on mobile, it will affect your rankings on both platforms.

Will mobile version use for determining to rank alone?
Mobile first means the mobile site will be used as a primary version to determine rankings. However, there are situations where the desktop version will be taken into consideration, especially when you don’t’ have a mobile version of a particular page.

What if there is no mobile version of a website
If you don’t have a mobile version of your website and your desktop version is not mobile friendly, the web pages still can be indexed. However, your rank will be different from that of mobile-friendly websites. Not having a mobile-friendly version of your website can negatively affect your ranking on both desktop and mobile search results as it implies having a poor user experience compared to other sites.

In future, you may not rank well but is it is not like Google is penalizing you. It is like Google is trying to reward websites who are doing better with their mobile friendliness. Hence it is better to be cautious now and start improving your mobile responsiveness.

Do mobile pages be added to a separate mobile index?
There is only one index the same one Google uses currently. Mobile first indexing doesn’t generate a new mobile-first index or creating a separate mobile index. It just changes how the content is added to the existing index.

From when the mobile first index will affect my site
Google has been experimenting mobile first index for quite some time now on a few sites. These sites where selected based on their readiness for experimentation. Stay tuned to official Google webmaster blog for a clear announcement on mobile first indexing.

Will current rankings be affected?
Google reassures that mobile first indexing will absolutely not have an impact on existing rankings. will not have an edge over another website that hasn’t been changed The change is all about how the content is gathered for indexing. In simple words, the site that has been changed accordingly to the mobile first index yet.

It is mobile first, not mobile only indexing. Even if a site doesn’t have a mobile compatible version, still the desktop site will be made use for indexing. But not having a mobile-friendly version can impact your ranking adversely.

How mobile first indexing impacts other ranking factors?
Mobile first ranking may affect a variety of ranking factors and strategy. This change is an indication that Google is becoming less reliable on traditional links and URLs for ranking. Instead of relying on the URL system, it is moving in favor of an API type approach bases on entities like structured data than URLs.

What should you do to prepare for this change?
It’s been 12 months since Google emphasized on mobile friendliness and now offering a good mobile experience is critical for business. In the coming years, you can expect more changes in the way Google takes things based on mobile friendliness. Mobile first indexing is in the early stages of testing and will be implemented gradually for websites which Google considers to be ready enough for the change. With this change, Google is not trying to stir up the whole SEO world, so, chill.

To prepare for the change, make sure that you follow these steps to makes sure that your site is ready.

Go responsive
It is high time to move your website to a responsive design. Though having a separate mobile site is accepting, having a URL that adapts to all devices is the best way to go for it.

Make available the content on the desktop site for your mobile version as well. The formats used in the mobile version must be crawlable and indexable.

XML and sitemaps
The links to the sitemaps should be accessed from the mobile version of the website as well. This applies to robots. txt and on page meta robot tags also.

Search console verification
You might have verified the desktop version of your website on Google search console and it was okay until yesterday. But, now, you need to add and verify it in the mobile version also.

This is not the first time Google has come with sudden changes and caused a panic for website owners. Mobile trend is already there for some time and it is expected to stay as well. If your mobile site isn’t responsive, it is high time that you need to fix or else the rankings will suffer greatly. Keep your mobile site up to date with desktop content and make sure to update your mobile site. Start making changes now it but you may not see effects for a while. However, it is always better to be ahead of the game instead of struggling to catch up.

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