FAQs and how to prepare for the change!

There has been a lot of talk and panic when it comes to the changes that Google has announced making in terms of its indexing algorithm. Web page owners and creators are trying to figure out what exactly Google Mobile First Index is and how they can get their website set up and ready for the rollout. If you already have a responsive site, not much will change for your website in terms of ranking. This new Googlebot is just like what Google has already been using, except it crawls from a google mobile search perspective rather than a desktop.

Does this mean desktop-only sites won’t show up anymore? No. The Google Mobile First Index will also see and index a desktop site if they don’t have a mobile-friendly version. The desktop index has already given a boost in ranking to websites that have a responsive website, so this isn’t a new change.

What about separate mobile and desktop websites? Google is still trying to work out some issues on this, but with the information that has been revealed so far, we know that the Googlebot will only be viewing the mobile version. That means if there is any information that isn’t on your mobile website and pages, it probably won’t show up or rank well in a google search. Information that is tucked away in a drop-down menu or tabs won’t be devalued as it was with the desktop crawler. Instead, since these expandable web pages are more useful for mobile searches which we are now optimizing, they’ll be considered of equal value.

So, the best way to prepare is to make sure I have a responsive website? The short answer is yes. If you do not already have a mobile-friendly version of your website available, now is a great time to start working on one or to get one built. Google is not planning on rolling out the new index all at once. Instead, they will do so slowly and in increments. This is, after all, an experimental change.

The idea behind this is to make the Google mobile search experience more effective. Most searches done on Google is by mobile users, and there are many errors still occurring and making for bad user experience. Change is a good thing, in the long run. It may require some time and effort and extra work, but for businesses that rely on SEO for the majority of its traffic, it’s worth it. Look at this as “spring cleaning,” a chance to make sure your website is generally ready for indexing and Google mobile searches.

Will this affect the Rankings? Google is hopeful that there won’t be much of a change at all. Most websites are already optimized for mobile, and those who aren’t are now preparing to be.

Are there two indexes now? Technically, yes. The end goal is to have only one index running, which will be the Google Mobile First Index. As they begin to implement the new Googlebot, some users will be on the old version until the whole thing rolls out. If this experiment fails, they’ll simply revert back to the desktop Googlebot.

What are the first steps to take to get ready for this? There are lots of things you can do immediately to help your website. The first thing to do is run a test to make sure that your website is mobile friendly. Make sure that a Googlebot can actually find your website in the first place using this txt testing tool.

How can you be sure you’re ready? A good way to test this is to run a structured data test on your URLs and make sure the output matches up. If you’re still not sure, a handy checklist can help settle your mind about if your mobile website is ready. Remember, Google is still working on this, so there will be a couple of bumps along the way.

screenshot of Google's structured data testing tool

The most important thing you can do to prepare for the Google Mobile First Index is to make sure your mobile SEO is updated and ready to go. Many articles will try to tell you that SEO is dead. It’s not. It never will be. People will continue to use search engines, and these search engines will continue to provide sources of relevant content based on the keywords used in titles, links, and text. The only difference now is that mobile-friendly websites will take priority as they are being crawled in mobile view. This is a positive change to help your audience search easier and has a better experience on your website.

Contact us and we can help.