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Mobile-first Index

Google will soon shake up the way SEO is being performed. In 2017 Google announced it will implement its mobile-first index. This means Google will start displaying search results based on mobile site rankings – even if you are searching on a desktop. This comes as no surprise when 60% of all Google searches are performed on mobile devices. This number is only going to grow with current projections showing 2.7 billion people owning a smartphone by 2019.

Although the mobile-first index has not come into effect yet, it has been reinforced with the announcement of the Speed Update, coming up in July. The speed update will start factoring loading speed when ranking mobile sites. This is already true for desktop websites and is another hint that mobile-first is coming.

So, here’s what you need to know about the mobile-first index.

First of all, you can still use hidden content. Google has advised that mobile content in accordion and drop-down menus will be crawled so these can still be used as a part of your design. 

Secondly, all m-dot domain mobile sites (m.exmaple.com) should be migrating their content to responsive designs. Google recommended that this migration happens before the switch to mobile-first is put into place. The rationale behind this is that if you make your current site responsive, the new algorithm won’t have to index your m-dot site from scratch once the update happens.

Finally, webmasters need to ensure that ALL pages are loading properly on mobile. If the responsive, mobile version of your site is getting a high bounce rate, this will affect your ranking in search results; even if your desktop site has a very low bounce rate. If a site is already fully responsive and has identical content both in its desktop and mobile versions, its ranking should not be affected directly. However, a site that already follows this practice can be indirectly affected as other sites might move up or down the ranking based on their mobile responsiveness.

Ideally, Google wants this transition to be as seamless as possible and have already indicated it will roll out the update on a site-by-site basis. This is so webmasters get the chance to implement all the necessary updates to their sites.

If you are unsure about the responsiveness of your page, google has a good tool in place where you can check your website's mobile responsiveness by putting in the page's URL. 


For a fully responsive website, contact the skilful folks at Expert.

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