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When business owners create their own websites, they often don’t know the most effective ways to fully direct traffic to their site. Unlike professional web designers, they’re also often not up to date on developing trends in the industry, such as Google’s recent implementation of mobile-first indexing.

If you have no idea what this means, this is a newly developed system that has the potential to drastically change the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of your website, and therefore is a topic you should be familiar with. Let’s break down exactly what the mobile-first index is and how it can affect your site.

What is the Mobile-First Index?

If you closely monitor traffic data on your site, you’ll notice that an overwhelming majority of viewers operate from their phones. The industry has caught on to the recent and rapid development of phone internet browsers, and Google has created a system that organizes search results based on this audience.

Mobile-first index is exactly what it sounds like. It basically means that the mobile version of your website is going to be what appears on search engines like Google. Because the mobile-first index filters search results based on mobile-compatibility, the index determines a new ranking of a website that’s dependent on its mobile accessibility and not its desktop display mode.

With this, the mobile version of a website becomes the primary version of the site as opposed to an alternate perspective.

The development of the mobile-first index can actually benefit your site in a variety of ways. Website owners can optimize their sites specifically to be mobile-friendly get ahead in the search rankings. However, sites that don’t keep up with this trend and refrain from developing mobile compatible sites will see a decrease in web traffic, which will decrease the likelihood of earning new customers.

The mobile-first index has made developing mobile-compatible websites critical for business owners, and you want to make sure you’re not one of the unlucky desktop-only websites that suffer from a drop in the search engine rankings.

What Should I Do About Mobile-First Indexing?

If your site isn’t optimized for phone browsing, don’t panic! It’s already a great start to have learned about mobile-first indexing and to realize that you need mobile compatibility. Keep in mind that Google is still testing this system, so you still have time to prepare for a potential shift in SEO ranking.

To ensure your site is fully responsive for both desktop and mobile browsing, there are a few aspects of your sites overall functionality to assess.

Efficiency

Assuming that your mobile design is currently operating, double check that your mobile pages are speedy and loading times are not too lengthy. Make sure that images, graphics, and videos are optimized correctly for mobile. 

Content

Ensure that all of your documents, media, and displays appear in a high-quality resolution. Check that the formats used on the mobile version are indexable.

Data

The structure data markup should be the same on both your mobile and desktop versions. Avoid irrelevant structured data that isn’t relevant to a specific page’s content.

Metadata makes sure that titles and descriptions are equal on both versions of a site. It’s important to optimize mobile titles for smaller character counts but keep your valued keywords.

Still Confused? There are Resources Available

Handling the SEO of both desktop and mobile versions of a website can be overwhelming and confusing for a lot of users. It’s important that if you feel unsure about your optimization techniques that you seek help from professionals.

Many digital marketing companies like the BBC Interactive Philadelphia SEO Agency and others specialize in working with clients who need help adapting to the rapidly changing industry and ensure that they are publishing a properly optimized site.

If the mobile-first index truly has the potential to alter a site’s SEO ranking drastically based on its mobile display functionality, then it’s critical to ensure your site’s visibility sooner rather than later.