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Mobile first indexing is a long-coming major update that sets Google’s preference to mobile devices over the desktop. It sets the structure with cross-device content in a way that prioritising content to display on mobile and other smaller devices. For websites that aren’t ready for mobile, a user will search on a mobile device and click through to a website that looks like it should be on desktop. This will cause a bad experience for that user because the website elements will not fit the smaller device well, elements and links will be unclickable and it will look relatively terrible. In a mobile first world, the priority will be to mobile serving websites and it promotes a better user experience.

Mobile and Desktop Indexing

Currently there are different indexes for mobile and desktop but in the future, there will be a switch to a single index – not mobile or desktop but one index that will prioritise mobile over desktop. When updating your desktop website, there are a lot of different mobile design elements to take advantage of (accordions, tabs, carousels, and more). There are some concerns of elements that don’t immediately show content being marked as “hidden content”. However, this hidden content is treated the same way as non-hidden content, so a website isn’t punish for using different elements or using a different style. On the other hand, the content needs to be available in the source code, so not delayed through JavaScript or a plugin that loads the content outside of the source code.

It is important to ensure that both the desktop and mobile versions of your website are as identical as possible for content. Some websites will have separate mobile and desktop versions, in these cases any content changes will need to be uploaded to both versions of the website, unlike a responsive website that will only need the content uploaded once and it scales to match the screen size. A responsive website is easier to work with, for more than just content but index directives, any schema mark-up and more. You will be able to see if a website has different desktop and mobile versions by looking at the URL address, if it has m. before the URL instead of www. it will be a mobile serving version of a website. It’s important to note that if you have content on the desktop version of your website but it’s not on the mobile version, it will likely not be indexed on mobile.

Mobile Indexing and Google Search Console

Google Search Console (GSC) is a free and useful tool provided by Google, within its available resources there are mobile sections for performance, core web vitals, and security. GSC will also send you a notification if your website has been switched over to mobile first indexing. So if you have a GSC account already, you may have seen this notification already but it’s worth double-checking. If you’re new to GSC, it may take some time to receive this notification. GSC will also notify you if it perceives any issues with the mobile version of your website. For example, if you have clickable elements too close together, or if text is too small. These points can be reviewed in the Mobile Usability Report in Google Search Console.

Get In Touch

If you’re unsure if your website is looking its best on mobile or if you want to know more about how to rank better on mobile indexing, get in touch with the 427 Marketing team and we will be able to guide you through your mobile-optimising process.

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