Mobile-First Indexing for Your Business Website

April 8, 2019

Mobile-First Indexing

Since 2016, Google has been working on mobile-first indexing – a way of crawling the web with Smartphone Googlebot – and how users access it. Websites from all over the world have mobile versions that work on so many kinds of devices.

Now, Google uses mobile-first indexing for over 50% of the search result pages, globally. From the term ‘mobile-first,’ it means your website’s mobile version will be considered the primary version.

How does Google achieve this?

It’s quite straightforward.

After notifying the owner of the website, they check to see if it is ready and then move it to mobile-first indexing. This notification is confirmed by going through server logs, where Smartphone Googlebot sent most of the requests.

The URL inspection tool makes it easier for the site owner to check how a link from the website (for example, the homepage) was most recently indexed and crawled.

From this point, the website should be ready to go, if it uses responsive design techniques.

Most Frequently Encountered Challenge

It is not uncommon for websites that use unresponsive web design to face some minor issues.

One continual challenge is that of missing structured data on mobile pages.

Mobile Responsive Site

Structured data makes it easy for smartphone users to access the content of your website’s pages.

It also lets Google highlight your web pages with great designs in the search results. By default, using structured data on your desktop version gives the same result on the mobile version of the site.

Solving this Challenge

Smartphone Googlebot only makes use of the mobile version of the page in mobile-first indexing. Otherwise, it won’t come across the structured data. To avoid this, try testing for structured data in general, and then relate it to the mobile version.

To do this, the site owner should check the source code when simulating a mobile device. A much easier way to do this is to use the HTML generated with the mobile-friendly testing tool.

Note: Mobile-first indexing INCLUDES sites that are NOT mobile-friendly.

Final Note

Something else to note is the alt-text for images on mobile pages of your website. The alt-attribute on images, help describe the images to mobile users and search engine crawlers.

Google finds it hard to understand the context of images without an alt-text for images. In turn, this may drastically reduce the visibility of your images or post, hence your business.

To check for this, you can either use the Mobile-friendly test to see the Googlebot rendered version or check “img” tags in the source code of the mobile pages by using the browser to simulate a mobile screen.

Explore the source code for “img” tags and make sure your web pages are giving the right alt-attributes using your targeted keywords.

Majority of users all over the world are making use of smartphones to access the internet, and Google’s mobile-first indexing is doing a great job of including more websites in this trend. In a few years from now, there is a good chance the majority of organically generated online traffic would be mobile generated.

If you still struggle to optimize your website to be mobile friendly, we can lend a helping handing through a free consultation with one of our experienced and competent SEO specialists.

Don’t get left behind!