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Mobile SEO: Important Google updates for 2018

It’s official: Google is moving towards a mobile-first future. And with 58% of all Google searches done from a mobile device, why wouldn’t they? In fact, a whopping 27.8 billion more queries are performed on mobile than desktop, proving that mobile usage is overtaking desktop usage.

Rolling out its Mobile-Friendly Update in 2015 (dubbed by many as “Mobilegeddon”), Google began penalising sites that weren’t mobile-friendly. Now looking at the mobile experience over the desktop experience to reflect current user behaviour trends, Google has announced its decision to make its entire algorithm mobile-first.

So what does this mean for your business’s website? Let Bang Digital help you prepare for Google’s mobile-first index. Here’s everything you need to know about the roll out and how to optimise your mobile site for success under this change.

What is the mobile-first indexing update?

Last month Google officially announced its new mobile-first indexing initiative. So what is mobile indexing? It’s exactly what it sounds like. Google will now treat mobile sites as the primary version to index, which makes sense considering mobile search is increasing year on year (did we mention that mobile usage is expected to rise to 221 million by 2020?).

Historically, Google’s crawling, indexing and ranking systems have used both a desktop version and a mobile version, with desktop seen as the priority. But now with the dramatic shift towards mobile, no matter what device you use Google will show your results from the mobile index. Therefore, the mobile version of your page’s content will become the starting point for what Google includes in its index and the baseline for how it determines rankings.

Will this impact your website?

So, will this update affect your website rankings? Well it depends – is your site already perfectly optimised for mobile? If so, that’s great news and you should be unaffected. If not, you need to prepare yourself otherwise you may notice a rankings drop as Google rolls out the update.

Simply put, if the mobile version of your site is vastly different from the desktop version, chances are your rankings are going to drop. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, a site with a better mobile experience could potentially receive a ranking boost over you, even for searches on desktop. So to stay ahead of the curve, you need to make sure your website is following mobile-first best practices.

Best practices for mobile-first indexing

So far the change is only in the early stages of testing and is being rolled out slowly to ensure a good experience for site owners and users. In fact, Google has said in a recent statement that “after a year and a half of careful experimentation and testing, they have started migrating sites that follow best practice for mobile-first indexing”.

Some of these best practices to prepare for mobile-first indexing include:

  • Loads resources across all devices
  • Doesn’t hide content on mobile versions of your site
  • Loads quickly like mobile users expect
  • Has working internal links and redirects
  • Boasts a UX that’s optimised no matter what device your visitors see

Here’s how Bang Digital can help

So what can you do? If you don’t have a responsive mobile site, now is the time to get one. But it takes more than simply showing your mobile visitors a mini version of your desktop. Start by getting your content ready for mobile viewing by using all the high quality texts, videos and images that exist on your desktop site. Basically, if your mobile version isn’t equivalent to your desktop version, that needs to be changed.

You’ll also need to prioritise the other mobile-first indexing factors mentioned above like site speed and page load time. Google recently announced its “Speed Update” that will begin in July, so it’s important that you’re not making your visitors wait around for your mobile site to load.

And that’s where we come in. At Bang Digital we can help you ensure your site follows mobile-first best practices. We want to make sure your visitors have the best experience possible on both your mobile and desktop sites, while also ensuring your sites are ‘search engine friendly’. We do this by employing some of the very best web development techniques and are constantly developing our skills with the latest practices that come into the market.

Let Bang Digital get your website ready for mobile-first indexing. Our team of digital marketing specialists have the expertise and experience to help you achieve fantastic results online. Get in touch now.