Mobile-First Indexing: What You Need To Know

22 May 2020

There are several components involved in helping a website rank on Google and they must all work in unison if you’re to achieve a satisfactory rank. A good digital agency in Melbourne can help you boost your website’s ranking through many methods such as SEO strategies and Google ads, but one component that is often overlooked is having a solid mobile version of your website. Why is this important? Because of mobile-first indexing.


What is mobile-first indexing?

Basically, towards the end of 2017, Google announced that they were going to start indexing all websites with their mobile versions in mind when it came to ranking. There is no separate index for desktop and mobile versions – it’s the same index, but the mobile version is looked at first. Hence the name mobile-first.

If your website has the same URL for both versions, then the mobile version is still indexed. If there are separate URL’s, then the appropriate website is shown depending on what device you’re using.

Mobile-first indexing is not something that you can choose. For any website that was created after July 1st, 2019, the indexing is automatically done. Websites created prior to this date are slowly being indexed. Google announced on March 5th that by September 2020 all websites will have their mobile website’s indexed first.


Does that mean I have to create a new website?

No. In fact, it is advised that you keep the website the same since Google indexes the mobile version first. Essentially all the content must be identical no matter how small or trivial they may seem – this includes things like image text, meta descriptions, meta robots tags, structured data, website copy and titles. If your mobile website is a lite version, per se, that features less content overall then you will see a drop in traffic.


How can I see if my website is mobile-first indexing friendly?

Google has provided several tools to help you determine if your website is mobile-first indexing friendly. Google Search Console is one such tool that will show you analytics for your website so you can see how well it is ranking and indexed. It is designed to help webmasters appropriately optimise to improve their visibility on Google as well as track site traffic. It will also tell you the exact day that your website was switched to mobile-first indexing (if applicable).

PageSpeed Insights is another tool where you enter your website’s URL and Google will analyse its speed – spitting out hard facts and pointing out areas where improvements could be made. Make sure to check both your desktop and mobile scores. If you couple these tools with a fantastic digital agency, then your website is sure to thrive amongst the masses.

One of the website’s that we designed and developed.


What are some good mobile-first elements?

Firstly, it’s important to note that Google’s webmaster trends analyst, John Mueller, has stated that a mobile-first website is completely different from mobile-first indexing. A mobile website may be difficult to use or lack the elements needed to make it mobile-friendly but if it contains the content then it will still be indexed as such. That being said – it’s still highly important to have an impressive and easy-to-use mobile website so your users can navigate it easily.

Google uses Googlebot to index websites. So, to achieve a great mobile-friendly website, Googlebot needs to be able to crawl it properly. A couple of major things that will help ensure this is not having content load upon interaction (that is, content loaded when a tap or swipe motion is required to summon it) and ensuring your website resources share the same URL on both the desktop and mobile version of your site.

Appropriately sized font, headers and images as well as easily selectable options are also a must. People want to find what they’re looking for instantly when looking on their mobile devices. Having a contact button that will immediately call the contact number is highly desirable as it cuts straight to the point.


Are you looking for a digital agency in Melbourne?

Google’s push for mobile-first indexing is no surprise considering how much people use their mobiles to trawl the internet these days. This is why it’s important to keep mobile-first design and optimisation in mind when constructing a new website. This is something that AWD Digital has years of experience in.

Our digital agency always designs websites with mobile-first design at the forefront of our approach. Our esteemed designers and developers will work with you to deliver a custom website that when combined with our SEO strategies will shine above the rest.

If you’d like to contact our digital agency in Melbourne for a free one hour consultation, then please contact us by filling out the form on our website or calling +61 3 9001 6255.