Mobile Users Reign Supreme

Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, the ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance. This can cause issues when a mobile page has less content than the desktop page. The algorithms are not evaluating the actual page that is seen by a mobile searcher.

To make results more useful, experiments have begun to make mobile pages indexed first. Although the search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, the algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in the results. Of course, while the index will be built from mobile documents, Google will continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.

This is an important shift in our indexing and it’s one that should be taken seriously. Small scale experiments will still take place and will be fully launched once those experiments are fruitful. Though it’s only the beginning, here are a few recommendations to help webmasters prepare as things more towards mobile indexing.

Technical Aspects to Watch For

  • If you have a responsive site or a dynamic serving site where the primary content and markup is equivalent across mobile and desktop, you shouldn’t have to change anything.
  • If you have a site configuration where the primary content and markup is different across mobile and desktop, you should consider making some changes to your site.
    • Make sure to serve structured markup for both the desktop and mobile version.Sites can verify the equivalence of their structured markup across desktop and mobile by typing the URLs of both versions into the Structured Data Testing Tool and comparing the output.When adding structured data to a mobile site, avoid adding large amounts of markup that isn’t relevant to the specific information content of each document.
    • Use the robots.txt testing tool to verify that your mobile version is accessible to Googlebot.
    • Sites do not have to make changes to their canonical links; we’ll continue to use these links as guides to serve the appropriate results to a user searching on desktop or mobile.
  • If you are a site owner who has only verified their desktop site in Search Console, please add and verify your mobile version.
  • If you only have a desktop site, that will continue to be indexed. Keep in mind that a functional desktop-oriented site can be better than a broken or incomplete mobile version of the site. It’s better for you to build up your mobile site and launch it when ready.

Janis Henslee, President & CEO of Digital Fitness in Madison, WI, is an Entrepreneur in the marketing profession that helps businesses of all sizes streamline their marketing solutions through an All-Inclusive Marketing Membership. She spends most of her time helping business owners communicate their vision and grow their business through effective marketing. If you are considering hiring a Marketing company, contact Janis at (608) 977-1540.