Will Mobile-First Indexing Affect My Ranking?
You know Google. They’re always up to something, as they continue to work toward making the web more mobile-friendly. This time it’s called “mobile-first indexing.” This term was thrown around a lot in 2018 in conversations related to SEO, meaning this has something to do with how sites show up in search results. Before we get into it, let’s remind ourselves of the basics of search ranking and indexing.
Difference Between Indexing and Ranking
You might remember Google uses web crawlers to index content. Web crawlers are to the web what a librarian is to a library. There is so much information on the internet that before anything is done with it, it needs to be checked and organized. Then, it becomes publicly available in the Search index. That’s what indexing means.
Once things are indexed, they can be ranked. Google will evaluate the information in the index to find the best matches for a specific search query and also considers other factors, like device, so it can provide the best recommendations depending on what you’re looking for. Nothing can be ranked if it hasn’t first been indexed.
What Does Mobile First Indexing Mean?
As we all know, mobile has pretty much taken over the world. Everyone has a mobile phone in their hands most of the time, and use it to access all kinds of information quickly. Google knows that mobile is important, which is why they now want to focus on indexing the mobile version of web pages first.
The tricky thing here is that the mobile version of your site must match the desktop version. If your website uses responsive web design, meaning that it’s one site that adapts to different screen sizes, then you shouldn’t encounter issues with this, but if you run a mobile site that is separate from your desktop site, and they don’t show the same content, this change is likely to affect your ranking. Why? Well, usually, when you have a stand-alone mobile site, it is entirely possible that, due to space and size issues, you don’t show the same amount of information that the desktop website shows. Since your mobile site will be indexed first and it lacks content, Google might consider the shorter version not as valuable, causing your ranking to be affected.