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Mobile First Index: What You Need To Know

Google are bringing out a mobile first index. This means that all of the search results when you type in a query to Google will be based on the mobile version of the websites rather than the desktop version. So how exactly will this work? And what does it mean for you?

What's actually changing - and why?

Google have told us in the past that more people use their search engine on mobile than they do on desktop. It's logical therefore, that they want their index and results to be representative of the majority of searchers. Historically, Google have always used the desktop (a computer or laptop) version of websites, and now they're changing to using the mobile version instead. 

What difference does a mobile first index make?

Not every website has a mobile version. Many companies still have a solely desktop version of their site, whilst some have a completely different mobile version to their desktop. The best case scenario is websites that are fully responsive, meaning the site stays exactly the same on mobile as it is on desktop (yep, you guessed it - that's what ours do!). Any websites that have a different mobile and desktop experience could be at risk of seeing fluctuations in their rankings. Google have said they don't expect it to make massive changes in the rankings, in fact they are stressing it should be quite minimal, but until it happens we just won't know. 

How do I know if my site is responsive?

If you're on a desktop computer, drag the corner of your internet browser and make it smaller so it's shaped more like a mobile. If the content shrinks to adapt to whatever size you have your window, you have a responsive site! Also check out your website on mobile, it should all display perfectly on there too.

When will the mobile first index be rolled out?

As of yet, there is no definitive time scale. Google are already trialling and testing the new index on some users. At the time of writing, we expect the change to still be months away before it's rolled out to everyone. Google won't set a date because it's still in the testing phase, so it hinges on the success of that.

This is a basic recap on what the mobile first index and what it means for your business. Good resources that we recommend for further reading are on SearchEngineLand & Forbes. Alternatively, you can read Google's official blog on it to see what they say.

Posted on August 23rd 2017

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