Here's what this means for your site:
Before you grab your smartphone or tablet to Google the term ‘mobile first indexing,’ let me explain. Google bots constantly search and index the pages on most of the sites on the web so that they can return the most relevant search results when you type something into that familiar box.
Using over 200 ranking factors, Google ranks the pages first and foremost on the quality of information, thus ensuring best search results. Now, for the first time, Google has made a massive change in their ranking so that mobile-friendly search results will get an edge in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs.)
This change has been coming since 2015, but expectations were that Google would rank mobile sites and regular sites - not so!
On Monday, March 26, 2018 Google stated:
Hey! Check here if your site is mobile-friendly. (Google test)
Bottom line, search results will give priority to mobile friendly content. Mobile first indexing means that Google is going to be using the mobile version of a web page for indexing and ranking - this will be the ONLY indexing. Contrary to expectations, Google will not index the mobile site, then the desktop site. Starting July 2018, the only indexing will be through the mobile site and the desktop site will only be indexed if there is no mobile site - with a hit in the rankings.
Google’s change to mobile first indexing is not as radical as it may sound, because it’s a direct response to users.
More and more users do their searching on mobile devices, and in 2016 the number of users searching from mobile devices exceeded those searching from desktops and laptops.
What do you need to know to get your site updated? The top priority in the rankings has and continues to be quality information. Mobile friendliness and loading speed have been climbing the ranks in priority for several years, and have now reached critical importance. Google says not to panic, that desktop-only versions of sites will continue to be indexed - you have time to update.
Some days it can feel as if the internet is a moving target, and there is a constant scramble to keep up with the changes required to keep your site current and claim a higher ranking in the SERPs. This change has been coming since 2015, and I have been nagging my clients to get mobile friendly for years - literally. It’s great to have confirmation that my nagging is valid. I promise, your site can look great on a phone!