What is mobile first-Indexing?

What is mobile-first Indexing?

Historically, when a user looked something up on the internet they were using a desktop device. However, over the last ten years the usage of desktops and laptops has been in gradual decline, whereas the use of mobile devices has been steadily increasing year on year.

We are now at a stage where it is thought that the divide is fairly equally split, with nearly 50% of all usage coming from mobile phones..

However, when searching for something on the internet by using a search engine like Google, it is thought that more searches are completed via mobile than desktop, with 61% of Organic search traffic on Google in the US coming from mobile devices.

There is clearly a shift in users behaviour from the traditional standalone desktop computer to using the internet on a mobile phone.

How do search engines work?

Search engines work by crawling hundreds of thousands of website pages. Each search engine uses its own web crawlers to do this job, often known as ‘search engine bots‘ or ‘spiders

The search engine trawls through page after page, following links to navigate deeper and deeper into websites, this is often referred to as crawling.

Once a search engine has discover a new page and evaluates it, it will ‘hopefully’ add this page to its index.

Google is one of the biggest and most popular search engines used globally and up until recently would use it’s spiders to crawl the websites based on the desktop versions of a website.

However, this is about to change, last year Google announced that it would be changing from crawling desktop versions to crawling mobile version of a website for indexing.

What is Mobile First Indexing?

Mobile-first indexing means Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking.

Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query.

Since the majority of users now access Google Search with a mobile device, Googlebot primarily crawls and indexes pages with the smartphone agent going forward.

https://developers.google.com/search/mobile-sites/mobile-first-indexing

Conclusion – Now that we know the biggest search engine in the world is going to be prioritising mobile versions of websites over desktop versions, it’s more important than ever to make sure that your website is mobile friendly.

If you only do one thing in 2021 regarding online web presence and SEO, then making sure your website is mobile friendly is the one to do. If not, don’t panic, you’ve still got plenty of time to make changes to your website as the new indexing is thought to be applied in March this year.

Published by amandawhitedigital

Amanda White is an SEO specialist with over ten years of experience working with some of the largest eCommerce websites in the UK with both an agency and in house background.

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