What the hell is mobile first indexing and how does it impact my ranking?

We all can agree on at least one thing: Google is King.

Queen. God. Goddess.

Fill in the blank.


The giant browser sees over 100 billion searches conducted every month. Google commands a crushing 90% of the market share as of 2018. Click To Tweet


With all its popularity, Google is also extremely “fussy”. Synonyms for fussy: scrupulous, discriminating, ornery, problematic.


GiphyWith a large budget, a reputable SEO company, and plenty of time, your site’s indexing with moderately searched keywords may improve. That’s if you’re lucky. If you aren’t as fortunate, you’ll pour money into a hack that never improves your rankings. Even worse, overnight, an entire SEO campaign is abandoned because Google changed an algorithm.


You can quote us, “Google is extremely ornery.” #marketing #mobile Click To Tweet


This is why we optimize our sites and content with SEO/SEM keyword strands and then focus on building our clients’ brand. Not put more money into Google’s fickle pocket.


As independently owned businesses, we cannot directly affect google all that much, especially compared to the deep pockets of large organizations. So, when we can afford to implement strategies that will improve our success, we must!


You use Google as your search engine.

Your customers do, as well.


This year, Google began implementing their mobile-first index initiative. In case you missed the announcement, here’s a quick overview of Google’s ‘mobile-first index’:


Our crawling, indexing, and ranking systems have typically used the desktop version of a page’s content, which may cause issues for mobile searchers when that version is vastly different from the mobile version. Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.

We continue to have one single index that we use for serving search results. We do not have a “mobile-first index” that’s separate from our main index. Historically, the desktop version was indexed, but increasingly, we will be using the mobile versions of content.



What this means: Google is gradually replacing their search index to use mobile results as the basis, instead of first looking at desktop versions of website pages.


Before you panic, note that it is mobile-first, not mobile-only. Google assures us that desktop sites will not necessarily be falling into obsolescence. If your site utilizes responsive page design or dynamic serving, it’s likely you’re already in good shape and don’t need to take further action.


57% of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site (socPub) Click To Tweet


However, sites that are not mobile friendly will be hurt. A site with a positive mobile experience will rank higher even on desktop searches. This is another step in an increasingly mobile-centric world.


One of the most noteworthy trends in web development is the serious shift from a desktop to mobile-first experience.

63% of all web traffic is now on mobile devices. Click To Tweet

Cell Phone Gif 7

Have a site design on desktop, but the elements load incorrectly on a mobile device? You are screwed.


No gimmicks.


Mobile experiences are a minimal, focused approach to your content. It gives your most important content a chance to shine without distraction. When your flashiest elements are stripped away, is what’s left still appealing? Are you still providing value and a positive user-experience, without plugins and widgets?


According to Google: 89% of people are likely to recommend a brand after a positive brand experience on #mobile. Click To Tweet


Google also factors in the speed at which content loads. Slow loading content will hurt a page’s performance, while faster loading pages will be see that factor positively in their assessment.


Designing a website with mobile viewers front of mind is beneficial in the long run. So start designing with a simpler, more streamlined direction – focused on what’s most important. Minimal approaches are on trend anyway, so adopt a ‘less is more’ approach and add elements slowly as you develop. You’ll be surprised at how much you can do away with and still create a great user experience.


If your website has not made the mobile shift, set up a complimentary Discovery Call now! We’ll give you the low-down about what to do next!


If you’re the type to enjoy homework (nerd), you can check our sources here: