Mobile-first indexing is a new way of indexing and ranking the web pages that are available over the internet. Earlier Google used an indexing algorithm that was suitable for searching desktop sites. Using that algorithm, the desktop-friendly sites used to get ranked up first. But with the increasing use of smartphones people now prefer to get mobile-friendly sites. From 1st July 2019, mobile-first indexing is enabled by Google as a default setting. Now, the Googlebot will primarily search for websites with smartphone agents and rank them up.
Now, let’s put some light on the ranking of the websites done by the search engines. Whenever you search anything on the web say for example ‘thriller novels’, the search engine would look for the websites having matching words.
Then it would look for the title of the website to check whether it matches with your query or not. Then it checks for the links from other pages directing to that page, these links generally work as recommendations, the more links directing to a page the more chances of the page to rank higher. For instance, you searched ‘thriller novels’ and got your search result, you visit the first three sites of the result and observe that the second and third websites provide you with the link to the first website of the search result, so, here you can see that the links from the later websites worked as recommendation for the first website and it automatically ranked up. Search engines also look for the reputation of the website.
The Reputation of the website depends on how the page is maintained, whether it has current and fresh contents or not and many other things. This is how a website got ranked up by the search engine. This is also known as search engine optimization (SEO). Websites with better SEO have a greater opportunity of ranking above other websites.
Let us explore a bit more about mobile-first indexing to clear our concept. Suppose Amal and Kamal both have a good collection of Marvel comics, but the only difference between the comics of Amal and Kamal is that Amal has softcopies and Kamal have hardcopies. Now, if you are asked to choose from whom would you like to borrow the comics? Amal would be chosen more often. Why? Cause his comics are very easily portable and are available any time you want, and you can take them anywhere.
A similar thing is happening as people are surfing through the internet more with their phones rather than laptops or desktops, as a result, the algorithm which works behind the search engine searches more for the sites which are compatible with smartphones. So, now mobile phone compatible websites will get higher rankings and will be displayed first. But that doesn’t mean that the desktop websites will vanish, yes it may affect their rank, but they will be still working and available for use. You may have to scroll a bit more to reach a website without a mobile compatible version.
Now with mobile-first indexing under consideration, the websites must build up their mobile-friendly site to stay in the game. From now on the search engines not only look for matching words, titles, links, and reputation but also for the mobile compatible website. From now on webpage developers must make two parts of a website one for desktop and another for mobile. Creating a webpage for mobile is much tougher.
The first challenge is the presentation of the webpage, as the screen of the mobile phones is smaller compared to that of desktop and laptop. Developers must take care of the writing or labels which may overlap each other or may appear too small or too big on the mobile phone’s screen. They also need to take care of the layout of their pages cause the layout which is good for desktop may not be good for mobile, for example in a desktop site it is good to list different topics horizontally to access them easily. But if you do the same for the mobile phones in portrait mode then people using the website may find a bit less user-friendly, so for that, if the topics got stacked up in the mobile version of the website then it will become more easily accessible.
As the use of mobile is increasing people are investing more in mobile websites. Nowadays even the laptops came up with tablet mode settings in which the user interface of the laptop becomes like the user interface of the tablet or smartphones. So, with all the above points it is a must for a webpage developer that he or she may design webpages taking mobile-first indexing under consideration for SEO, to gain better chances to ranked up higher. Mobile-first indexing has not yet become very much crucial for SEO but it will be, that we can say by looking into the present day scenario, with increase in smartphones, tablets user it is likely to assume that in coming days mobile-first indexing will be one of the crucial factors for SEO and making mobile-first indexing default by Google is only the beginning.
So, after knowing and elaborating all the points under this topic I would like to conclude that mobile-first indexing becoming default is very helpful for the customers as the maximum of them surf the internet on their phones and tablets. For webpage developers, the developing process becomes a bit tedious taking into consideration the above-said points for mobile webpage development.
So, finally I would like to say that yes, mobile-first indexing do have impacts on the SEO and I believe it impacts in a good way as more people will be able to reach the websites through their phones and the website with mobile compatible page may also get more attention than other webpages without mobile compatible view. Now I would like to stop here on the note that mobile-first indexing does have some impacts on SEO and it will be more crucial day by day.
Deepak Sharma is the Founder & CEO of withStartups.com – A Digital Marketing Company in Gurgaon for startups. As a serial entrepreneur, Deepak has worked across sectors and countries, and loves using technology to solve branding & customer acquisition problems. He is a published author and mentor too many startups.