Whether we want information, to find a specific product or to locate a specific place, we’re increasingly picking up our smartphones to find the answer. According to Google, last year, more searches took place on mobile than on desktop computers in 10 countries, including the US and Japan. 

Despite a huge rise in mobile searches, Google’s current ranking system primarily crawls a site’s desktop version to evaluate content for the user and for rankings. However, many sites differ between desktop and mobile version. What information may have a dedicated essay on desktop, may not appear at all on a mobile site. 

On November 4, Google announced it’s new mobile-first index. This index will crawl a site’s mobile browser view, to make sure that what you see in your mobile search results, is what you get.

If you’re using search on desktop, you’ll still get rankings that crawl desktop sites, but these results won’t be as up-to-date. Google’s mobile-first index—although only available through mobile—will be their primary index and will be updated more frequently. Having a separate index for mobile should enable Google to deliver better mobile-optimized content to people using their smartphones.

It’s never been more important to be mobile-friendly. But if your site doesn’t have a mobile version, have no fear – Google said it will crawl the desktop version. However, a mobile-first index signals that mobile is the future, or at least that’s what Google believes. So maybe it’s time to jump on the mobile-friendly bandwagon.

If your mobile site has less or different content to your desktop site, your ranking could be affected – that’s why Google has recommended going responsive. 

With a responsive site, you have one design, and content that is the same across all platforms. If your site is already responsive, you shouldn’t have to change anything when the mobile-first index rolls out. When creating or updating your site with OH! Media, your site will be designed responsively from the get-go. Besides, OH! CMS couldn’t be more mobile-friendly – you can use it to make site updates from your smartphone.

When it comes to expandable content on desktop sites, content within tabs, accordions, etc. is not weighted as high. However, on mobile, Google’s Gary Illyes said that expandable content would be given full weight and that this type of content makes sense for user experience on mobile.

As to when this change will start, Google said, “We’ll continue to carefully experiment over the coming months on a small scale and we’ll ramp up this change when we’re confident that we have a great user experience.” So far not much information has been released, but as Google begins to experiment with the mobile-first index, we’ll likely find out more.

Ready to go responsive? Talk to OHMedia!