By Arielle Mullen

While the rising prevalence of mobile use is hardly revelatory, the rate at which it is outpacing traditional desktop traffic is nothing short of staggering. In 2016 there were nearly 150 billion mobile app downloads, with over 350 billion projected for 2021. One clear repercussion of increased mobile use can be found within a recent post on the Google Webmasters Blog:

"Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site's content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results."

Google's shift to mobile-first indexing will have a number of ramifications for any business or organization with a web presence; which let's face it, in 2018 is everyone. 

Once Google implements these changes, they’ll assess the mobile version of each website, using their findings as the primary component to determine where each will fall in search results. The key detail there is the phrase “primary component.” The desktop site is still a factor, albeit a much less heavily weighted one. Your first takeaway is to ensure your website is optimized for mobile use. Ask yourself, is the user experience better (or at the very least consistent), when viewed on a mobile device? If you're unsure, try Google's Mobile-Friendly Test. If found lacking, Google's tool will provide actionable steps to correct any issues. 

Other important elements to consider when optimizing for mobile:

  • Page speed - Do your pages load in three seconds or less? Consider resizing your site's images for speed.
  • Readability - Is it hard to read the text or understand the visual content? Can you clearly see and understand site navigation?
  • Hover features - There is no way to hover over text or images from a mobile device. Consider removing those elements. 

On the subject of when this change will be implemented, Google has been somewhat tight-lipped. In March of 2017, one Google representative explained they’d be releasing mobile-first when their results are “quality-neutral.” Above all else, the key takeaway here should be assessing your website to ensure it's mobile-friendly and responsive. 

Questions? Get in touch with us today and let us know!

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