What’s Going On?!
Back in October Google told us that the indexing algorithm was going to get its biggest overhaul yet: splitting the mobile and desktop indexes. In SEO circles, this was ground-shaking news. This means, once the update is released, that when you search for something on your mobile device the search results will be different from those compared to the same search on your desktop. So while you might be happy with your top of page SERP positions on desktop you won’t necessarily be on top of the page on mobile index.
Mobile Index News
Obviously, this announcement set off a few fires in the SEO world. So let’s look back now on what we’ve found out during the past 5 months since Google made the announcement.
Initially, nothing will change. Google is trying to balance the two indexes (mobile and desktop algorithms) so when they separate the SERPs there should be no major changes. They aim to keep it “quality neutral”. This is good news in general for SEOs and their clients. Why? Because there will not be a huge change overnight. Even so, careful monitoring is required. And, for those businesses who used Grey Hat SEO tactics, you still have time to fix those issues.
Page speed will be an even more important ranking factor. Page speed has long been a hot topic of discussion for SEO. It’s one of the few factors Webmasters have 100% in their control. Gary Illyes from Google was recently discussing how they are having trouble setting up the speed aspect of the mobile page. This hints that page speed is a big priority. Common sense confirms that sluggish loads on a mobile device spell disaster for sites that haven’t taken advantage of clean code and other speed-saving tactics. While desktop users may be a bit more patient, we recommend that you do everything you can to improve speed performance. Use Google’s page speed tool and it will outline all the steps you need to take.
If you’re worried about mobile speed, we suggest you look into AMP. We’re doing it and it’s working well even though there are graphic limitations. Link to our article on it.
Still months away from launch. Last week at SMX West, Gary Ilyes said that Google is still experimenting. There’s no specific timeline and the mobile index may be months or quarters away. So what’s the hold-up? Gary continued to say “the mobile web has fewer tokens than desktop. Content and links are more scarce. Mobile sites don’t have a lot of the metadata that desktop sites have. We’re aiming for a quality-neutral launch. We don’t want users to experience a loss in quality of search results. We need to replace the signals that are missing in the mobile web.”
Still Worried? Your Action Items
If you don’t have a mobile responsive website, make that your first priority. Mobile responsiveness means that your website will render on any size screen. In the creation process, design for the small screen (smartphone) and work your way up.
Do you feel prepared for Google’s mobile index?
How can we help?
Do you think splitting the index will change your business? Do you think the mobile index will improve your ranking?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.