It’s actually already happening. I’m speaking of the way Google indexes websites, so this won’t affect people using Mozilla or Yahoo for searches, unless you want most people to see your website. Because most people search with Google.
What is Indexing?
In general indexing in just to make a catalog or organized list. But we’re talking about web indexing, also known as search engine indexing. This is a huge part of what Google does for us and includes the sorting, logging, and categorizing part of what they do. Basically, Google crawls sites, indexes them, and ranks them.
- Crawling: Google reads the site and gathers information about what the site contains, finding new pages or posts, seeing your navigation, how easy or hard it is to use, and how new or old the information there is.
- Indexing: The extracted content is then stored, organised and interpreted by an algorithm to measure its importance compared to similar pages. Using the crawled info, what the site is about and for is deduced.
- Ranking: This happens when someone creates a search query, and Google looks for results that match what the searcher seeks. Using the word or words users enter into the search field, it decides what online location matches what the person is looking for best, and those matches display to the user, closest match first.
What’s This About Mobile and Desktop Versions of Sites?
Most websites have both a desktop and mobile version. Your site may automatically generate a mobile version, or you may have built a user-friendly mobile version. Some companies opt for a whole different look, feel, and content on mobile devices than on larger screens. If you use a platform like WordPress, which many people do, you may be using a “responsive” theme which means that your desktop and mobile sites display the same content.
Because mobile versions of sites may alter the order information is presented in, relocate, add or omit features, or be navigated differently, they’ll naturally be interpreted a little differently by a web crawler or indexing algorithm. You can go here to see how your website presents on different screens: Quirktools Screenfly
How Does Mobile-First Indexing Change Things?
From now on, Google will base what it places in the index on the mobile version of your site. Whereas they used to index the desktop version of your site first. This means that it used to work that your desktop site was crawled, indexed, and ranked unless there was no desktop version, and then it used your mobile version (basically no one has a mobile site without a desktop site).
And now it’s making the switcher-oo to this:
- If you have a desktop and mobile version of your site, it will index from your mobile version.
- If you only have a desktop OR mobile version, it’ll index from whatever you have.
The reason for the switch is that the vast majority of searches now come from mobile devices. Google wants to serve up the best experience possible, meaning the most relevant search results possible. So it’s now going to base results of the version of the site people are most likely to see. The mobile version.
Now is a great time to make sure you have a mobile version of your site. Check that it’s user friendly, displays well, represents your brand as well or better than your desktop site. You might need your mobile site evaluated, want a mobile version of your site built, or have any other questions. If you do, please do reach out to D-Kode Tech and let us help you. To learn more about Google’s mobile first indexing, read Google’s official statement on it.