As the digital revolution is in its full swing, Google, the most trusted search engine of our times is taking proactive steps to simplify the way businesses operate and deliver their services to more and more people. One such move by the technology giant was the decision of rolling out a mobile-first indexing algorithm earlier this year, which is making huge waves in the SEO world.
According to Google’s official blog, earlier their crawling, indexing, and ranking systems used to consider the desktop version of a website to gather content, however, with mobile-friendly indexing, they will now collect it through the mobile-friendly version of the site, which will enhance the experience of mobile users.
Since 2016, Google has started to pay more attention to mobile-indexing. The idea behind this is Google wants to make the web much more functional for the mobile phone users.
However, before we discuss how to optimize a website for mobile-first indexing, let’s talk about it in a bit detail and how it will affect the search engine optimization in a broader sense.
What exactly is Mobile-first indexing?
Mobile-first indexing means the Google will start the indexing procedure with the mobile-friendly version of the website. It will eventually be useful in deciding the rankings of the website or page in the SERP. Previously, the Google crawlers focussed on the desktop version more, taking the mobile version lightly. With the mobile-first indexing, Google surely wants to change the scenario.
Mobile-first indexing, not mobile-only indexing
It is not the mobile-only indexing. To explain it, suppose a particular business website has two versions -mobile and desktop. Such a website is also known as the dynamic serving website. The Google crawlers will advance towards the mobile version first and then the desktop one. Therefore, the digital marketing team of the company will have to focus on the mobile websites as well for the SEO purpose.
If the website lacks relevant content, has poor structure, and needs quality backlinks, then you have to work on it again to make it mobile-friendly.
But, it does not mean that the site crawlers will ignore the desktop version. If a business does not have a mobile-friendly version of the site, then the crawlers will consider the desktop version only. However, the lack of a mobile-friendly website can affect the ranking of the website for sure.
What are the best practices to keep the mobile-friendly website updated?
Google is slowly working towards implementing this type of indexing. So, it is essential to figure out what must be done with the website. It means that you need to follow the best practices to keep the mobile site updated. Have a quick look at them.
Update the mobile website with the relevant content
There are instances where the business owners keep less content on the mobile version of the website as compared to the desktop ones. But, now it is necessary to maintain the similar content whether it is text, video or image, on both the websites to improve the ranking of the site.
Update the website with the structured data markup
To help the site crawlers understand the content of the website, structured data markup plays a significant role. Therefore, include them in both the versions of the website. Also, make sure to use the mobile-friendly URLs within these structured data. In addition to all these, remove the unnecessary data to improve the indexing.
Metadata on both the versions of the website
Make it sure that the equivalent metadata is there on mobile as well as the desktop version of the website. Also, use the relevant keywords in them.
Verification of the websites in the search console
Search consoles help in managing the performance of the site in a reliable manner. So, it is essential to verify both the versions of the site in the search console.
Check the capacity of the servers
The host servers must have the capacity to handle the enhanced crawl rate efficiently.
Check the robots.txt directives
The robot.txt file helps the crawlers to know which part of the site must be crawled and indexed. Therefore, it is essential to verify the robots.txt directives. It must work for both the sites identically. Also, both the versions of the site must use the same directives.
Check the social metadata
Include the social metadata like Twitter cards, OpenGrapg tags, etc., to the mobile-friendly and desktop version of the website for the best results.
And lastly, check the hreflang links
Many of the websites use the rel=hreflang links on the URLs to serve the people of different countries and speaking different languages. These elements must not be restricted to the desktop version only. Also, keep in mind that the mobile URL’s hreflang must point the mobile URLs and the same must be followed by the desktop URLs.
So, if you want to optimize your website for mobile-first indexing, don’t forget to use the above tips.