Have you heard of the mobile-first index (Google’s new update)?

What does this mean to your SEO? For a while now, mobile friendliness has been a determining factor in SEO. This is why Google is introducing mobile-first index as a new update. This update will result in mobile websites being more important than they used to be. It is, therefore, a major change that can potentially impact your SEO negatively if you don’t prepare for it.

Google will prioritize the mobile version of your website as a result of the update’s effect. This article here is meant to prepare you for this impact. You will also get detailed information about what this mobile first index is. Additionally, you will learn how you are supposed to cope with this change and prepare your website to accommodate it.

What is the mobile-first index?

In the recent past, the search giant exclusively used the desktop version to display its results for every website. This resulted in some issues, and it mostly affected the mobile users. This is because they were served with content that was not mobile friendly. Therefore, the websites featured less content on mobile devices. This was unfair, and Google decided to correct the issue. Today, search results are the same on Google, regardless of whether you are using desktop or mobile.

This can be attributed to the wide use of mobile devices on search engines. As a result, Google has rolled out an update (mobile first index) which will rank and index websites. This will be done by giving priority to the mobile version of websites. Therefore, if your website features a poor mobile experience, your search engine ranking will be negatively affected both on mobiles and desktops.

The impact of the mobile-first index update on your SEO

Depending on the kind of site you run, this Google update will affect you in the following ways;

Both desktop and mobile versions

For websites with both desktop and mobile versions, you will enjoy supremacy. Therefore, all you will need to do is work on your SEO.

Desktop only websites

With the mobile-first index effect, Google will still index and rank your website. However, you will be negatively affected when it comes to SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). Therefore, you should focus on changing your website version to accommodate this new update from Google.

Responsive website

If you are running a responsive site, you are safe from mobile-first index’s negative impacts on SEO. This is because your website is readily optimized to accommodate the change. In other words, your site is designed to offer an outstanding mobile experience.

Four tips to prepare your website for Google’s new update

  • Let all your website versions have the same metadata
  • Ensure you are using a mobile-friendly theme
  • The mobile version of your website should feature all your key content
  • Have your focus on website performance

If you are running your website on WordPress, and you have a modern theme, you have nothing to worry about. This is because most WordPress themes are responsive right from the developer. Hence your site can offer an equal desktop and mobile experience. However, if your theme is not responsive or if it is outdated, you should consider performing a full redesign to accommodate mobile first index. Websites that will certainly experience an impact on their SEO are those that run two versions depending on the device type the visitor is using. If you are among these website owners, this new Google update will negatively affect your website unless you prepare to accommodate the change.