Although Google says its search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, they’ve indicated that their algorithms will eventually adopt a mobile-first approach to search rankings and feature snippets from the mobile version of the website on search page results. As this represents a huge shift in Google’s approach to indexing website pages, they’ll certainly not be making this transition blindly, but will rather carefully experiment and evaluate their work over the next few months until they’re sure that such a change will result in a great user experience.
While this process is still in its infancy, Google has issued some recommendations to webmasters and developers to help everyone start moving toward a mobile-first index.
What does this mean to website owners? Firstly, you should establish whether your website is mobile-friendly and responsive. If not, you should consider upgrading not only because of the future change in Google’s approach to indexing web pages, but also to capitalise on the fact that the majority of Google searches are now conducted via mobile device – over 70 percent in fact. Also, mobile users tend to search while on the go and are unlikely to spend time trying to view a website that’s not easy to read or navigate without having to pinch, scroll or zoom when there are better, mobile-friendly website options to view.
If your website is mobile-friendly, then spend some time navigating through it yourself on a smart phone to experience first-hand what site visitors will see. Check that the page navigation is easy and ‘thumb-friendly’, that you don’t have to scroll endlessly to view the page content and that buttons, images and links are clean and easy to use. At the end of the day – it’s all about the end-user’s experience in our new ‘connected world’, which is predominantly mobile.
To find out more about mobile-friendly websites, contact Etienne at Cadiz Street on 021 975 4052