Exactly 4 years ago Google already signaled that the mobile user experience would be prioritized by the search engine. In the event called by the community as Mobileggedon in April 2015, the main algorithm undergoes changes that make non-mobile-friendly sites deferred in the results, and some industries have observed more than 20% drops in their traffic.
Since then, conversations about mobile usability, responsive design and its importance to results not only SEO but also business have intensified.
And in this line of changes, which do not seem to be trend-setters, but to follow a behavior that already exists – more and more people accessing the web by cell phone – is announced in 2016, in the Webmaster Central Blog, the idea of mobile-first indexing and the programmed tests for this change in the parameters of the search engine.
The expected adoption of mobile-first indexing by default for new domains will finally begin in May 2019. Here’s what that means in practice:
It means that the mobile version (which is displayed on mobile phones) will be the starting point in indexing – the addition and ranking of your site pages in the Google index – and will be the new base value for determining rankings.
For SEO, it is important to know that an increase in the proportion of Googlebot Smartphone crawlers is expected – and that the cached version of pages will be mobile.
Remember that mobile-first is not mobile-only: if a site does not have a mobile-friendly version, its pages in the desktop version can still be included in the index – but a poor mobile experience will certainly negatively impact the rankings.
Unlike mobilegeddon, where there were not many hints of what was to come, mobile-first indexing comes more as a reminder that good design practices and UX can not be overlooked in small screens
According to Google’s official targeting, responsive and identical sites in their desktop and mobile versions are already tailored enough for the change.
Still, you’ll want to review whether dynamic elements and images are optimized for mobile. The search for a good load time and conversions improvement continues.
For sites with separate desktop and mobile versions (separate URL), pay attention to these points:
Apart from these recommendations, the principles of mobile usability are also valid – it is no use receiving visitors from Google if they do not perform important conversions within the pages of a site.
To improve rankings and results, conduct some testing and see how your site is tailored
Want help optimizing? Leave your question in the comments!