What you need to know about Google's new mobile-first guidelines

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Last week after more than 18 months of testing, Google released a blog post explaining the newest changes to it's algorithm, meaning that now mobile sites will be the main source of indexing on Google, over desktop sites.

What does this mean for you?

Well, effectively this means that when google looks for search results for websites a Smartphone Googlebot will be crawling for websites, rather than the desktop Googlebot. Of course, this doesn’t mean that desktop page content will no longer be crawled or indexed, but Google is making it clear that the future is very much mobile and for businesses and brands whose website isn’t optimised for mobile, there could be serious consequences.

“Mobile-first indexing means that we’ll use the mobile version of the page for indexing and ranking, to better help our – primarily mobile – users find what they’re looking for.” Google says in a blog post announcing the change.

What do I need to do about it?

The implications for businesses and brands in ensuring their websites are built with mobile first in mind are significant. So, here are some things to consider when assessing the potential impacts of Google’s mobile-first move:

  • As a rule of thumb it is best to be following best practice guidelines, but responsive websites should be fine. It is likely responsive sites will become doubly valuable, due to their inherit nature to dynamically fit to the size of the browser they are being viewed in across any platform. 
  • Google recommends that the content of separate and mobile and desktop sites be the same, including metadata.
  • If you are about to redesign your site, it is important you take these new guidelines into account and make sure your new site is built with a mobile first mentality.
  • Frankly, this point has always been an imperative when maintaining website, but fast-page loading speed is more important than ever and will become even more important from July when page speed will become a ranking factor. No one wants to wait for that epic header picture on your site slowly loads, it will only annoy your audience and could turn away potential customers.

What all this means is that time is running out for webmasters without optimized websites for mobiles, soon their Google search rankings will be taking a blow.

Written by Frank Stannard. If you want to find out more about optimising your website, or discuss this article further, you can contact Frank at frank.stannard@sixfoursixfour.com or +44 (0) 7939605820.

Frank Stannard

Creative Director