No doubt you’ve heard of a search engine index before. The index is a collection of web pages found by a search engine. Those pages are then sorted and presented to you whenever you search for a term or topic.
With that in mind, the term mobile-first index is self-explanatory. Google has always focused on searching for pages as they are presented on desktop browsers. That made sense in the past, when that was the only way we could access websites. But recent years have seen a sea-change in the way we access the internet. Mobile phones and tablets have become smaller, making it easy to whip out your phone to search for the name of that actor you keep seeing, or to visit your favourite site to buy something while you think of it.
So, perhaps it was only a matter of time before Google decided to create its search engine index so it would be mobile-first. This means it will prioritise results that are mobile-friendly. If your website isn’t yet mobile-friendly and you have no plans to do anything about it, you’ll likely notice a drop in your traffic because your desktop-friendly pages will no longer be preferable to mobile-friendly pages.
It’s been a while since mobile searches surpassed those made on desktop computers, so this was a long time coming, and some have long predicted this would happen. The announcement was made in October last year, and is an alert to site owners that the change will be taking place. Now is the time to act to make sure your mobile-friendly pages show everything you want them to.
If you have desktop-friendly pages that lose content when they are shown in mobile-friendly versions, you should solve that issue now. Doing so will mean you can minimise any loss in traffic that may otherwise occur. For example, let’s suppose only 75% of your home page shows up when viewing the mobile version of that page. That means visitors will completely miss a quarter of your content – and this could be content that takes them to other crucial areas of your site.
Neglect the announcement from Google concerning their mobile-first index at your peril. Observe it and make any necessary changes and we doubt you’ll experience any issues. But do make sure you act now to get the changes made before you miss out.