Who's On First? Mobile. What's On Second? Desktop

When Abbott & Costello first performed their classic comedy sketch, “Who’s on First” in 1938, the only things considered “mobile” were Oldsmobile’s and Mobile Alabama. Fast track 80 years to the present, and in 2018, we have a slew of things gone mobile: phones, banking, homes, printers, boarding passes, workstations, dog grooming, and more importantly (for this blogs sake)…mobile-first indexing.
Once it was discovered that Google searches on mobile devices had surpassed those on desktop computers, the Google Gods decided to get down and dirty formulating a plan to give mobile users a better experience online. The end result? Switching to a mobile-first index.
Google has been slowly rolling out the mobile-first indexing experiment since the beginning of the year. But finally now, webmasters far and wide are getting more and more notices via Google Search Console, as Google indexes the mobile versions of their websites on the regular.

Here’s what that notice reads:

So what does the mobile-first index rollout mean and how does it impact your website? Let’s dig in together, shall we?

First…what the heck is this mobile-first indexing mumbo-jumbo?

Let us start off by saying, we believe that the term “mumbo-jumbo” is a severely underutilized phrase and we intend on bringing it back and bringing it back hard.
Moving on…

Google is forever evolving with user trends and behaviors; that’s what makes them a constant leader in the search engine game (among other things they dabble in). And since more users today search the web from their mobile devices, Google is adapting by making the web a much more mobile-friendly place to enjoy.
Historically, the desktop version of your website was the beginning point for what Google laid out in their index. But that’s all changing like the wind…
Google’s Mobile-first index prioritizes mobile-friendly websites by generating search results from the content contained in the mobile version of sites. Even if a user performs a search from a traditional desktop computer, the search results displayed will contain mobile content and will be based around mobile compatibility.

Second…how will this mobile-first indexing mumbo-jumbo affect my website?
The switch over to a mobile-first index will have either a huge effect on your website showing in a Google search, or not really any effect at all. The outcome depends on a few factors…

1. Do you even have a mobile version of your website?
This one is a big one. Since it has already been proven that more searches are performed from mobile devices than from traditional desktops, it is an absolute must for your brand to possess a mobile version of your website. Even though Google considers a mobile site to be ANY website that renders on a mobile device, it will soon be increasingly harder to rank a desktop website in comparison to mobile-friendly versions. Without a published mobile site, you may quickly see your rankings start to fall.   

2. How mobile-friendly is your mobile website?
If you took the time, energy, and money to have a mobile site created, then we hope you paid enough attention to its mobile-friendliness. By mobile-friendliness we mean, ditching the small text, slow load speeds, tiny buttons, and other various content and navigation issues. Your website should be a snap to use on all mobile devices. And since Google now considers your mobile site the main version of your website, you probably should step it up and meet their standards.
3. Do you display the same content on both your desktop & mobile websites?
If both your desktop and mobile website display the same content, nothing will really change for you. However, if you have not optimized your content for mobile, your site’s performance in search results may soon change drastically…and not for the better. It is best practice to optimize your mobile content from this point forward, as this is the information Google will now solely use to index your website.
To sum up…make sure your brand has a mobile-friendly website with optimized mobile content. If not, be prepared to suffer the wrath of all this mobile-first indexing mumbo-jumbo.

Author: Scriptable Solutions LLC
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