Google is always changing its indexing strategy. One change to prepare for and look forward to is Google’s mobile-first index. It will focus towards the mobile and tablet user due to the increasing number of searches made on these devices.
Google use an indexing strategy which index the desktop friendly version as both desktop and mobile friendly versions without differentiating them. Therefore, when it comes to the ranking, websites are ranked on the basis of the desktop version despite of the fact that if a page is mobile friendly.
Some websites, when viewed on mobile show a different version compared to the desktop counterpart. As a result mobile users may not see what they’re looking for. This creates an issue as more people are using mobile devices.
Who is affected?
Gary Illyes and Paul Haahr from Google have stated there will be minimal changes in rankings with this initial update.
Sites who have a separate mobile site will suffer the most. On the other hand, those who only have a desktop site will experience minimum changes. Ideally speaking, it’s about time you grab a responsive site in order to function optimally.
Content and Links
Content is important for both standard and responsive sites. This new update will rank a site based on its mobile accessibility and not having the appropriate level of content will lead to a negative impact with the update.
Same will be the case for the depth of links available on both versions. Mobile sites generally display a lower number of links and so it’s necessary to manage them for search visibility.
Structured data is a highly predictable and organised form of data (see Schema.org) allowing search engines to understand data on a page. Structured markup should be identical on both versions of the site otherwise you could lose any rich snippets currently featured on the search results page.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
The new update won’t change anything for existing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) however this could be more relevant in future updates of Google’s mobile-first index.