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Google Separates Mobile Ranking Index: What SMBs Need to Know
About the Mobile Index Update
Recently, Google announced that it would be dividing its ranking index to create one ranking index for mobile searches and one for all else. Traditionally, the standard ranking index has served searches on all devices, although there has been favoritism toward faster site load times and mobile-friendly websites on mobile searches within that. In a few months, the indexes will be separated, and the mobile search index will become the primary index (since there is an ever-increasing use of mobile devices for search and browsing the internet).
What Does That Mean For Your Website?
As a small business owner, it’s important to keep in mind the user experience that visitors will have on your site, no matter what device they are on—from mobile phones, to tablets, to desktop and laptop computers. Below, we walk through steps you can take to ensure you have a good mobile experience and don’t experience a drop in traffic from mobile search once this separate, and now primary, index rolls out from Google.
Important Considerations for the Mobile Index
Make sure you have a mobile-friendly site.
Since April 2015, having a mobile-friendly site has been a large ranking factor. You can read more about the importance of having a mobile-friendly site here and you’re able to check whether your site is mobile friendly with this tool from Google.
Make sure there is content on your mobile site.
One workaround that some website owners have done is to have a regular website, accessible through regular browsers on desktop computers and a mobile website, viewed on mobile phones. Separate mobile sites have typically been much smaller and function like a quick navigation or app, without all the same content accessible on the mobile site (instead, it’s all found on the full site).
This set up will be detrimental in organic traffic for business owners with their website set up like this, as with separate mobile sites, there is not the same content. With less (or no) optimized content on the mobile site, you will likely see a drop in rankings, and thus organic traffic to your site.
Monitor your mobile site speed.
Google has put increased emphasis on site speed, especially in consideration of user experience. Google’s PageSpeed Insights allows you to check both your desktop and mobile site speeds, and you should strive to have your website score 80/100 or above for both. Especially on mobile phones, users are more impatient (and don’t want to waste data), so a poor loading site could cause users to go back to search and find another site to solve their search query or even for your rankings to go down because of that higher bounce rate of users.
Track both desktop and mobile rankings.
If you’re using a rank tracking software, make sure that it’s tracking both desktop and mobile searches. Since this is a new update from Google, some rank-tracking platforms may not have both set up. As the mobile index will become the new primary index, it’s important to be monitoring the rankings for the searches that Google is putting more emphasis on—or else, your insight or analysis from the tracking may not be as indicative of your success and improvement through SEO!
Responsive & Mobile-Friendly Sites from Blue Corona
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About The Author: Hannah is the Organic Team Lead at Blue Corona. If she's not busy daydreaming about the training session for her team, you can find her improving client conversion rates and planning her next trip.
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