Here at Newpath WEB, we are constantly striving to increase our understanding of Google’s algorithm. Search engine optimisation relies on an implicit understanding of the current state of play, with the smallest, minute detail of your website potentially having a profound impact on your search results.
The difficult part of all this is that the Google is constantly tweaking bits and pieces on a regular basis, in order to better reflect consumer behaviour and best-quality practice. Indeed, according to Moz, Google is purported to change their search algorithm up to 600 times per year. However, no greater change is coming than Google’s purported Mobile-First Index.
First mentioned in November of 2016, Google announced they had begun conducting experiments looking at the effects of ranking websites based on the layout and quality mobile websites.
This represented a seismic shift in behaviour from Google, who have in recent years despite favouring mobile friendliness, still held desktop websites as the gold standard.
Whilst this shift is unannounced but appears to be a series of experiments, general sentiment is that the change is coming, potentially as soon as September 2017.
This change in indexing (ranking) mobiles first comes with good reason. Google has reported that 50% of search queries globally came from mobile devices, meaning that a potential change to the algorithm makes perfect sense.
The reality of mobile-first indexing has sent shockwaves through the internet, with many businesses not having quality mobile sites as yet. While mobile-first indexing relates to the content present on mobile versions of websites, speed is also going to factor significantly.
According to Google themselves, the average mobile landing page takes 22 seconds to load, which is bad considering more than 50% of users will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load; definitely not good, and something which has to change.
First, it doesn’t help anything if you don’t know how your mobile site runs. Thankfully, Google provides a free test of your overall site speed. By simply typing in your website’s URL address, you can immediately see your site’s score out of 100 for mobile friendliness, mobile speed, and desktop speed.
Also, note when you perform the search, Google is already telling you how critically important mobile performance is by display it above desktop results *hint hint*.
At the end of the day, Google is already rewarding sites that are mobile-friendly with significant boosts in their rankings. So regardless of whether or not Mobile-First indexing is on its immediate way, you should be optimising your site to be the very best it can be for mobile search.
And be prepared for a day, sometime soon, when your mobile site becomes the keystone for your overall search engine rankings, all based on changes to Google’s Algorithm.
In addition to be search engine optimisation specialists, we at Newpath Web are website developers and create and optimise mobile websites, to get your ready for the Mobile-First index. Contact us today for more information.