It's official: Mobile is the new web!
On November 4, 2016, Google has very officially announced "experiments to make (their) index mobile-first," adding that its "algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site."
This follows recent news that "internet usage by mobile and tablet devices exceeded desktop worldwide for the first time in October" according to StatsCounter.
To be extra clear, that means that sooner than later, whatever content is on your website's desktop version will not be relevant anymore for Google, and most likely many other search engines that should follow suit.
Instead, web crawlers will fetch content, tags and other pieces of code from the mobile version of your website, and pass the data on to the search engine's algorithms.
With this bold - yet expected - move, Google is sending a warning out to any web owners that would have ignored earlier foretellings, such as the one we posted last march "Google Search: go mobile… or die?".
If you've been sweeping any concern under the carpet since then, this might be a good time to reconsider mobile optimization as the number one item that should be on your website's to-do list.
If you've been reading this blog, or my article in Target Marketing "Retailers, Mobile Is Eating You for Lunch", you already know about all this and I trust you've prepared for this big change in your overall SEO strategy.
If not, here are things you can do NOW to avoid falling in Google's search results oblivion (past the 1st page, that is):
- If you haven't one so yet, check your website on various mobile platforms (iOS, Android) and devices (smartphones, tablets) to ensure the main content of your webpages is the same on both mobile and desktop versions.
- Also check your website for mobile compatibility with Google's Mobile-friendly test tool.
- Check your website to make sure it serves structured markup data (tags, reviews, microdata, etc.) across both desktop and mobile. To do this, you can compare both versions of a web page with Google's Structured Data Testing Tool.
- Remove any structured data from your mobile web pages that is not specifically relevant to web pages' topic and content. The more irrelevant data in your mobile code, the more you will get penalized in search results.
- Test your robots.txt file to ensure it's not getting in the way of the GoogleBot when it's attempting to crawl your mobile website for content.
- If you have verified ownership for the desktop version of your website (e.g. www.mycompanywebsite.com) but haven't verified its mobile version yet (e.g. m.mycompanywebsite.com), then now is the time to do it using the Google Webmaster Tools Search Console.
NOTE TO SEOSAMBA CUSTOMERS
If you've built your website with SeoSamba, you have nothing to worry about, your website is already optimized for mobiles, and your online content is exactly the same on both desktop and mobile versions.
Whether your website is for mobile optimized or not, we advise you to consider developing you mobile marketing strategy to prepare your online business for the big changes ahead. Just contact us to find out more.
If you are not a SeoSamba customer yet and would like to make sure your website is optimized for mobile platforms, simply use the coupon link below and get 10% off your Mobil Pack right now.
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About the author
Omnivorous mammal & SEO Samba CEO, I'm a regular speaker at search engine marketing conferences around the world, including Search Engine Strategies London & New York, and a contributor to a number of publications, including Website Magazine, and Feedfront Magazine. I enjoy strategy, coaching, and motivating both customers & staff.