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The Google Mobile First Index

If you haven’t heard already, Google is changing. It’s rolling out a new index that looks at the mobile version of a site first, and ranks according to what it finds.It doesn’t come into effect for a few months, but it never hurts to be prepared.

Let’s have a look at how we think it will all work. It’s still a few months away, so apart from what Google has already told us, this is educated speculation.

What the Index Is

“In order for your site’s contents to be included in the results of your custom search engine, they need to be included in the Google index. The Google index is similar to an index in a library, which lists information about all the books the library has available. However, instead of books, the Google index lists all of the webpages that Google knows about. When Google visits your site, it detects new and updated pages and updates the Google index.” – Google

Indexing is one part of what Google does. Google also:

Crawls pages (it follows links to discover pages; this is why site architecture is important)
Retrieves and Ranks pages (retrieval is where they find everything relevant to the query, and ranking is where Google orders the results)

Why the Index is Changing

Mobile is being used so much for searching that even Google is taking notice. They have decided that they want their index to be as helpful as possible for mobile searchers, so they are making the necessary changes.

So instead of the index prioritising desktop pages, it will now look at mobile pages first. We think it wants to look at the mobile version of your site so it can serve the most relevant content to the user, because that’s what the user will see.

We believe that Google is basically trying to avoid the situation where a user will search for information, Google serves them a snippet from the desktop version of the site. The user will click through only to find that the information from the desktop isn’t there because they’re on the mobile version.

Your Website

This is where it potentially gets a bit confusing. Google says that if you don’t have a mobile website (of any form) then your desktop site will still get crawled and indexed.

However, if you have a desktop site and a mobile site, and your mobile site has less content on it than your desktop, then Google will just see the mobile site with less content. And we all know how much Google loves content.

This is why Google recommends that you have a responsive website. Content will be the same or very similar page by page from desktop to mobile site.

If you have any questions about responsive websites or SEO for your automotive website, then please don’t hesitate to get in contact.

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