SEO and mobile-first indexing

February 5th, 2020
What is mobile first indexing and what should you do to make your website mobile friendly

What sounds like a complex technical term is, in fact, quite a simple concept. Let’s see how people use their mobile phones and what it means for you and your website.

During recent years, the number of people browsing the internet on mobile phones and tablets has been consistently higher than those who use traditional computers and laptops. In fact, it’s estimated that 51% of all users now access the internet exclusively through mobile devices.

In reaction to these changes, Google has activated mobile-first indexing. This means that Google now uses the mobile version of your website rather than the standard desktop version to index your content and decide on its ranking.

What it means for you

Your goal is to make the interaction between visitors and your mobile website as smooth as possible. However, you shouldn’t completely abandon the desktop version, since some people will still visit it. How will you know which device is most popular among your audience? You can find this information during your regular analysis of data in Google Analytics.

Responsive templates

Did you create your website with the current version of our website builder? Then sit back and relax. All these templates are automatically responsive, which is the state Google prefers. The desktop version of your website is almost exactly the same as the mobile version, without any input from your side. Some rearrangement of your content and simplification of the menu is necessary to help fit everything on smaller screens.

Check what your website looks like on mobile phones so you will know for sure what visitors see when they open it. You can do it simply by shrinking the browser window.

Separate mobile version

If you’re still using the old Webnode builder and one of the non-responsive templates, your website also has an automatically-generated mobile version. It has the same content as your desktop version, but the design might differ. Because the mobile version of the old templates has a slightly different URL, starting with “m” for mobile, it’s called an m-dot site. This is also acceptable, and Google will see the mobile version as the main one. Still, consider switching your old website to the new builder, since Google prefers responsive web design with identical URLs for both mobile and desktop versions.

No mobile version

Is there anyone who doesn’t have a mobile version of their website yet? Browsing and interacting with a website is inconvenient if the desktop version is displayed on a smartphone. A missing or bad mobile version can also significantly hurt your position in search results. Google wants to keep its users happy, so it naturally prefers websites with better user experience on mobile phones.

Mobile-first indexing in Search Console

When you register a new website in Search Console, Google is going to activate mobile-first indexing immediately. If you already have a website registered, Google will evaluate if the mobile version seems to be ready, and if not, it will not be considered as primary just yet. It will happen eventually, however, so it makes sense to work on re-building your website with a responsive template.

The most important SEO tips

Since this is also the final article of our SEO series for beginners, here are the most important takeaways.

  • Define your target audience – how old is your audience, what content are they interested in and are they active on social media? The more you know about them, the better website and social sites you can create.
  • Spy on your competitors – find out what they are doing well, get inspired, and try to make your website even better.
  • Good content is always the most important – you are creating your website for people, not for search engines. If your visitors find all they need on your website plus a little more, they will talk about you and will recommend your website to others. Your primary goal, therefore, is to make your visitors happy.
  • Don’t forget your titles and descriptions – each page of your website should have its own unique and interesting title tag and meta description. That’s what pushes people to click on your link in the search results.
  • Build links – interconnect website pages through internal links. Promote your content on social media, in newsletters, and ask other website owners for their cooperation.
  • Pictures need optimizing as well – give your photos a good name before uploading them online. Then add descriptions in our website builder.
  • Regular work pays off eventually – systematically update your website. Check how it’s doing in visitor statistics and on Search Console and plan your next steps for improvement. SEO requires constant work, but it will be worth it.

It’s time to wrap this up

That’s it, ladies and gentlemen. Our goal was to introduce you to the topic of SEO and, if you have followed our articles, we believe you found answers to at least the basic questions. For more comprehensive and technical guides, we recommend checking out the articles from experts in Moz.

If you’re still not sure if you should even start creating your own website, don’t be afraid to give it a go. Our friendly customer care people are here for you whenever you’ll need a helping hand.

  1. Introduction
  2. Basic principles and recommendations
  3. Where to begin? (content, target group, competitors, own domain)
  4. SEO settings in the Webnode website builder
  5. Links on your website
  6. Connecting to search engines
  7. SEO and social media
  8. Data Analysis (study your visitors)
  9. Mobile first indexing

Are you planning on developing SEO on your website? Try the step-by-step guide. Did you like our series on SEO? Let us know in the comments below.