A big change hit the world of search engine optimization (SEO) in the summer of 2015 – more Google searches were conducted on mobile than desktop computers for the first time in history. Since this important milestone, the world of SEO forever changed. And now 2016 is the year of mobile; Google recently announced big changes to their indexing methods that further prioritize mobile friendly design – making mobile SEO a necessity.
The goal of this SEO 101 series to is to lay out the relatively static basics of search engine optimization – and as 2016 comes to a close it looks like mobile optimization is here to stay. Having a responsive mobile web presence has never been more important; what once was a bonus is now a necessity. Let’s look at what has changed and what you can do to get the most SEO-juice from the mobile squeeze.
With the new-found dominance of mobile devices in the world of online search, Google is shifting its algorithms to keep up with consumer habits. The latest adjustments are being felt in three main ways (and a whole host of subtle ways): the creation and prioritization of separate mobile index, increased emphasis on load speed, and increased attention to mobile versions.
- Mobile Index – The biggest news to come out of Google’s new indexing methods is the creation a separate mobile index. Google will now maintain and update two indices – one for desktop versions and a separate one for mobile versions. This means that if your site is not optimized for mobile it can still rank well in the desktop index but be punished in the mobile index, and vice versa. But Google has also announced that it will prioritize the mobile index over the desktop version. This means that it will be the first to be updated, receive the most attention from web crawlers, and trickle down influence to the desktop index. This prioritization of the mobile index will most likely only continue to grow along with mobile’s share of the search world.
- Load Speed – While not a new feature to Google’s ranking methods, load speed measurements got a boost with the latest changes. As more and more people use mobile devices with limited service and bandwidth, the importance of load speed on user experience continues to grow. Ensuring that your site loads – even on a limited cellular connection – is vital to gaining or maintaining page rank.
- Mobile Versions – Along with the new mobile index, Google is prioritizing mobile versions (for those websites that are dynamically served) over their desktop counterparts. This change has large practical applications when it comes to both web-design and SEO work as mobile versions can no longer be stripped-down versions of the desktop site – they need all the content, information, and functionality of the full desktop version.
What to do?
What does all this mean for your business and its status with the big search engines? Nothing that is totally earth-shattering, but it is now more important than ever to understand and capitalize on the mobile future of search. A good place to start is my performing a mobile-friendly test on your website – as this will greatly affect your standing in Google’s new mobile-only index. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our article on performing a mobile optimization check-up.
Also, for the braver soul, consider venturing into Google’s updated mobile guidelines. They provide in-depth information on how Google is currently prioritizing mobile design and search, along with tips on optimizing your site to get the most out of the recent changes.
Meeting the needs of the mobile searcher is more important than ever, and Fusion Group USA can help drive mobile business with modern web-design and search engine optimization. Contact us today to see how we can help to ensure your continued success across a variety of platforms.